The second day of Broncos Training Camp is underway, and the QB Watch is on.
While I find much of the coverage of this “battle” an insufferable and generally inaccurate picture when it comes to the eventual success of either quarterback, I admit it is still a necessary evil when a team is still searching for the guy to get it to the next level.
For the Broncos that means getting back to a season with more wins than losses, and both Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater are giving their best shot to be that guy.
But they are fighting against an elite defense.
Lock v. 1s, Teddy v. 2s in red zone. Lock had no completions as D came to play, no windows. Lock tried to zip one in for Fant at the goal line in a thicket of defenders, fell incomplete. Bridgewater had connections to Beck, Beyer and Sutton for 6-9 yards each, but no touchdowns.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 29, 2021
Regardless of fits from the D so far today, both quarterbacks showed some impressive looks to the defense on Day 1, and the two competitors also showed some chops in front of the media.
Bridgewater noted that despite having time during OTAs and minicamp to get comfortable with the new offense, he never likes to get too comfortable.
“Every day I just take an approach like it’s my first time learning it,” the journeyman QB said. “That way, I’m never feeling like I know too much. That keeps me grounded and that keeps me locked in. I’m taking notes like I’m hearing it for the first time again. That allows me to just go out there and play fast.”
For Lock, who knows this competition is really about making him a more consistent playmaker, called the competition “motivating.”
“Everyone talks about staying focused and controlling what you can control,” he said. “My idea is to come out with high energy every single day—focus on me, make the plays when I’m in there, congratulate Teddy when he makes a good play, and we’ll talk about when I make a bad play or when he makes a bad play.”
Lock added that it’s about getting better every day.
“The main goal—besides this competition—is for us to start winning games here,” he said. “I think we can do that with this team that we have. It’s just a different feeling around this building right now. It’s really fun to be a part of.”
Bridgewater took the same approach with the rep split, saying he has no problems with head coach Vic Fangio’s 50-50 plan for the two QBs
“Honestly, I’m just practicing with purpose. That’s one of our goals that coach talked about last night. Practicing with purpose and having purpose when you come out here,” he said. “I tell the guys when we break it down, ‘Let’s make sure every rep has a purpose.’ There’s a lesson in every rep. There’s a lesson in everything you do. When I’m out there, it’s one play at a time. I make sure I maximize it and have purpose.”
So whether he’s with the 1s or 2s or even 3s, Bridgewater considers the rep important.
“It’s all about maximizing the reps in your unit and getting your unit to the end zone—moving the ball and being efficient,” he said, adding that it’s up to the decision-makers how to evaluate those reps. “You never look at it like, ‘Hey, man, I’m in here with the 3’s or the 2’s. Those guys are fighting just like us to earn a spot on this team. Every rep with them counts, and every rep with the 1’s count and every rep with the 3’s count.”
OK, now that's a quote. https://t.co/IIDB8gGpus— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) July 29, 2021
Bridgewater’s primary goal is remaining a viable part of this team, but he’s not worried about it; he considers himself a survivor.
“It’s about surviving at this point,” he said, adding that he’s “made an impact everywhere I’ve been—some on the field, some off the field. For me, this is an opportunity for me to come in and compete. We have the third-youngest offense in the league and the fourth-oldest defense. When we combine the two, it’s a ton of wisdom but some inexperience. When you can come in and gel and mesh the way we have so far, I feel like that’s my purpose—to keep things together and perform on the football field.”
Justin Simmons, who has enjoyed the banter Bridgewater likes to bring with the defense, believes the veteran has been a good presence for Lock but also the secondary.
“It’s making us way better,” Simmons said of the competition. “It’s helping us to be able to work on our disguise and work on communication. You think you have something figured out on one series and the next series you come out and you may give up a few passes and say, ‘We really didn’t want to give those up.’ Those are things that are outside looking in and that I’m excited about. I think Teddy being in the room for Drew—leadership wise—is great. Teddy has been around, and he’s had some success.”
And Lock certainly has shown maturity around being put into a competition to kick off his third season. On one hand he realizes fans probably like the battle because of the drama - “It’s competition 24/7, whether it’s the meeting room or how fast we get our food at the lunch table” - but on the other, he knows he has to help the team win to be its leader.
It was interesting that when asked if he believes he should be the starter, he didn’t display the bravado we often associate with No. 3.
“I think I’m going to come out here every single day and practice my butt off and give everything I have for this team, for this state and for everybody in that building,” he said instead. “Lives, jobs and families depend on it.”
In the meantime, the media will continue to cover the daily touchdown/interception/batted passes tally as if throws in July mean something.
The important tally will be which guy can help the team get more Ws.