Jake Plummer knows a thing or two about assuming the leadership role as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos. 'The Snake' is therefore ideally placed to offer advice to the Broncos' second-year QB Drew Lock on how to cope with the pressure and expectations that will come his way.
Plummer predated Lock in Denver by 13 years as a mobile passer who was looking to carve out his legacy on the Mount Rushmore of Broncos' QB legends like John Elway. Lock is similarly tasked with creating some of his own history.
Along the way, the hope is Lock can provide some leadership and inspiration from under center that has been sorely missing since Peyton Manning departed.
Earlier this week, Plummer checked in with Phil Milani of Broncos TV to provide some valuable insights on how Lock should approach the task at hand.
“Man, just take everything in stride," Plummer told Milani. "Make sure you are preparing, doing everything you can mentally and also to be the leader on this team. Make sure you are ready to be that guy. And that doesn’t just mean you have to be perfect every day or set the example every single minute. It just means you got to do your best, put your best effort forward and make sure that your teammates know they see that.”
Finding the right blend between being a locker room guy who fits in well and being the guy who can apply result-driven leadership when needed often escapes the grasp of young QBs. Plummer was keen to stress how important it will be for Lock to throw himself headlong into the process of winning games.
As Plummer sees it, if Lock can show the determination and will to win, inevitably his teammates will follow.
“They see that it means something to you. How important is it to win right now—that’s huge for him right now—to put his heart and soul into this,” Plummer told the team site. “And through all that, there is so much more I could talk about, but it’s just continue to strive to be your best and strive to bring the best out of your teammates that are around you.”
That last remark is key and is a staple of leadership in the all-time great QBs. The greats know how to bring the best out of their teammates. Those QBs are the tide that raises all ships.
In making his name with the Broncos, Plummer always cut the look of a Western gunslinger that just rode into town. Behind his rugged appearance, there was always a determined and focused individual who ended up compiling a .722 winning percentage as a starter which places him second, just behind Manning, all-time in the Broncos' record books.
Similarly, there's a whole lot more behind Lock's easy-going demeanor. He has already shown the vital facility to absorb information quickly, coupled with a deep desire to learn more and improve.
Plummer believes that Lock’s natural fun-loving personality — if it’s mixed with focused preparation — will put him in a position to succeed with the Broncos.
“In order to do that you know you have to be yourself and he’s got that down pat," Plummer said. "The kid likes to—he’s himself. He’s not going to worry about what people think. We’ve already seen that on the sideline when he’s dancing and singing."
Lock has gone on record to state that one of the main reasons he plays the game is to have fun, so trying to stop him from doing so would be as futile as trying to sap Brett Favre's joy of the game out of him. For OC Pat Shurmur and QBs Coach Mike Shula, allowing Lock to play free would be a masterstroke and a good reminder not to over-coach natural talent.
Plummer concluded by talking about how the Broncos can reap the richest harvest from Lock if the team lets his leadership skills develop more organically.
“That’s one of the most key things, is like, be yourself, young man," Plummer said. "If you’re the guy, you’re a leader and your 100% into it just be yourself. And these guys will really, really love you and respect you and do great things for you."
Plummer's advice and outlook on Lock's future, like so many former Broncos have observed this offseason, hints at would could be a very bright future for No. 3.