Look, Broncos Country...I get it. I have been watching this team for decades. I love me some Mile High Magic, John Elway, and Peyton Manning.
We are crazy for QBs here. You could say we’re starving for a good one at this point.
It has been 5 long seasons since we saw Peyton ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl trophy.
We have endured Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, a sprinkle of Brock Osweiler, and a splash of Brandon Allen.
But please pump the brakes on the hot takes floating around out there about Drew Lock’s 4 TD game being some kind of coming out party.
The meaning(lessness) of the game
Don’t get me wrong...it was awesome. It was superb. I saw a lot of things from Lock that have been inexplicably missing all season long (freezing the safety in cover-1, looking off your target to fool the defense, throwing dimes with a solid platform, and making defenses pay for blitzing).
But it is just one game. And it is the 2020 Carolina Panthers.
We need to see a lot more than one game...we need to see consistency and growth. We need to see more of the good things I mentioned above and less of the bad things (that for the record were still largely in evidence in this game as well). He still isn’t solid on his footwork. He’s still showing some pretty big inaccuracy issues on different levels because of it.
And we do need to see growth in big ways the rest of the season if this is supposed to mean anything at all. If he just has a game here or there with no picks and a bucket full of pluses against a handful of minuses (that don’t include bone-headed interceptions that he has no business attempting), then that’s not good enough.
Do we see progress in the next handful of games?
For me, it gets back to the whole idea of this season: Let’s see what we have in Drew Lock. I’ve got 7 games that tell me Lock is mostly pants and 1 game that says he’s the future. That ratio needs to change and it needs to be because of what Lock is doing.
Is he building on the good decision-making we saw against the Panthers?
Is he setting his feet more like he needs to be which evidence shows us leads to far better accuracy on his part?
Will he continue to look off or freeze safeties with his eyes?
Can he make the choice to throw the ball away when “his read” is blanked with 2 or more defenders even if it is 3rd down? (Note: I’ve seen very little of this)
Viewing Lock as Lock
The big thing that we have to do if we’re at all being fair to the job that Drew Lock and the Broncos are trying to do of developing a starting quality NFL quarterback is to not keep doing the silly comparisons that are so easy for everyone to do with these conversations.
What does that mean?
Don’t compare him to Patrick Mahomes, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Tua Tagovailoa, or any other QB. He’s not those guys. One of the biggest fallacies that I and others that love to talk football make is to do this.
The truth is that Drew Lock got passed on by a lot of NFL teams before he got drafted. He went in the 2nd round and we didn’t even use our earliest pick on him. Why?
Because Drew Lock was always going to need a lot of work. He came from a college that ran a VERY simplistic offense that didn’t have him doing pro-type offense work. He changed coordinators every year in college (and so far in the NFL). The truth of the matter is, all these things we want to see Lock get good at are things that he has very little experience in.
If you are optimistic about Drew Lock that means we need to give him more time.
If you are pessimistic (like me) about him, then we’re just wasting time and have been all season.
Good or bad, it is a tough decision for the Broncos to make this next offseason and I hope Lock lights it up and makes that decision a whole lot easier than it looks to me today when I take off my orange and blue-tinted glasses.
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