By: Keegan Hartman
“I was hoping for more, but not surprised.”
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio didn’t mince words as he spoke to the media following rookie quarterback and former Missouri star Drew Lock’s bumpy performance in his NFL debut at the 2019 Hall of Fame Enshrinement game last Thursday.
As soon as he said that, social media quickly ensued with reaction- a majority of that crowd Mizzou-affiliated. I say take it with a grain of salt.
Sure, Lock went 7-11 passing for only 34 yards, but he’s still is only a rookie quarterback who is familiarizing himself with a completely new system in the Broncos’ offense. Let’s take a moment to dissect Lock’s performance, as there are various takeaways that definitely showcased both promise and potential.
- Reliable tight ends are still a key component to Lock’s game.
While at Mizzou, Lock had Emanuel Hall, Johnathon Johnson, Nate Brown, and most importantly, tight ends Albert Okwuegbunam and Kendall Blanton as his target. Okwuegbunam stood out with 29 receptions and 11 touchdowns in 2017. Lock managed to utilize his tight ends when in passing situations in his Broncos debut, targeting rookie Iowa product Noah Fant three times, and undrafted rookie Wyoming tight end Austin Fort twice. Traditionally, the Broncos have been notorious for producing the quarterback and tight end chemistry on the field, and with Lock’s experience with tight ends at Mizzou, the pieces on offense are heavily in Lock’s favor to utilize with the depth held at the tight end position.
2. Lock is showing that he is ready for the passing game, and so are the Broncos.
It was what put Lock up and above the quarterback competition coming into the 2019 NFL Draft: the familiarity with professional route trees. Granted, Lock completed only 68% of his passes, but his exposure to Derrick Dooley’s was on full display as the young gun slinger showcased that he was unafraid of the challenge of airing the ball out. One thing Lock did not thrive at was reading coverages presented by the Falcons’ secondary, but, again, Lock is young, and his exposure only expands from here on out which calls for more development.
3. Lock’s Character.
I wasn’t the only one to take note of this one- the entire NFL fanbase that tuned into NBC’s Thursday night coverage saw Lock’s calmness and looseness taking the reigns of a team that has seen its woes at the quarterback position.
As he entered the huddle for the first time, and as NBC came back from a commercial break, we were greeted with the smirk of a quarterback, where majority of rookies would display nervousness and anxiety.
It remains to be seen if he gives more of a confidence booster to the Broncos fanbase immediately or if Lock does get his shot at the field this year. Mizzou fans know well how Lock acts in big moments, and from experience, the majority of results have been positive.
Lock and the Denver Broncos travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks in the team’s second preseason matchup of the season- Seattle’s first. Former Baltimore Ravens veteran signal caller Joe Flacco is expected to get his first few career reps as a Bronco followed by Hogan, Lock, and Rypien. This game will only be viewed live locally in the Seattle area at 9pm CT, but re-airings of the game can be viewed on NFL Network Thursday at midnight.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org