The Denver Broncos finally have a quarterback that can win games for them. They really haven’t had that since 2014. They also just spent most of the 2020 NFL Draft providing that quarterback with weapons (Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Albert Okwuegbunam) and protection (Lloyd Cushenberry and Netane Muti), but how well did they protect him during his five starts in 2019.
Let me start by stating that Drew Lock was the most difficult quarterback to sack in 2019 (minimum 50 dropbacks). Lock was only sacked on 2.66% of his dropbacks (5 in 172) not counting plays that were negated by penalty (he was sacked one time that was negated by defensive holding). For comparison here are the top five most difficult quarterbacks to sack in 2019 and the bottom easiest to sack.
Quarterback Sack Rates 2019
Sacks don’t tell the whole story though. In fact some might look at the low sack numbers and conclude that the Broncos offensive line was doing a great job in pass protection. Or you might conclude, that Garett Bolles had improved his game (spoiler alert - he hasn’t).
Time to put the "Weapons won't matter when Bolles gets Lock killed" narrative to bed.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) April 26, 2020
I just watched every Drew Lock snap... Do you know how many times he got sacked because of Bolles? Once.
Know how many times he was hit because of Bolles? Three times.
How many holds? One.
The pressure percentage is a better indicator of how often a quarterback was harassed when trying to pass. Drew Lock was pressured on 24.2 percent of dropbacks, which was about average for the league.
Quarterback Pressure Rates 2019
This offering will look at every dropback from Drew Lock’s first two starts and determine how often he was pressured (with my own eyes - not relying on PFR or PFF) and who was at fault on each of those pressures. The other three starts will be in part 2.
Including “no-plays” (where a penalty negated that play), Lock dropped back to pass 62 times in his first two starts against the Chargers and the Texans. He was pressured on 24 of those plays. I did not count the “normal” pressure that is by design on screen passes. If there is enough interest in the full table (with every passing play) I will make a viewable file in Google sheets for those who want it to see it. Here is the culpability analysis of who was the guilty party each time Lock was pressured.
Pressures Allowed in Games 12 and 13
Now it should be noted that this is not a rate stat. The “no one” category is when more blitzers than blockers (or an overload blitz) came and Lock needed to get the ball out quickly. Those could have just as easily been blamed on Drew Lock or Rich Scangerello, but I chose to go with “no one” since there was not fault, if you will. I have not adjusted for the total snaps played by each player in these two games.
It should also be noted that the Texans’ game was Austin Schlottmann’s first NFL start. Ronald Leary played 47 snaps against the Chargers in Lock’s first start before he was injured. Ja’Wuan James did not allow a single pressure in his 31 snaps against the Texans (the most he played in any game for us in 2019).
Part 2 will be coming up in the next couple of days.