It was the right call, like a Toyota Camry or a Nissan Maxima is the right call rather than a Porsche 911 with an oil leak. The sane kind. Brain on the guts.
If the Broncos’ ultimate destination is the playoffs, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the ride that gives you the best chance of making it in one piece.
If the goal is “relevant in November and December,” where Broncos general manager George Paton set the bar a month ago, giving Bridgewater the nod to starting quarterback against Drew Lock was the right decision.
For where this team is now – not where Broncos Country wants them to be, but the reality of the roster – it’s the right decision.
For a coaching team that needs to win now – starting with the mildest September the NFL could fall in front of them – it’s the right decision.
For defensive veterans, for the Pro Bowlers in the last few years of their contracts – you look, Von Miller and Kyle Fuller – it’s the right move.
Yes, Peak Drew Lock might just let Bridgewater eat its dust. With Teddy, the NFL version of the Camry, what you see is what you get.
But while No.3 polished off some of those rough edges – the back foot throws, brain cramps, Nuke LaLoosh moments – that gave you bananas in 2020, the Lock of the Present is still a push against the Teddy of ‘today . And Broncos coach Vic Fangio clearly doesn’t have much of an interest in waiting any longer for his third-year quarterback.
Yes, Bridgewater is going to have a hard time rallying the Broncos from 10-point holes. But Lock could put you 10 out of two possessions.
If you’re still uncomfortable with Fangio’s decision, simply remove the tape from last Saturday’s game in Seattle. When the Seahawks applied pressure from the outside at the start of a 4th and 5th, with both edge rushers passing the Broncos’ starting tackles, Bridgewater felt it, set off on a safe pitching path. and finished the game.
In that same game, when Seattle heated up the midfielder on Lock and the second-half saves, the No.3 took a lap and took the sack. Different pressures, of course. Different queues. But also different reactions. And different results.
You trust Teddy’s eyes, his composure and his head. You salivate on Lock’s arm. If the Broncos could hire a mad scientist to surgically combine the two, you might have a better David Carr.
Aside from, they’re each half of the ideal answer. But you can only open the game with one.
As for the Let’s-Trade-Lock crowd, slow down a bit. On the one hand, recent history indicates that both quarterbacks will see the pitch at some point this season. On the other hand, what kind of comeback do you think you’ll get for the guy who ranked No. 32 among the NFL starters in the passers rankings (75.2) last fall?
There is defensive coordinator logic to all of this, even if you still refuse to join: start cautiously and ride with the guy who is least likely to put you aside in the first place. And hey, if the Broncos are down 17-0, try No.3 as a relief pitcher.
We already know Bridgewater can work out of the pen, as he did in New Orleans, replacing the Saints 5-0 in 2019 as Drew Brees was on the mend. With Lock, it’s a wait-and-see policy. His next professional test.
And for the Lockheads, we got it. When you see Bridgewater, you don’t see Teddy Two-Gloves. You don’t see Steady Teddy.
You see the Keenum case. You see Joe Flacco. You see another used veteran retread that made its way to the hottest seat in the state. Another anonymous, OK guy who can only do OK things in a division full of slingers.
The Chiefs have a future Hall of Famer (Patrick Mahomes). The Chargers may have just landed one of their own (Justin Herbert). The Raiders can look to a guy who made three Pro Bowls (Carr) or the No.2 pick in the 2015 Draft (Marcus Mariota).
If everyone brings their “A” game to the party, the Broncos still have the fourth-best starting quarterback in the division. But guess what? This would also have been the case with Lock in QB1 and Teddy in QB2.
Specials tend to pick it up pretty quickly. Despite all the yapping on the “back” of No.3, all the wishes, shadows and projections in the world won’t turn Lock into a young John Elway or a young Peyton Manning. It doesn’t matter how hard you try.
Maybe more time, more confidence for No.3 could be the rope Lock needs to take another turn. To go from uncertain to competent.
This is a talented and deep alignment. This defense smacks of the real deal. Pat Surtain II has the makings of a star. The Giants, Jags and Jets are waiting for you. Uncle Vic is going now. As well he should.
Ideally, you would aim higher. But if the end of the game is relevance, if the bar is skill, Bridgewater is already there.
The brave thing would have been to support Lock. Bet the quarterback who brought a katana to Viking reinforcements a fortnight ago will be this guy every week after the games count.
Fangio knew better. Basically, head on heart, the rest of us too.