With the 2021 season closing in, time is running out for Vic Fangio to decide on his starting quarterback. The debate has raged for months and training camp and the preseason have done little to quiet the disagreement. While those of us who write at Mile High Report all agree that whoever wins the starting job has our full support in their efforts to lead the Broncos back to the playoffs for the first time since Peyton Manning retired, we thought it time to share where we land on the competition.
Who should be the Broncos’ QB1?
Teddy Bridgewater. If it’s a close call then always go with the experienced veteran. I also think he gives you a lot more in the red zone at this point than Drew Lock.
Whichever QB the coaches have more faith in. That appears to be Bridgewater from the indications we’ve gotten. But, in the end, neither has done enough to separate himself in this competition for me to really feel strongly one way or the other. Which has exactly the implications you would think it has about the future of this QB room. There’ll be new faces in 2022. But for now I’ll support either guy.
P.S. that meme is going to be my answer to this question. Whether it’s ‘3’ or ‘5’ it probably doesn’t really make us a serious contender in the AFC West :(
Both of them have pros and cons...I like Lock’s arm strength and I like Teddy’s consistent accuracy. At the end of the day, this decision needs to be about who gives this team the best chance to win games. That looks to me to be Teddy Bridgewater. I’ll lean on this Vic Fangio defense to do most of the winning work and want the vet to manage the offense’s balanced attack. We’ve lost too many years in a row to keep rolling the dice on a young QB who’s only consistent theme has been inconsistency in his play.
here's a minute of drew lock throwing awful interceptions just from the second half of this season pic.twitter.com/qyBkJKGIGG— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) February 5, 2021
I don’t really know who should be the Broncos starting QB. I know Teddy seems like the safe pick, but if that were true, wouldn’t he be playing for one of the plethora of teams that moved on from him? The Saints come to mind. And he couldn’t last in Carolina? But sure retread that QB in Denver. That being said, Drew Lock doesn’t exactly make the heart flutter with excitement. His growth has been incremental at best. He still struggles with the progression needed to be a legit QB1 in the NFL. If the goal is to win, Teddy is probably the best guy for the job. Turnovers kill teams. While he isn’t lighting teams up, he also won’t give the ball away all that much. Lock has been a turnover machine. If the goal is to develop a young QB and try and make it work no matter what, I guess it’s Lock and all the growing pains that come with him. I just want to talk about wins, so give me Bridgewater and a defense to carry the load and I’ll be happy.
Most interceptions thrown under pressure in 2020:— PFF (@PFF) April 28, 2021
Drew Lock - 8
Teddy Bridgewater - 7 pic.twitter.com/T0lucMaxN0
If our defense is as good as we hope it will be, we are going to want the QB who turns the ball over the least. Over the past two years, Teddy has protected the ball much better than Drew. Lock’s accuracy and decision making may have improved during the off-season, but it was hard to tell that in either of the first two preseason games.
Ian St. Clair:
At the end of the day, the answer is who gives the team the best chance to win. We all know the arguments for both, so just make the decision and roll with it. Is one more preseason game with more backups really going to show you something you haven’t seen?
On the flip side the offensive minded players / coaches usually gravitate towards the QB they feel they can score with and generate big plays.— Tim Jenkins (@TJenkinsElite) August 23, 2021
It will be interesting to see the direction the coaches and organization go based on what they feel helps them win now.
In the end, I’m torn on this because there’s so much of the competition I didn’t get to see firsthand. As an aside, if anyone wants to hire me around Denver so I can attend camp practices next year and going forward I’m definitely listening.
After the Vikings game I had a bunch of questions about the competition. Lock clearly looked better in Minnesota and displayed notable improvements in his mechanics and ability to work through progressions. It also came with as many as seven starting offensive players against a defense littered with backups with Shurmur dialing up more play action and motion than I’d seen over the previous three years of studying his offense.
The situation was notable, because The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran told me that the Broncos were essentially running “two offenses” to suit the skillsets of their two quarterbacks. When I brought it up with The Gazette’s George Stoia, he did nothing to dispute this. After reviewing the offense against Minnesota twice, I wondered if the “Lock offense” was heavier personnel with an emphasis on playing from under center so as to present more of a run threat to opponnets. This would make it easier to simplify reads and give Lock more boot action to the right, probably the strongest area of his game last year.
While I had some qualms about going so heavy on play action, conversations with former NFL quarterback Tim Jenkins, Football Outsiders’ Derrik Klassen, Match Quarter’s Coach Alexander, as well as Pro Football Focus’ Seth Galina and Tej Seth had me going into last weekend believing Lock should be the starter if the QB competition was as close as Fangio made it sound.
After last weekend’s 30-3 win over the Seahawks the situation looks muddier than I anticipated, however. Bridgewater continued to look like a competent starting quarterback with his ball placement, poise, and decision making. Lock looked like I had feared when I dug into the numbers with Joe Mahoney last January: better than one of the worst quarterbacks in football, but still a below average passer with clear limitations in the dropback game.
Based only on what I’ve seen, heard, and read about the two players locked in battle, I lean towards Teddy Bridgewater. I believe his ability to perform without run action and his accuracy open up the Broncos’ offense in a way Lock does not. Admittedly, I haven’t seen enough to feel so strongly about this that I’ll be upset if Elway, Paton, Fangio, and whoever else weighs in on QB1 goes the other way.
I’m a Broncos’ fan first and hope whoever starts proves themselves the right guy for 2021 and maybe even beyond.
Pick your Week 1 starter.
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