There wasn’t much excitement when the Denver Broncos made the trade for Teddy Bridgewater the day before the 2021 NFL draft and the reasoning is pretty simple. When you put Bridgewater out there on the field, you know what you're going to get and that is a safe brand of quarterbacking that is mostly dink-and-dunk with only a few shots beyond 15 yards for those big, exciting plays.
At this point in his career, Bridgewater is what he is and that isn’t likely to change. If he ends up winning the Broncos' starting quarterback job, the offense is going to look to really control the clock, move the ball steadily downfield, and give their defense a rest while trying to tire out the opponent.
What helps with that is being slightly better at protecting the football and limiting the turnover-worthy plays. In Carolina last year, Bridgewater threw an interception on 2.24% of his passing plays and had a 3.4 turnover-worthy play percentage. Both of them were better than his competition percentage.
As for Denver's incumbent starter Drew Lock, who is the best option to start if he can win the job. Unlike Bridgewater, there is still untapped upside with Lock and the potential for more than just the safe horizontal passing offense Bridgewater brings.
The concern, though, is Lock's myriad technical issues and mental mistakes that held him and the Broncos' offense back. Reading developing coverages was an issue and his undisciplined footwork led to a lot of sloppy throws, placed poorly, leading to turnovers. When you add in him locking onto one receiver, it became really problematic.
Even late in the season, the Broncos had to make large changes to their offense to try and help Lock handle these issues. The team purportedly had to cut down the playbook to essentially half-field, one-read, throws.
Lock would have three options: a deep, short/intermediate, and a check-down route. He would read the safety on that side of the field to determine which receiver he keys on if they were covered, then, checked down. The Broncos also added more curl routes which generate natural separation for cleaner throwing windows.
If Lock wants to really be a franchise quarterback, he has to work in an NFL offense reading the full field and developing coverages. The good news is, he seems to have really put the work in this offseason to develop the mental side of being a quarterback.
What can't be questioned about Lock is his desire to be a franchise quarterback. Unlike a certain former Broncos first-round quarterback, at least Lock can be trusted not to abandon his professional ambitions.
After five days of practice, Lock has an edge when it comes to winning the starting job. Most of the practices have seen Bridgewater really play it safe with his throws until the Broncos' fourth practice when he threw three interceptions.
Meanwhile, Lock was making big plays and doing so while protecting the football, until the fifth practice where he threw two interceptions after locking onto his receivers for easy plays.
This battle is still young and still going to go for a while to resolve.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!