Fangio Reveals Timetable on When Broncos Will Make Drew Lock Decision
The Denver Broncos continued their slow-roll of Drew Lock Watch on Wednesday. With fans pining to hear from Vic Fangio that the team has decided to move forward with Lock as the starting quarterback this week, all eyes were on the podium at Dove Valley.
GM John Elway somewhat stole Fangio's thunder, as he revealed on KOA radio about a half-hour prior that the Broncos plan to split the first-team practice reps this week between Lock and Brandon Allen, but maybe, just maybe, Fangio's tune would be different.
Alas for fans, it wasn't.
"We're going to up Drew's reps this week extensively in practice, see how he does with that and then make a decision prior to the game," Fangio said Wednesday.
The utility of the team waiting to announce its decision boils down to competitive subterfuge. In the minds of Fangio and Elway, why give the Los Angeles Chargers any unnecessary advantage by telegraphing who the quarterback will be on Sunday? While that's an understandable strategy, the benefit of it pales in comparison to the lift or boost an early announcement would ostensibly give to both the player (Lock) and the team.
When will the team decide on who will start?
"The earliest it'll be made would be later in the week," Fangio said, "potentially right up until the game."
A game-time decision — potentially — to announce the starting QB. What a way to unveil Lock's NFL debut.
Such an approach suggests to fans that the team isn't exactly excited about the prospect of starting its rookie second-round QB. And with the Broncos starting 3-8 on the heels of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in nearly 50 years, the fanbase could use a shot in the arm of enthusiasm and encouragement.
No doubt, Lock could too.
However, Fangio has met with Lock to get a feel for whether the kid is ready to play. The smart bet would be that Fangio gave Lock an early preview of the team's decision so that he could prepare himself accordingly. Nothing Lock said disabused Fangio of the notion to start him.
"I talked to him, asked him if he felt he was ready to take this next step, [get] more practice reps and see where it goes," Fangio said. "And he was [ready]."
Just how many more first-team reps will Lock get this week? Fangio said that the rookie will jump from the 8-10 per day he received over the past two weeks of practice to getting "three-quarters" of the reps this week.
Take a seat, Mr. Allen. And guess what, Fangio has no qualms with vaulting Lock from injured reserve all the way to the starting job without making him dress on gameday and hold a clipboard as the backup.
"I really don't know that there's a lot of value to that, to be honest with you," Fangio said.
It was interesting that when pressed on which Broncos shot-caller will make the ultimate decision on Lock, Fangio pointed to himself, while also qualifying it a little by including his boss and assistants.
"I will," Fangio said. "But I'll obviously talk with John [Elway] and the coaches."
We know Allen was atrocious in the Broncos' 20-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. He completed just 40% of his passes, attempting 25 passes while only accumulating 82 yards and finishing with a putrid QB rating of 32.4.
Allen's lack of traits and arm talent was palpable. The Broncos realized quickly the limitations the offense would have if Allen were to continue to start at QB. However, Fangio also said that he needed to see progress from Lock during these past two weeks of practice in order to feel encouraged and confident about making a QB change.
"I just feel like he's had a couple of good weeks of limited practices," Fangio said. "I think he's ready to advance in his reps and let's see where he's at further. When you're getting 8-10 [reps] with the offense, it's not a great look, but he passed those and let's see where he's at with getting more."
While Fangio would specify what will happen with Brett Rypien when Lock gets promoted to the 53, the coach did reveal whether the undrafted rookie out of Boise State would continue as the Broncos' backup.
"Probably not," Fangio said.
Fangio has used the term 'athletic arrogance' twice this year to describe opposing QBs the Broncos have faced — Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Fittingly, Fangio was asked on Wednesday whether he sees that same 'athletic arrogance' in Lock.
"We'll see," Fangio said. "That's got to happen in games."