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After a 33-6 routing of the Minnesota Vikings in Saturday’s preseason game, the Denver Broncos and head coach Vic Fangio have still not decided on a starting quarterback. Drew Lock and veteran Teddy Bridgewater is a contest of the safe pick versus the volatile option.
“I thought they both played very well. Kind of validated what I’ve been saying all camp, that they’re even-steven,” said the head coach, in an interview following the win. “And I thought Drew played well… And Teddy got in there and he moved the team well also. I don’t think any separation happened today in this game, if anybody’s looking for it.”
Drew Lock completed 5-of-7 passes for 151 yards, adding two touchdowns to his stat line for the afternoon. One of those scores came off a bomb to K.J. Hamler for 80 yards — an exhibition of Lock’s arm strength that harkened back to his draft value coming out of Mizzou.
On the other hand, Bridgewater had a more conservative approach: completing 7 of his 8 attempts, adding 74 yards and a touchdown. The signature checkdown performance from Bridgewater proved efficient, ending with a 153.3 QB rating in the preseason matchup, but it also reignited lingering concerns about Teddy’s potential as an NFL starter. Without a deep ball threat, Bridgewater’s game remains too cautious to add value to the offense, considering big name receivers like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Hamler are capable of beating secondaries in the AFC West.
Bridgewater apologists cite his days as a member of the Saints as the benchmark of his abilities. However, the scheme under Sean Payton that paid off for other sub-par throwers, such as Taysom Hill, became a crutch for Bridgewater. He shows no elevation in his game as a passer — playing more of a cog in the system than the stalwart starter that the Broncos and OC Pat Shurmur are hoping for.
The offensive coordinator previously did solid work with tightening up Eli Manning’s throwing during his tenure as the Giants coach, meaning progress made with Lock could result in a high-end QB2 product.
While Lock is certainly a wild card in terms of efficiency and accuracy, his connection with Hamler suggests he could be a worthy gamble for the Broncos. Denver faces the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers in the division, so a checkdown QB likely won’t be the life raft needed to stay afloat against these offenses.