Will Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater start Week 1?
By: Steven Johnson
This offseason for the Denver Broncos has been dominated by questions surrounding the potential heir to the quarterback throne. Since bringing in former Carolina Panther’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, many fans brimmed with questions about what the team would look like this upcoming season. Many wondered if Bridgewater would be a veteran backup to Drew Lock or if he was here to take over the starting offense. All lights have been poised on the two quarterbacks throughout the start of the offseason program, training camp, and now through the first two preseason games, the Broncos have played. Lines for fandom have been drawn and many have moved from a competition standpoint to a fan club.
Those calling for Bridgewater enjoy the familiarity of his play and cite that the Broncos will know what to expect from him. Bridgewater fans explain the need for a quarterback that takes care of the ball and lets the defense put the team in favorable positions with the talent they have on that side of the ball. Many are upset with the lack of consistency the Denver quarterback room has shown over the past few seasons and believe that a “game-manager” quarterback is simply all that the team needs to see success in the upcoming season. Critics for Bridgewater explain that he is too conservative with his decisions. With the talent that the Broncos possess, fans have voiced concerns that Bridgewater can’t capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. These fans believe that Bridgewater simply doesn’t possess the needed instinct to put points on the board and take shots downfield to keep the Broncos in high-scoring games. Playing in the AFC West, many fans see the success of Patrick Mahomes II and rising star Justin Herbert and wish for the same type of performance. Coming off of Bridgewater’s last season with the Panthers he threw 15 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions. This leads critics to point to a lack of ability to carry a team to wins and leaves doubt as to him taking over the starting role with the talent of the offense around him.
Those advocating for Lock to take over the starting role preach potential and consistency within the system. Fans claim Lock has the ability and physical tools necessary for the Broncos to compete with the likes of the Chiefs and Mahomes. Lock is shown as being the quarterback with higher ceiling potential for his skill and supporters say he needs time in the system to feel comfortable and flourish. Lock fans acknowledge while underperforming in seasons past, they still believe he presents the Broncos with the best opportunity to reach the top of the division and compete for a title for the first time since 2015. Critiques of Drew Lock include that his lack of progression regarding the reading of defenses is worrying and cite his lack of productivity outside of play-action and broken plays. Fans say Lock is dependent on vanilla defensive play and rolling out of the pocket to make something happen. With a stat line of 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions last season as the starter, critics claim that he does not take care of the ball enough to give the Broncos a chance to compete in games. Many will say that the only quarterback a dominant defense like Denver will need is one that takes care of the football and limits mistakes, pointing to Teddy Bridgewater as a safe, viable option instead. Since watching the competition unfold, many will undoubtedly decide to veer to one of the quarterback options the Broncos are evaluating for the position. With that being said, the decision fans should make is simple.
The fanbase should get behind whoever the Broncos decide to lead the team. This whole offseason has been dominated by both sides rallying for a specific person to take over. Instead of supporting the team and being excited about young growth and returning players, fans have been obsessed with being right in their assumptions about “their guy” and how they perform. Too often have articles and posts been sent out in hopes of swaying people to take their side of the quarterback debate. While okay to have opinions and preferences, I think Broncos Country needs to step back and breathe. The logo of the team will always be more important than the individuals wearing it. The Broncos and the fans already saw the mania that one individual can bring with the emergence of Tim Tebow at quarterback. When Peyton Manning came to Denver, he was supported because of what he brought to the team as a whole. Fans need to stop putting personal preference above the success and values of the team that they support. The Denver Broncos as an organization will be around long after both of these quarterbacks are no longer playing, and fans need to realize that personal agendas aren’t needed when they divide the fanbase. The support of fans should be behind all of the men wearing that orange and blue uniform, not an individual who just so happens to be a Denver Bronco.