True to his offseason checklist, Denver Broncos' GM George Paton delivered on his promise to inject a fresh competitive edge into the team's quarterback room by acquiring the veteran Teddy Bridgewater via trade from Carolina. The premature coronation of Drew Lock as a bonafide NFL starter last year is being viewed askance in retrospect.
Paton's mission to redeem the Broncos' QB room saw the 28-year-old Bridgewater land in Denver last week where he quickly got busy rolling out the standard "I’m pleased to be here" soundbites. Head coach Vic Fangio stuck to his guns on Friday when he said that Lock and Bridgewater will indeed split first-team reps "50/50".
First-string running back Melvin Gordon recently appeared on NFL Total Access: The Locker Room podcast where the two-time Pro Bowler expressed his take on the incumbent Lock, who is responding well to the new challenge.
“I think them bringing Teddy here, giving him that competition, I think that’s really going to bring out the best in him,” Gordon said. “I think we [are] definitely going to see another Drew, another side of him. I think we just gonna see more confidence. I can tell in meetings already that he’s taking on that… You can see it. You can see it, like just the way he talks… You can tell the confidence.”
If Lock’s confidence was at all shaken by Bridgewater’s arrival, it could only have been made worse by the constant rumors linking the Broncos to the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay. But as Gordon explained, Lock must embrace the outside noise if he is going to hang onto the starter's job.
“He’s been battling. It’s just like he hears the noise,” Gordon said. “We all like to say we’re ignoring it, but we hear it, we hear it. And he hears it. I think he’s just got to get over that, man. He's got the swagger, he's got the confidence, [he's] fearless out there. He’s not afraid to chance it and give a guy an opportunity.”
Lock will find the levels of support within the locker room erode rather quickly if he fails to rise to the challenge of the 2021 season with Bridgewater now nipping at his heels. Combined with the Rodgers rumors still bubbling away, make no mistake: Lock has reached a major fork in his own career roadmap.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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