After a horrendous 2020 season of play from Drew Lock new Bronco’s general manager George Paton decided it was time for a change. That change came in the acquisition of veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater through a trade with Carolina. So Paton reunites with his 2014 first round pick in Minnesota and Lock gets a mentor, but do the Broncos really have a better chance to win?
Many of last seasons weaknesses came from Lock. For starters, the team finished dead last in turnover differential with a ridiculous negative 16. Now this isn’t a knock on the defense, in fact they averaged one takeaway per game. It has more to do with the fact that the Broncos threw a league leading 23 interceptions, 15 of which came from Lock. The classic saying of “turnovers lose games” certainly holds true as the Broncos finished 5-11 to cap off their fourth straight losing season.
So what’s the case for Bridgewater? He’s four years older than Lock (28 and 24 respectively) and didn’t necessarily impress in his one year with the Panthers. His playstyle is more conservative and he is generally more accurate, but should those factors really make him a starter? The sentiment in Broncos country is that with Bridgewater at the helm the team can right the ship to an above .500 season. The reality is that Bridgewater historically hasn’t done too well in the interception department, his 1.4:1 touchdown to interception ratio doesn’t really make him starting caliber. Plus a litany of injuries throughout his rocky career would scare any head coach.
Is Lock really any better? No. Not by a mile. He’s reckless, inaccurate and inexperienced which are the last things wanted with your starter, but he’s got a better case for the job than Bridgewater.
Here’s the deal, Lock’s 2020 play was painful to watch, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. He has potential and plays with a unique confidence. Sure that can sometimes be perceived as arrogance, but at least he shows he’s comfortable being out there on Sundays. The inexperience factor shouldn’t be a big deal considering the Broncos are no where near ready to seriously compete. The best option might just be to give Lock one last hurrah. If he turns it around then all of the sudden the team has a possible franchise quarterback, and if not they’ll likely have a top 10 pick with a deep 2022 quarterback class.
Which one starts?
Either way, Bridgewater just isn’t the guy. Sure, he probably gives the Broncos a better chance to win games at the moment, but he doesn’t really increase the playoff or championship hopes of a struggling franchise.
On top of that, one of the biggest weaknesses hasn’t been discussed yet: Pat Shurmur. His coaching in 2020 made a bad Lock miles worse. He was brought in under the presumption that he was the “quarterback whisperer” and hearing that a year later is laughable. He always seemed to know when to call the wrong play at the wrong time. So should the blame be fully placed on Lock? Not really. His circumstances in terms of on field weapons were fine, but when the man up in the booth can’t move the ball to save his life the team is going to start to get desperate. That desperation led to a horrible season.
For now all Broncos country can do is hope and pray for an Aaron Rodgers trade to go through so that they can, in the words of Rodgers himself, “R-E-L-A-X” about the quarterback situation in Denver.