The Mile High City has an old-fashioned quarterback battle for entertainment this summer with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater interchanging at the key spot. As a consequence, it’s also created a very different set of challenges for Denver Broncos' second-year center Lloyd Cushenberry.
After negotiating an up-and-down rookie year, the 23-year-old is now dealing with a direct threat to his starting job as presented by rookie Quinn Meinerz. Additionally, Cushenberry is all too aware of the need to build chemistry with both signal-callers on the hoof.
On Tuesday, the 315-pound center lifted the lid on the complex battle to juggle his individual responsibilities while remaining fully focused on team goals.
“It’s a little different, but at the same time, you can’t really focus on that. You have a job to do no matter who’s behind and under center,” Cushenberry said. “You have to give them the ball and you have to protect them.”
Sticking to the fundamentals is all part of the position's purview, but that could become much more awkward if Cushenberry starts to feel the tension between the competing field generals. For the moment, that isn't a problem as the Broncos have gotten down to the business of football.
“Both guys have been great,” Cushenberry said. “They’ve been rotating in and I feel comfortable with either one. Whatever coach decides, that’s what we’re going to roll with.”
Like all second-year players, the rub will be building on all the bitter pills he swallowed during his rookie year. Cushenberry openly referenced his rookie struggles and name-dropped just how instrumental his position coach Mike Munchak has been to his development.
“When I was down on myself, he always believed in me to keep sticking with me,” Cushenberry admitted. “He allowed me to go through a rough patch. This year, and years down the road in my career, I’m going to look back on this and say, ‘Alright, I learned from that. It made me better.’ I can’t thank him enough and I look forward to him continuing to groom me into the center I want to be.”
In a locker room where ‘iron sharpens iron’ became a Super Bowl-winning mantra, Cushenberry is facing his multi-layered challenge with a burgeoning confidence he may come to rely on.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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