First of all, I get it...our beloved site can’t go much more than a day without an article about the quarterback situation in Denver.
I’m not shy about sharing my take, but this week I decided the time was right to dig in and share some thoughts about exactly what the problem at quarterback is, why it is a problem, and why I don’t think the Broncos are in any way, shape, or form sitting tight with the QB room as it stands today.
Our offense is absolutely atrocious.
For those of you who haven’t read my stuff extensively, my main schtick here at milehighreport.com is my “No Bull Review” series where I write up after every game my take-aways and thoughts based off what I saw without pulling punches and mostly doing my best not to get too far into the homer takes either. I watch the games just like you. I go over the stats I find meaningful (few). I then go into the game footage a bit and focus in on plays I find interesting to clarify my takes. I’ve done this for a long damn time here at MHR with abandon year after year (I believe I started the series in 2011...but I’m not 100% sure).
Let’s just say that 6 seasons removed from our last Super Bowl victory, I’m getting to the point where I find it almost painful to watch our inept offense. We’ve tried a multitude of starting QBs. We’ve swapped offensive coordinators. The end product in every season post 2016 (where I can make an argument that at least Gary Kubiak had Trevor Siemian being somewhat competitive for almost 2⁄3 of the season) is hot garbage.
Changing coaches, quarterbacks, and having too many poor roster decisions definitely plays into the problem, but the glaring issue is the quality of play at quarterback is far below average.
Why do I think this way?
Quarterback is one of the easiest positions to get a gauge on because their performance is both easy to watch (the camera angles all base themselves around the action at and of the QB) and easy to quantify (we have all of the stats about everything they do).
So first off, when I look at a guy like Drew Lock, I see a young NFL QB with a pretty big arm. He has the strength and power to hit pretty much anywhere on the field. He has some trouble with accuracy, but nowhere near as bad as some I’ve seen (COUGH...Tim Tebow...COUGH).
The problem we see though is very little growth in the skills that make modern NFL QBs successful: reading defenses, quick decision making, and anticipation skills. Lock plainly struggles in these areas. Defenses that mixed up coverages confounded him throughout the 2020 season. But even the teams that played very vanilla (Carolina for instance) I could still see him waiting to see openings before throwing most of his passes.
So when my eyes see a guy who ended the season largely as he started it with tons of ups and downs, but mostly downs (don’t buy into hot takes about his last 5 games being good...his performances outside of Carolina were very similar to what we saw early in the year from him). There’s just too little growth in a guy that got all of the snaps, all of the coaching focus, and every opportunity to start when he was healthy.
I don’t for one second give him a pass as I have for other former recent Bronco QBs because of the roster having too many holes or especially too poor of an offensive line. Our O-Line was playing good football last year and our skill positions were loaded even without Courtland Sutton suiting up.
The Broncos are absolutely going to add to the QB room
With the new leadership of George Paton working with Vic Fangio, I don’t expect any scenarios at all that include the Broncos keeping a couple scrubs at QB on the roster and giving Lock another year. He may start (because the pickings are slim, Desean Watson looks more like a bad idea every day that passes, and we may not be able to find a trade partner to get to a QB in this draft), but it won’t be without adding something in the form of a veteran QB as a stand-by in case we see more of the same.
Fangio needs to get a better performance out of his team and it starts and ends with better play from the quarterback position. His defense looks loaded and hasn’t been the problem (other than when they are on the field for 2⁄3 of the TOP and give up late drives due to being gassed). With John Elway no longer calling the shots with personnel decisions, you can expect George Paton to help Fangio get legitimate pieces he needs to at least get the offense to the level of “average.”
Like most players on the team, I want nothing but success for Drew Lock. I’ll be cheering for him hard on every snap he takes for our team because I want the Broncos to win and if he’s our QB, then he needs to do well or we won’t win.
But at the end of the day, I listen to what my eyes tell me. The kid ain’t it. He hasn’t been it in 1.5 seasons. He won’t be it this year either.
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