Probably the most love Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has received during this offseason was from a pair of Kansas State troopers, who helped him out after a huge bolt smashed through his windshield last month. It’s been that kind of year for the likable 24-year-old signal-caller, who has had to develop a pretty thick skin to deal with an avalanche of criticism that has come his way since his disappointing sophomore NFL season.
Lock’s 18-game audition is now regarded as being a quantifiable body of work in a league where young QBs are expected to be able to jump straight in and put up big numbers. Despite his best efforts to make improvements, Lock ran into more negative energy early this offseason when Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans demanded a trade, and then reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers declared he wanted out of Green Bay.
Dating all the way back to his junior year at Missouri, Lock has not had the luxury of working with the same offensive coordinator for consecutive seasons. Therefore, it shouldn’t have really been shocking to hear him talk up the merits of continuity and preparation for the 2021 season.
“It’s been a really fun offseason to finally be able to fine-tune things, get the things we like, maybe talk about some things we’re half-and-half on, and maybe throw that in a couple of practices, get a couple of extra reps on those where we feel really confident going into the year,” Lock said on June 15. “It feels good to finally be in the same offense for a second time.”
Remaining confident is the all-important factor now, especially when you consider just how much uncertainty the young QB has had to deal with since his remarks back in mid-June. For Lock, Monday's news that Rodgers is heading back for his last dance in Lambeau has got to now feel like escaping the hangman’s noose, even if the stay of execution may only last a year.
Sure, Watson might remain available, but given his legal issues and a hefty price tag, Broncos first-year GM George Paton might find it difficult to justify springing for him. That means Lock will enter training camp as the incumbent, yes, but with a new veteran face to battle.
Entering a 50/50 competition for the starting job with Teddy Bridgewater means Lock will have to use every bit of the experience gained during his year spent in Pat Shurmur's system to his competitive advantage if he is to win the job.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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