Listen, I’m a big fan of Teddy Bridgewater. He’s smart, he’s a solid leader, and he makes all the right decisions. Despite all that, I still believe Drew Lock should be named the Broncos starting Quarterback heading into Week 1.
To fully understand my reasoning, I first have to ask one question. What’s a successful season for the Denver Broncos? Many fans and pundits alike will answer that question with, “Making the playoffs.” Fair. My rebuttal to that would be, “Really? Is that the standard we’re now setting for this team? Simply just making the playoffs?”
But I get it.
Since winning the Superbowl in 2015, the Broncos have gone through their worst stretch of football since the early 1970’s. Just a few years ago, Denver fans had gone over 3 decades without seeing their team put up consecutive losing seasons. Coming off of an injury riddled and Covid plagued 2020-21, the Broncos have now put up 4 such seasons in a row. Unfamiliar territory for such a storied and proud franchise. So I can see how making the playoffs this year would seem like a major accomplishment for a team coming off such a long stretch of frustrating outcomes.
I just don’t think that’s what we, as Denver Broncos fans, should settle for.
Drew Lock gives this team a higher ceiling than Teddy Bridgewater. To me, that fact is the only aspect of this Quarterback battle worth considering. Does Lock also give the Broncos a lower floor? Absolutely. But isn’t that worth the risk?
We have to look at this Quarterback battle as more than just what gives this team the best chance to win on a week to week basis. Which QB gives this team the best chance to win a Superbowl? Now, and in the future. Starting Teddy, and sitting Drew, doesn’t give us the best chance to do that in my opinion. Just look at our division. Patrick Mahomes isn’t going anywhere. Justin Herbert is only going to get better. The Raiders…well the Raiders are the Raiders, but that’s a different article. My point is, if we’re going to have the third or fourth best Quarterback in the our own division, we can’t continue making the “safe” pick at the most important position on the field.
Our defense is going to keep us in games. I think they have a chance to be a really special unit. But in today’s NFL, unless our defense is the 2000 Ravens (or 2015 Broncos), that’s not going to be enough to get to the mountaintop. We have to score points. “Steady Teddy” will win us games, no doubt. He’ll make the right reads and keep us in nearly every game we play this year. Best case scenario, I can even see us winning a playoff game or two. But can I envision the Denver Broncos, with Teddy Bridgewater as our Quarterback, winning the Superbowl? No, I can’t.
My point is, we know who Teddy is. Drew Lock on the other hand? We can’t make that same conclusion. At the very least, we know Lock is either at, or just below Bridgwater’s level. If he wasn’t, this QB battle would have been over weeks ago. At 24 years old, playing with the same offensive coordinator in consecutive years for the first time since his Sophomore year in college, that’s an encouraging sign he’s competing neck and neck with a proven veteran in this league.
So what do we have to lose?
If Drew Lock truly has a higher ceiling/lower floor than Teddy Bridgewater, starting him is a win/win scenario. If the Broncos win a ton of games with Lock this year, look great doing it, and make a decent run in the playoffs, that’ll be telling. Depending on how he looks in the games we win, he either becomes our franchise QB we’ve been craving since Peyton Manning, or we realize he’s good, but not good enough, to consistently give us a shot at winning Superbowls. In which case there are a ton of options heading into next year. Including, but not limited to, monitoring both the Rodgers and Watson situations this offseason.
On the other had, if Lock performs poorly, winning 7 or 8 games max and missing the playoffs, that makes our next offseason even easier. We either go all in on Rodgers or Watson, or we swing for the fences on a Quarterback in the draft.
I’ll repeat myself, starting Drew Lock this year is a win/win situation.
My one worry is that, if I was Vic Fangio and wanted to keep my job, who would I pick? Undoubtedly I’d choose Bridgewater. Because Vic knows, like we all do, if our ship sinks this year he’s going down with it.
My hope is that Fangio is outruled by the likes of OC Pat Shurmur, GM George Paton, and John Elway.
Unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath.