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Analytics Suggest Drew Lock Should be Named Broncos' Starting QB

Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater? Here's what the analytics say.

Fans are pining to know which quarterback the Denver Broncos will name as the starter. Will it be Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater? We have witnessed two preseason games in which both quarterbacks have been good. There appears to be no true separation.

Head coach Vic Fangio has also stated on many occasions that it's "even-steven." Each preseason game provided valuable pieces of evidence that we can look at from an analytical perspective. In so doing, the decision is quite clear. The starting job should belong to Lock.

Starting with the hypothesis that both quarterbacks are currently in a dead heat or in other words, playing at the same level, we can examine some analytics to understand why Lock should come out ahead.

Going back to this analysis when I adjusted every qualifying NFL quarterback season for era, the numbers reveal why Lock should be given the reigns. In this analysis, which expanded to include every qualifying QB season since 1960, there are 1,836 quarterback seasons. Then they're ranked adjusted for era.

Lock’s 2020 season ranked No. 1,690, which was in the bottom-150 seasons all time. There was no sugar-coating, his season was horrendous.

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Bridgewater’s 2020 season ranked No. 1,287, which isn’t great, but not even in the bottom-500. Furthermore, Bridgewater’s other qualifying seasons in 2014 and 2015 were not vastly different than his 2020. Meaning, he has been playing at the same level for three seasons.

So why name Lock the starter? Assuming they're playing evenly right now, Lock has made a massive improvement. He has improved at least 403 'spots' if we assume that Bridgewater has stayed the same. 

In fact, Lock's increase is rare if we consider this analysis. If Bridgewater has also advanced, then Lock moves up with him, making his improvement even greater. That is if the coaches are telling the truth with the “even-steven” comments.

This progression makes Lock the better option because of his potential to improve even more. If it is a dead heat, Lock has more potential to get better based on what we know now. 

He made a massive jump forward and when compared to Bridgewater, who has stayed fairly even in his three qualifying seasons, Lock’s trend is moving upward while Bridgewater’s is flat. He is the better option between the two quarterbacks for this season and the future.


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