Editor’s Note: Special guest post here from Tim Jenkins. He is a great quarterback evaluator on Twitter and spends a lot of time on our Denver Broncos. Give him a follow on YouTube and Twitter and enjoy his breakdown here of both quarterbacks during the game last weekend. Jenkins also posted a YouTube video breaking down the grades for each quarterback with film. The NFL is blocking it from playing on the site, but you can click over to his YouTube channel to watch breakdown.
Anyone with two eyes and a love of football could tell you that Drew Lock had a great game Saturday against Minnesota. You hardly need a background of playing Quarterback in the NFL and training QB’s professionally to understand that. However, was it as wide of a margin as we all think? The nuanced answer is yes and no, but y’all are tired of reading articles where someone plays both sides of the fence and I refuse to do that to you.
The answer is Drew Lock won round 1 of the QB battle, and he won by 5 points exactly. Drew Lock graded out as an 88 while Teddy Bridgewater graded out as an 83 on the Tim Jenkins Quarterback grading scale. I developed this grading system using a formula that would rival the equations that Matt Damon solved in Goodwill Hunting. Ok, that’s a lie, I simply developed them by using the grading scale that I was graded with as an NFL QB, so I’m willing to bet it’s nearly identical to what is waiting for Drew and Teddy in their locker today from Pat Shurmur.
First a quick review explaining what we cover on the grading sheet (they are linked next to each guy’s name and grade). This is column by column from left to right:
- QB Name - Pretty simple, the Quarterback’s name.
- Drive - What drive number it was for that QB, not to be confused with the team as a whole.
- Play - The play number of that drive.
- Type - Was it a run, screen, or pass play.
- Notes - Explaining why they graded as “plus” or “minus’’ on any given category.
- Decision - Did they make the right decision, primarily used in the passing game and based on the route concept and coverage presented.
- Throw - Simply was it a good accurate throw.
- Footwork - Did they take the correct footwork, we apply this to the run game, pass game, and screen game.
- Check - Did they make a quality protection check, new mike ID, or run game check.
- Fake - Did they carry out their fakes in the run game or did they present a great looking action in the run / play action game.
Now to the fun stuff.
Drew Lock: Overall Grade 88 (44/50)
Plain and simple Drew had himself a day. He grew in all the ways you hoped he would from having a solid off-season. The areas that really stand out is he graded a perfect 8 for 8 when it comes to pass game decision making. Another surprise was he graded out a solid 7 for 8 when it came to taking the correct drop in the passing game which is something that he struggled with last year in a big way. From a positive perspective we need to see this carry over into the second pre-season game, one in which he will likely face a bigger test running with the second team offense where a wide receiver or lineman can have a missed assignment at a much more frequent rate.
Areas I would love to see Drew improve in his second outing this year are his run game fakes, specifically straight back in the pocket and cleaning up his two errant throws from Saturday. I want to see his run game fakes, meaning after he hands it off get better. Peyton Manning was meticulous in how he would try to replicate the exact look of a fake after he handed the ball off and we need to see Drew take another step here. I also want to see him dial in throws that are in his wheelhouse, like the sail he missed to KJ Hamler on his 3rd drive.
All things considered I thought Drew had a heck of an outing in week 1 and that is why he has a lead in this QB race.
Teddy Bridgewater: Overall Grade 83 (35/42)
When I say Teddy Bridgewater your mind automatically triggers thoughts of “Safe”, “Veteran QB”, and “Avoids Mistakes”. What if I told you that while Drew graded a perfect 8 of 8 on pass game decisions, Teddy graded out 6 for 9 in that same category? Shock? Confusion? All of the Above? Those were my thoughts when I was watching the tape but let’s start with the good. His footwork for the most part was clean and he did a great job carrying out fakes in the run game which I really enjoy as this will lead to continued success in the Broncos Run and Play Action passing game.
Where we need to see Teddy improve is fairly straightforward. We need him to improve his decision making in the passing game. Frankly, he struggled with some of the exact same concepts we saw Drew struggle with in the early part of the 2020 season. He misread Subway, which is a simple two by two formation double slant on one side and slant arrow on the other. You read the double slant side against 2 high safeties and slant arrow against a single high safety. Teddy read the wrong side, Minnesota gave him a tough look of a drop down safety at the snap but these are things you want to see a veteran QB like Teddy already have down.
Overall an 83 for a somewhat new system, on a new team, isn’t half bad and that’s why Teddy is very much still in this race, especially if he can clean up his decisions in week 2. Be sure to check out the film breakdown video below that I just uploaded to my YouTube channel All Things QB, and I’ll see you next week for round 2 Broncos Country!
Jenkins also joined Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright on Broncos Country Tonight Monday for a great discussion about what to be excited about and what to look forward to in the next preseason game.
“Everyone’s talking about the big play, however he did a couple good reads and progressions through normal dropbacks, and if you’re a fan, that’s what you’re looking for,” Jenkins said, noting that we already knew he was aggressive on play-action.
To Jenkins, Lock didn’t win the job outright with his performance last week, but he did pull out ahead because he showed he can do some things he hadn’t done before. The key now will be consistently doing that in the next game and particularly doing it with the second team offense.
“You want to see him do it with a different group. When you go to Seattle, you’ll see him run more with the 2s, and if he carries over quality decision-making when maybe a receiver busts a route, that’s exponentially more positive in a coach’s mind,” Jenkins said. “If I’m a Broncos coach I’m more excited to see how he processes some obstacles he’s not likely to see during the season.”
The “QB whisperer” also believes that Broncos Country should be excited about the fact that there wasn’t total separation from the two quarterbacks Saturday because it proves Denver has a guy with potential to really move the ball in a meaningful way plus a quality backup.
“It was the best of both worlds,” Jenkins said. “You saw a guy potentially if he continues to hunt could have a really good season but you also saw a guy you’d be really comfortable with going in there if Drew went down.”