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Broncos Quarterback Scoreboard: Drew Lock bounces back with an impressive "calculated-gunslinger" performance

Zac Stevens Avatar
July 30, 2021

Editor’s note: A Broncos quarterback competition can only mean one thing — another Broncos quarterback scoreboard. A fan favorite in the past, these stories will be posted after each and every training camp practice updating just how Denver’s quarterback competition is unfolding. At the end of each practice, 10 points will be divided among Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater with a cumulative score of the entire camp following. Which quarterback is in the lead? Find out now.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos’ quarterback competition started out at “50-50” in Vic Fangio’s eyes.

Three days into training camp, nothing has changed.

“I see no separation,” Fangio said Friday after practice. “They’ve been pretty consistent, both of them.”

But one quarterback had the edge on Friday.

Locked in

On Wednesday, after the first practice of camp, Drew Lock admitted that while he can still be a gunslinger, he has to be a “calculated gunslinger.”

“The chances that I do take are more calculated chances rather than when I was a rookie or in that second year. When I press the ball, it’s going to be a safer call,” Lock Explained. “I know better when to check it down and when to get the five yards and when to get the three yards. That’s been stressed to me in the building.”

Two days later, he displayed this new mature mentality to a tee.

Although Lock only had 10 drop backs during team periods, he didn’t force the ball once. In fact, after scanning the field during his first pass of the day, he dumped the ball off on the right sideline to Andrew Beck in the flat for a modest gain of five. It certainly wasn’t flashy, but it was a positive play that picked up yards. The coaches would certainly approve.

After Bridgewater got his shot, Lock’s eyes crept past the first-down marker. With Jerry Jeudy wide open—as he usually is—in the middle of the field, Lock hit him in the numbers 15 yards down field. The first-round pick continued to tear across the field and turn toward the end zone. While Jeudy wouldn’t have scored, he showed a confidence he rarely displayed as a rookie as he pumped the crowd up. They reacted with one of the loudest cheers of camp to date.

Lock connected again with Jeudy for a first down during 7-on-7s, but saved his best play of the day for K.J. Hamler immediately after (read below).

Speaking of 7-on-7s, Lock didn’t have a single incompletion during the period. In fact, incompletions were extremely rare for the calculated gunslinger on Friday.

Lock capped off the first half of practice during team period with a screen pass to Melvin Gordon and his only incompletion on the day. With pressure barreling down on him, Lock side-arm slung the ball off his back foot 10 yards down field. The ball made contact with one hand of the receiver, but wasn’t held on. That was the only time one of Lock’s passes hit the ground on Friday.

In Lock’s only drop back from the 15-yard line, he held onto a play action bootleg and turned on the jets down the right sideline for a short gain.

With the team at the 50, Lock checked the ball down to Gordon after not finding anything open from his initial reads. The next play was a routine pass, but capped off with sizzle. Jeudy hauled in a seven-yard curl, faked that he was going to cut in, then spun to the outside. Jeudy was on the other side of Bryce Callahan in an instant. After a short completion to Noah Fant, the team drill moved closer to the end zone.

Starting at the 35-yard line, Lock faced immediate pressure from the inside. It would have resulted in a sack before Drew could have even looked at his first option. Lock then found both quarterback’s favorite target on the day, Jeudy, 10 yards in the middle of the field. No. 10 took it another 15.

Drew’s final play of the day was from inside the 10. Working off a boot to the left, Lock saw plenty of daylight, tucked the ball and trotted into the end zone for six.

In the first two days of camp, Bridgwater only had one incompletion each practice. Friday, Drew took that honor.

Teddy toeing the checkdown line

Drew Lock is a self-proclaimed gunslinger, or, in 2021, a calculated gunslinger. Teddy Bridgwater is not.

The eight-year vet simply takes what the defense gives him. Often, he gets the ball out quick on short routes. When he looks down field, he’ll take a shot if it’s open. But if not, he doesn’t have any issue checking it down.

And in Fangio’s eyes, there’s nothing wrong with the checkdown. As long as it’s not the only pass a quarterback throws.

“You know, checkdowns are good, but you need more than checkdowns. So we need the right mix of that,” Fangio said after practice. “There’s a fine line there.”

On Friday, Bridgwater toed that line, until pulling away from it at the end of practice.

In the first team period, Teddy’s only two throws were both checkdowns. The first to Royce Freeman out of the backfield for five on the right numbers and the second to Damarea Crockett, who couldn’t hold on to it.

Amongst successful checkdowns and short passes during 7-on-7, Bridgwater went 30 yards deep down the right sideline to Tyrie Cleveland. But with a corner in the area, Cleveland wasn’t able to come down with it.

Before moving into the red zone, Bridgwater had his longest completion up to that point of practice as he hit Fant crossing the field at the sticks for a first down.

Bridgwater’s first play from the 15, he overthrew Fant in the back of the end zone. With tight coverage all over the field, it appeared Teddy was most likely throwing the ball away, while giving Fant a slim chance that only he could come down with it. He followed that up by hitting Eric Saubert for a modest gain on the right hash.

Then, the checkdown wheels came off.

Working from midfield, Teddy hit Fant 25 yards down field on the left numbers on an out route. After finding success there, Bridgwater went right back to it on the very next play. This time, however, he found a wide open Jeudy, who had room to run after the catch.

Moving up to the 35-yard line, Bridgwater hit Javonte Williams on a screen before uncorking another shot. With Jeudy tearing down the left sideline on his way to the end zone, Bridgwater looked his way. The ball came out of his hand with a wobble, but still made it to Jeudy as he crossed the goal line. However, Ronald Darby made an impressive play, swatting the ball before it could fall into Jeudy’s hands. In-com-plete, as the crowd at Empower Field at Mile High would chant.

Teddy’s day ended with pressure in his face from inside the 10. He took off and either would have been sacked or gained just a few yards.

By no means did Bridgwater have a bad day, he just didn’t have a splash day. But after starting practice with many short throws, the checkdown in Teddy’s game was gone by the end of the day.

QB Play of the Day

No. 10 was unquestionably the receiver of the day. But No. 1 made the No. 1 play of the day.

Working from the 45, during 7-on-7s, Hamler turned on the jets and easily blew by the second-team defense. Lock noticed and let it rip.

K.J. dove and held onto the bomb with all of his might as he came crashing to the ground near the back of the end zone as he had two steps on Parnell Motley.

Drew put it where only Hamler could get it and the former second-round pick made a beautiful catch for six.

Immediately after, a fan yelled, “that’s the type of Broncos football I’m talking about. Stop with the checkdowns!”

There was no checkdown in sight with the play of the day.

Scoreboard

Friday was an encouraging day for the Broncos’ quarterback competition. Both quarterbacks had excellent completion percentages and showed NFL-caliber decision making.

For a third-straight day, Lock and Bridgwater combined for zero interceptions. That’s a beautiful sight for Fangio and the Broncos.

But at the end of the day, Lock was able to do more with his completions than Bridgwater. That, along with only one incompletion, gives the day to Drew Lock.

Daily 10-point scale score: 6-4, Lock

Collective 10-point scale score: 16-14, Bridgewater

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