ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Drew Lock played 50 games as the University of Missouri’s quarterback, he threw for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns and was generally one of the biggest men on any campus.
In fact, at least to begin his professional career, as Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway put it, “Drew will come in and compete for the backup job."
“It’s an adjustment," Lock said. “But one I’m ready for … you talk about getting put into an awesome situation, I got put into a really awesome situation."
But, there will still be plenty of discussion about how long before Lock should or shouldn't see meaningful game action.
The Broncos have seen recently the benefits of a slower rollout for a rookie quarterback when the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes got the first playing time of his first NFL season in the 2017 regular-season finale against the Broncos, a glimpse both of what was to come and what the Broncos didn't have for themselves.
The Broncos have seen their most recent attempts to groom a young starter -- seventh-round pick in Trevor Siemian and a first-round pick in Paxton Lynch -- not go the way they wanted, especially for Lynch, who seemed to buckle in a struggling offense each time the Broncos tried to let him play his way into the role of starter. So, at least 72 hours or so into Lock’s tenure with the team, they seem committed to the idea of patience this time around.
While losses, interceptions and offensive struggles test patience, Elway said this weekend, he’s ready to give it a try with Lock. And that might even test Lock’s patience.
“Drew obviously has a lot of talent, he’s got a lot of arm talent, but he’s got to work on a lot of different things too," Elway said. “I think when you look at what he did in college offensively, he’s in the spread offense and wasn’t under the center very often. With what we’re going to do offensively, he’s going to have a lot of work to do. I think technique is always a big thing. We talk about accuracy and accuracy a lot of times comes down to technique and throwing on rhythm. We believe he has a ton of talent, but we also believe he has a lot left to work on."
The Broncos starter at quarterback -- Joe Flacco -- saw his 11-year tenure in Baltimore end when he was injured last season and a rookie who had been selected in the first round of the draft in Lamar Jackson replaced Flacco behind center.
Flacco got healthy, but Jackson kept the job and the Broncos acquired Flacco in a trade for a fourth-round pick. At last week’s minicamp Flacco made it clear he believes he is the Broncos' unquestioned starter and that he hoped to show the Broncos they didn’t need to take a quarterback in the draft.
How Flacco and Lock interact in the weeks and months to come will likely determine how well it works for either of them, as well as the Broncos.
“Because I got to start that long [at Missouri], I got to see what a great backup looks like," Lock said.
“... I think I’ll kind of get to realize that, is getting in the film room with [Flacco], getting around him really talking the game of football. Because you don’t win a Super Bowl by not knowing football, that just doesn’t happen, he knows what he’s doing, he’s a great quarterback ... To be able to learn from a guy like that, work on the things I need to work on, who wouldn't like that?"