Merry Christmas Eve, Broncos Country!
One low-key thing I’ve noticed throughout the season - and throughout our semi-QB debate (a debate that only has existed among fans as the coaches have been set on the starter since Week 1) - is that whatever Teddy Bridgewater’s shortcomings may be, he has been every bit the mentor to Drew Lock that coaches and former teammates said he would be.
I noted this very thing two months ago when a quote by Lock stood out as the third-year quarterback talked about not just what he’d learned from watching Bridgewater but also how the veteran QB would help him directly with some of his technique, etc.
That came through again this week when Lock talked about his job as the starter for the first time this season.
“I think it’s some of the stuff that [Bridgewater] does after practice with these guys. He does a good job of realizing, ‘Hey, maybe these are a couple of routes we didn’t get during practice this week [so] let’s hit them after practice,’” Lock said, adding that he’s learned a lot in the meeting room too.
And this was a direct contrast to his rookie year when Joe Flacco noted that it wasn’t his job to mentor the young QB.
“There’s just a lot of stuff that I was able to pick up that in the two years before when I was playing, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I did because I’d never seen anyone do it,” Lock added. “It was nice to be able to be around him, watch him, and just process stuff.”
Lock added that he’s learned a lot while playing the backup QB role.
“There’s a lot that I’ve learned being in that backup role and what exactly it takes to be able to come out and win a football game. I learned a lot of that from Teddy,” he said. “I think it’s just going to be me focusing on my job ... whether I’m focusing on it in practice or even in the game. I’m just going to keep that mentality this whole time when I’m out there.”
Though fans of the team have divided themselves over their favorite starting QB, the quarterback room itself has been a cohesive unit - and that’s thanks to Bridgewater’s leadership and Lock’s willingness to learn.
After the win over the Lions, Bridgewater was asked what was different, and he lightheartedly said it must have been that the three QBs started going out for milkshakes together on Saturday nights.
"The QBs and I, we started getting Chick-fil-A milkshakes on Saturday night. ‘Ryp’ and Drew - they get the peppermint chip milkshake. I get the cookies and cream. I think that’s probably what it is." - Teddy Bridgewater on success in the red zone.— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) December 13, 2021
MORE MILKSHAKES PLEASE! pic.twitter.com/vANXkHLDnr
So while Bridgewater goes through the concussion protocol, it will be Lock’s job to show Broncos Country what he has learned, how he has improved.
He seems to know those stakes. And he believes he is a better QB than he was last year.
“I absolutely do. There’s a lot of work that’s gone into my game—mentally and physically—up to this point,” Lock said. “It’s just—like I said, now it’s time to put it all together and go show that I am a better quarterback than I was.”
In some ways, his test against a different Raiders team than Week 6 couldn’t be more perfect. Though the Raiders’ defense has a tough four-man rush, the rest of the defense is paltry and could play into Lock’s strengths in the passing game and the offense’s strengths in the running game.
Lock’s goal then will be to protect the ball, taking the big play only if it’s there and avoiding the big mistake - a turnover.
“First off, their four-man rush is really good. They’ve got some elite pass rushers on their defense. I think the biggest thing on this defense is [that] they’re a bend-don’t-break kind of team. They’re not going to let you take these deep shots, but when those deep shots do come, you have to make the best of them,” Lock said. “Stay on the plan, like I said, do my job every single play. ‘All right, I did it that play, onto the next one.’ Just execute well and focus on what I need to do.”
Although Lock would like to take back his fumble last week that pretty much sealed the win for the Bengals, he felt good about the offense’s ability to move the ball and looks forward to picking up where he left off on that front.
“We got down in the red zone a couple times—just have to finish there,” he said, noting that he felt like he was seeing the game well. “It was my third time going in. I felt like I knew what I needed to do during the week. I felt really good when I went in there. Now it’s time to sum it all up, get a week in, and go out and play ball.”
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