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Debating the future of Drew Lock with the Broncos

Ah, it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Several good opinions fleshed out on Broncos Country Tonight this week.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Recent guests on Broncos Country Tonight the past two days have presented a great debate about the future of Drew Lock.

Zach Segars of Pro Football Network definitely agrees Lock deserves the last four games to prove he’s not a bust, but Segars isn’t super hopeful the second-year quarterback is going to do that.

“Quarterbacks that are this bad this far into their career rarely turn it around. And he’s bad right now,” Segars said. “We can all agree that maybe he develops. Personally I don’t think it’s likely - and others think it’s more likely - but I don’t think it is likely because it’s such a rare exception.”

Although some have thrown out names like Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen as an example of a young quarterback who was terrible early on and turned it around, Segars doesn’t see that first as a great comparison for Lock and second as the common outcome for quarterbacks. Allen is more of an exception to the rule, whereas Blake Bortles is more the norm.

“I don’t think you try to build your franchise around the exception to the rule,” he added. “You can be the Jaguars who kept Blake Bortles and missed their Super Bowl window, or you can be the Cardinals who cut bait with Josh Rosen, got Kyler Murray and look like a possible playoff team this year.”

One of Segars’ biggest issues with hoping Lock becomes a franchise quarterback is that if he doesn’t in 2021, then there are likely big changes at head coach, maybe GM, maybe quarterback in 2022 and Broncos Country will never know how good of a head coach Vic Fangio could have been.

Because as Segars notes, most head coaches have not done well with a bottom five quarterback on his team.

“And so far, Lock has been a bottom five quarterback,” Segars said.

And Segars also admitted that if Lock continues to build on his performance against Miami and KC, he’s all for giving No. 3 another year.

“In those two games he’s looked like a young quarterback but not a bad quarterback,” Segars said, noting the mistakes in decision-making, missing open receivers, missing passes. “But he hasn’t seemed hopeless.”

Segars was asked what it would take to be sold on Lock, and the primary criteria was one great game (ala Houston 2019) and three decent games (ala New England or Miami this season) among those remaining four contests.

“I think you want to see another great game. Not an up-and-down game. I want to see a game where you look like you can be that guy,” Segars said. “Outside of that Houston game last year and the fourth quarter of the Chargers game, I don’t think you’ve seen flashes that this guy is the dude, that he’s a stud.”

But more than that, Segars also doesn’t want “any more stinkers” (ala the first Chiefs game or the Raiders game).

“If we get one great game and three games of New England caliber play, then I’m sold,” Segars said.

Another issue for Segars would be seeing Lock be able to fit into the game plan versus having to be a difference maker - but only because if he’s doing that, he’s showing good decision-making, etc.

“In Missouri, he was asked to constantly carry the offense and in Denver he’s been asked to be a piece of the offense,” Segars noted. “And yes, that’s definitely something I want to see, but it won’t sell me on him. If he just plays smart and plays good decision-making football, he’s probably checking those other boxes.”

The final issue is what to do if it becomes apparent in the last four games that Lock can’t show enough improvement and consistency.

For Segars, it will be all about the draft and not about trying to find some expensive cast-off from another team like Sam Darnold or Carson Wentz.

“If I’m the Broncos, I’m not looking for a big veteran replacement because it will be so expensive - cap or draft capital or both. And that’s a punt on Drew Lock,” he said. “If I’m feeling I have to move on from Lock, I’m taking advantage of that high draft pick and I’d be happy to trade up. ...Right now mock drafts are putting Trey Lance in the teens and that’s in the Broncos’ range.”

Segars added that although the knock on Lance is that he comes from a smaller school and has only one year of experience, he believes Lance’s performance shows that those are not issues for him the way the may have been for Wentz.

“Trey Lance is an incredibly clean prospect,” Segars said. “He’s got 40 TDs, 0 INTs, and over 1,000 yards on the ground to boot. I just love him as a prospect.”

Breaking down some tape with Tim Jenkins

Tim Jenkins, known as a “quarterback whisperer” on Broncos Country Tonight, broke down some of the tape on Lock from the Chiefs game during Monday’s show and noted there was a lot of good with the bad in Lock’s game.

“There was a ton of good,” he said, highlighting that the first drive that included a press-man go conversion on third-and-long to Noah Fant as well as Lock evading the nickel off the edge and avoiding the free runner. “That’s a tremendous move athletically to get out of the pocket. So if you’re in the ‘Drew Lock’s a future Hall-of-Famer’ you’ve got it there. But if you’re in the ‘get rid of Drew Lock tomorrow’ you’ve got it in the interceptions.”

But to Jenkins, the Chiefs game was Lock’s best so far.

“This was the best we could have played them right now and we still lost,” Jenkins added. “But just from just a Drew Lock perspective, if I’m his QB coach, this was the best game he’s played in a while.”

Though, everyone agreed the interception was “just horrendous” and Benjamin Allbright noted that Lock has got to see Nick Vannett underneath to dump the ball off to.

“And if you don’t see him, you don’t throw a yolo ball up to your backup tight end who’s got Tyrann Mathieu sitting on him,” he said. “Just throw it out of bounds and live to see another day.”

For Jenkins, who admitted there were definitely examples of Lock not having great awareness or making great reads, his favorite thing about Lock’s performance came during the two-minute drive just before the half. Although it ended in a missed field goal attempt, Jenkins loved the hard count at 2:01.

“Every defensive end in the league knows the offense is going to snap right before the two-minute warning - so we hard-counted them!” Jenkins said. “That was the greatest thing I’ve seen Drew Lock do all year. It puts you in the mindset of “no, we’re going to go score” versus “we’re going to kill the clock.’ If he were my quarterback, that’d be the only thing we talk about this week.”

Allbright agreed that that drive showed Lock’s ability to be mentally savvy - which bodes well for development.

“We’re not going to fix his footwork or his mechanics this season, but we can work on these other aspects,” Allbright said. “Create easier throws, help slow the game down for him and help him get some of the nuances of playing position of quarterback rather than just being a thrower.”

Jenkins said that was “100 percent dead on” and called it working on the “P-and-10” packages - “position and 10.” Jenkins doesn’t like making the young quarterbacks fit into a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning style and would much rather make calls toward Lock’s strengths.

“They could really evolve that package, the first 1st-and-10,” Jenkins pointed out. “I’d love to see more quick game, more bootleg stuff. Feed into his strengths a little bit.”

Poll

In a completely unfair question, if the season ended today, where would you be on the QB?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Ride or die with Drew Lock in 2021, baby!
    (738 votes)
  • 37%
    Cut bait and trade up for a top draft QB
    (538 votes)
  • 10%
    Look for an expensive veteran upgrade
    (146 votes)
1422 votes total Vote Now