Drew Lock warming up before a recent Broncos practice. (Photo: Ben Swanson/DenverBroncos.com)
Drew Lock should be the Broncos Number 2 Quarterback. It's not that hard of a concept, and something I've been saying since the 3rd week of OTAs.
Luckily, that sentiment appears to now be shared by John Elway and Vic Fangio. Everyone knows who Kevin Hogan and what he can, and more importantly, can't do. Lock needs all the reps he can get.
Last week Fangio said the second-round pick is getting more reps, and asked rhetorically, "what else do you want us to do, shut down the whole operation for him?" Before the next question was asked by the assembled media, I said, "you could shuffle the reps around a bit," but the Coach kind of moved on. That prompted one media member to say to me, "how about he earn it?" As I said in a blog last Tuesday, I don't disagree with that sentiment, but what is he earning? The right to still not start. He earned that by virtue of being drafted in the 2nd round.
Fangio appears to be heeding his own words, as he told us the best way for a player to get better is to get more reps. For the second straight day, Lock took all of the 2nd-team reps. For the second straight day, he looked the part. Does he look flawless, no, but does he look like he's starting to get it, yes.
Following Sunday's practice, Fangio was asked about Lock getting more work with the second unit and fellow Brett Rypien getting all of Sunday's number 3 reps. He was quick to downplay the development. "They got a few more today, both of them, and that was the plan all along," he said. Then when he was pressed on the idea that "we" can say Lock was the 2nd string QB, he responded as you'd expect, "I’m not. You said ‘we.’ I’m not. You can, but I’m not."
It's obvious to all of us who watch the Broncos closely, and especially to those of us who cover the team, that Lock should get all of the 2nd team reps. If the season started tomorrow, and Joe Flacco sprained his ankle, Hogan may be a better option to get you through that game. But, there are enough flashes from Lock, including 2 great throws vs. Seattle, one to Troy Fumigali and the late 2-point conversion to Juwann Winfree, to see that in the long run, the team will be in the same spot, with more upside, if he were thrust into longterm duty.
Certainly we'll continue to monitor it, but from my vantage point, Lock is and should be the No. 2 QB from this point going forward, and get all of the 2nd team reps he can.
[One Minor Monday Practice Note that I promised, "The Mayor" and fellow Jayahwk, Joe Dineen I'd mention, it did appear that Dineen sacked Lock, but of course the whistle never blew, so Lock could get the pass off. So, it's worth noting, that while the "Border War" between Kansas and Missouri may be dormant, it's not dead!
Fant's Figuring it out...or so it seems:
Broncos 1st-round pick Noah Fant came under scrutiny early in camp. This week we found out why he was out of sorts. Apparently he was battling the stomach flu. More than once, he ran behind the radio tents, and those of us in the vicinity assumed he was going to relieve himself. On Day 3, I actually pointed him to the players restroom, and from then on that's where he went.
Well, it turns out he was going to puke, because he had the flu. That certainly can effect his ability to stay focused and finish plays. That's certainly frustration demonstrated by both Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton. Nonetheless, seemingly every day of Training Camp we've seen flashes from Fant, and understood why he was projected as the best receiving tight end in this past April's Draft.
Life as a rookie in the NFL can come at you fast, but for the 20th overall pick, it appears he's starting to figure it out. "I feel like things are slowing down a lot more as we go along," Fant said. "At first, it was very fast and a lot of things at once but definitely getting a hang of the offense a lot better and things are starting to slow down for me. I’m able to slow down and get my progressions and things like that so it’s been going good."
Wiggins In The House!
I bumped into Dalton Risner leaving the field and he told me a bunch of folks from his nearby hometown of Wiggins, CO were coming to camp Tuesday. I joked that I wasn't sure how many people lived there but most would be at The UCHealth Training Center. It turns out there are 887 people who live there. So, it looks like about 10 percent of the population will make their way to watch their favorite son, and his teammates in the final Training Camp Practice of 2019.