The Most Encouraging Aspect of Drew Lock's Debut was Something he Said Post-Game
Arguably, the most exciting aspect of Drew Lock's debut is the realization that the best is yet to come. The Denver Broncos' 23-20 victory over the L.A. Chargers in Week 13 was Lock's first career start but the promise he showed in his debut has fans buzzing.
Lock might not be the most refined NFL quarterback quite yet, but anyone who pays attention to football is likely to say that he passed the eye test. As head coach Vic Fangio said following Sunday's victory, we can't put Lock in Canton quite yet, but if anything, the rookie proved he belongs in the league.
As well as Lock played vs. the Chargers, what encouraged me most was something he said from the podium after the game.
"I think it’s going to be an awesome transition for me to get even more comfortable with the guys around me," Lock said on Sunday post-game. "It was a little different splitting reps with Brandon [Allen] this week. Now, I feel like I’m the voice, I’m the one guy where I can go in and really start to be myself 24/7 with these guys. They may have thought they saw a little bit of me tonight, they’re going to see a lot of me in the next week.”
Lock might be a rookie but he's smart enough to discern that as a quarterback on injured reserve, he was best seen not heard. Even these past three weeks as Lock began to finally practice again even while still on IR, he kept his head down biding his time and now that the opportunity to start finally has come his way and he broke the NFL ice, he's ready to settle in and stake his claim as a young leader on the team.
No more trying to curb his personality or hide his true self. Lock has the charisma of a bonafide QB1, and even his teammates picked up on it when he first arrived at Dove Valley back in the spring.
Teams take on the persona and temperament of either the starting quarterback or the head coach. Fangio isn't the most outspoken, passionate guy and Joe Flacco, sometimes teammates probably felt like they needed to check his pulse to ensure that his heart was still beating. That muted personality came out in the wash as the team got out to a 2-6 start.
Fans could see the enthusiasm and passion Lock displayed in just his first NFL game and the difference was marked. Now compound that swagger over time as the unquestioned and understood starting quarterback of the Broncos. The influence trickles downhill to each and every player on the roster, regardless of the fact that Lock is still a rookie. He's the quarterback.
“One-hundred percent. Everyone knows that the quarterback is the leader of the offense," Courtland Sutton said on Sunday following the game. "Drew went out there and put it together. What he did, it was awesome. Everybody follows behind what the quarterback does, so Drew having that swag, it ultimately rubs off on everyone in the offense. It ultimately rubs off on the team."
Frankly, it was a relief for players to see Lock play with the 'swag' and enthusiasm that he did. For some, maybe they didn't even realize how bland and banal things had become around Broncos HQ.
"Like I said, it's really good to be able to see him go out there and play with that confidence and swag," Sutton said. "I'm excited just to see what he does the rest of this season and then moving forward the rest of his career.”
After waiting what felt like years, even though it was really just six months from the time he was drafted, Lock isn't about to relinquish the starting job without a fight. He knows that he was drafted with the hope of being this team's franchise quarterback. And he's ready to prove that GM John Elway was right to recognize those franchise traits in him and give him the opportunity.
“That’s the number one goal," Lock said. "Hopefully, [Coach Fangio] doesn’t have to talk about the starting quarterback for a long time here."