Vic Fangio Dishes on how Drew Lock has Picked up Broncos' New Scheme Without Benefit of OTAs
If the Denver Broncos to take a competitive leap forward and officially crawl out of the NFL's sub-.500 doldrums, it'll hinge on quarterback Drew Lock. Lock is entering his second NFL season after starting five games as a rookie in 2019 and helping to lead the Broncos to a 4-1 finish down the stretch.
That momentous finish got the likes of GM John Elway quite excited by the prospect of what the Broncos might have in Lock. After wandering the QB desert for three and a half years post-Super Bowl 50, the Broncos took their lumps, paid their dues, and now appear to have "bounced off the bottom", to use Elway's verbiage.
Because the team knows how crucial Year 2 will be for Lock and the offense, Head Coach Vic Fangio wanted to give the young signal-caller every opportunity to succeed, while doing what he could to accelerate the process if possible. Rich Scangarello was fired back in January to effectuate Fangio's vision, with Pat Shurmur being hired to replace him at offensive coordinator.
A new year, a new offensive system for Lock to learn. Complicating matters is the fact that due to the threat of COVID-19 and the nation-wide shutdowns, the Broncos — like all NFL teams — haven't been able to hold their Offseason Training Program. Lock has had to be left to his own devices to learn Shurmur's new playbook and capitalize on what virtual Zoom team meetings he can.
The question is, without having even stepped on the grass at UC Health Training Facility, how has Lock managed to pick things up? Coach Fangio gave fans an answer to that question in his Tuesday press conference.
"He’s just continued that upward trend throughout the offseason. I think he’s done a great job learning the new offense," Fangio said. "He’s done a great job with Pat and [QBs Coach] Mike Shula and dealing with them on a daily basis with the Zoom meetings. I know he’s leading workouts with the players locally here where some of them get together and try and run the routes and the new concepts we’re teaching. He’s ready to go. He’s chomping at the bit and all is good on that front right now.”
Lock has been back in Denver now for about three weeks after spending the better part of two months in quarantine at his parents' house in Lee's Summit, MO. Lock has been spotted in Denver-area parks throwing with his Broncos teammates, so as Fangio said, he's getting in what work he can until the NFL gives the players and coaches to return to facilities in the flesh.
Don't expect that to happen until training camp starts, though, according to Fangio.
“I don’t make that decision. The NFL does," Fangio said with regard to when players and coaches can return to facilities. "Right now, we won’t be on the field until training camp. If that changes between now and then, then we will adjust. So our meetings will continue to be virtual. We won’t be behind any more than anyone else is. It’d be different if half the teams were shut down and half weren’t. It’s even-steven, and luckily me and a bunch of the other coaches have had experience with the lockout in 2011."
Similar to the 2011 season, fans might have to go from the regular-season finale all the way to Day 1 of training camp without seeing the Broncos on the grid-iron. But that day is coming and quickly.
And from the sounds of it, Lock will be as ready as this offseason's strange occurances will allow. At least, in Fangio's opinion anyway.