Andy Reid on Drew Lock: 'He Plays Big, Not Flinchy at All'
Andy Reid knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. As the brainchild behind Patrick Mahomes and the juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs, Reid's offensive expertise and quarterback-whispering acumen are renowned.
So when the Chiefs' head coach speaks out on the subject of Drew Lock, Denver Broncos fans would be wise to listen. On Wednesday during his conference call with Denver media, Reid had some surprisingly strong compliments to pay Lock.
“Certain guys just play big. He is big but he plays big in the pocket," Reid told reporters on Wednesday. "He’s not flinchy at all. He’s got a nice touch. Seems like he has a nice feel for what they’re asking him to do. And the beautiful thing is he’s getting better with time."
Before anyone gets too over-the-moon over Reid's Lock comments, a certain amount of disclosure is warranted. First, Reid has a connection to the Lock family.
Drew's father Andy Lock played at the University of Missouri in the late 1980s as an offensive lineman. Andy's position coach? None other than Reid.
Reid and Mr. Lock have a friendship dating back 30 years.
Second, there is such a thing as 'coachspeak.' It is common for the opposing coach to say complimentary things about the players on the other team head of a matchup. In fact, it's wise policy so as to not give the opponent any bulletin-board material and maybe, just maybe, lull them into a fall sense of security.
So, with those plausible explanations laid out, let's briefly examine whether there's any merit to what Reid said about the Broncos' young signal-caller.
In the NFL, Lock has exceeded the expectations of a second-round pick thus far, if only modestly. Outside of getting his lunch money stolen from him by the Chiefs in the snow last year, no moment thus far has seemed to big for Lock.
That isn't the only interpretation of Reid's 'he plays big' comment as he's also specifically talking about Lock's pocket presence. The kid doesn't play scared and is willing to be aggressive and take shots down the field.
Lock isn't skittish in the pocket. I was curious to see whether Lock would be a little gun-shy and jumpy in his return to the field last week after getting plowed into the earth and injured by Pittsburgh's Bud Dupree in Week 2 but any concerns fans might have had that the young QB would jump at shadows or see ghosts were assuaged by his aggressive mindset and willingness to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball.
Despite having an absolute hose on his right shoulder, Lock can finesse the ball with accuracy to his receivers. His arm strength might be his greatest passing attribute, though. We've seen him make big plays by rolling out and throwing with zip and precision across his body.
See Fant, Noah, touchdown, Week 1 vs. Tennesse.
This is one comment Reid made that seems a little early to confirm with certainty. While offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur showcased his belief and faith in Lock last week by allowing him to push the ball down the field early and often, we simply haven't seen the QB in this system long enough to determine whether he truly does have "a nice feel" for what the Broncos are asking him to do.
Check with me again in a few weeks once Lock has more than nine quarters with Shurmur under his belt.
In some ways, we've seen progress from Lock as you would expect from a young QB still knee-deep in his developmental learning curve. Lock's footwork is vastly improved and outside of last week's two ill-advised fourth-quarter interceptions, he's mostly done a good job of protecting the football as a QB, which is detractors coming out of Mizzou doubted he could do.
However, Lock needs to showcase a better feel for coverages and not lock into one receiver or one side of the field. Those attributes will be honed with time.
Lock's confidence and leadership have already surpassed expectations, undoubtedly getting better with time. If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, most of the signs point to Lock indeed improving over time, which hints that the best is yet to come.
In his Wednesday presser, Lock talked about embracing his inner Darth Vader as he looks to complete his defection to 'the dark side' and finally take down his hometown Chiefs. Kansas City presents a unique obstacle but if Reid's 'read' of Lock holds water, the Broncos should be able to be competitive with the Chiefs in Week 7.
Time will tell.