ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At 3-7 with six games to play, Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday it is "not vitally important" for rookie quarterback Drew Lock to play in any games this season as part of Lock's developmental curve. Fangio also said he likes what Brandon Allen has done behind center so far.
Lock did not practice for 12 weeks after suffering a right thumb injury in an Aug. 19 preseason game and is in the second week of a three-week window when the Broncos must decide to either keep him on injured reserve or move him to the roster. In that light, Fangio was asked before Wednesday's practice how important it was for Lock, a second-round pick in April, to play in a game this season.
"I don't think it's vitally important," Fangio said. "... I think with a young guy, with limited reps, it can be good, [but] you can get a false positive, you can get a false negative. You need a whole body of work, and that body of work includes offseason, training camp, [the] build up. I'm not putting any limits on him if he does get in there, but I would be reluctant to make final conclusions."
Asked if he was on the same page as the Broncos' front office, which includes president of football operations/general manager John Elway, Fangio quickly said: "Yes."
Allen has started the past two games for the Broncos since Joe Flacco went to injured reserve because of a herniated disc in his neck. In those two games, the Broncos defeated Cleveland 24-19, and had a 20-0 lead in Minnesota last Sunday before losing 27-23.
Fangio and many of Allen's teammates praised the 27-year-old's work at Minnesota, a tough road environment with the crowd noise and a Vikings' defense that is currently fifth best in points allowed.
In his two games, Allen has completed 29 of 59 passing (49.2%) for 433 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The Broncos have scored at least 23 points in only three games this season, but two of those were the games Allen started. Allen is in his fourth NFL season, including a year on the Los Angeles Rams' practice squad, and had not taken an NFL regular-season snap until he started against the Browns two weeks ago.
"I think he's a gamer," Fangio said. "Like I told you guys before he played his first game, I didn't know exactly how he would do, but [he] wouldn't [struggle] because he was overwhelmed by the situation. He's verified that. He likes playing football, he enjoys being out there in the fray, he's got good quarterback instincts. I like him. He's taken advantage of his opportunity."
There has been plenty of public swirl about the potential of Lock playing in the Broncos' offense before season's end. But Fangio and Elway have each pointed to Lock's lack of practice impacting his readiness to play in a game. Wednesday was just the fifth time Lock had taken part in a full team practice since mid-August.
Fangio also said Wednesday "it might work out" that Lock is potentially the backup quarterback in a game or two before he would potentially play in a game. He also said no decision has been made yet on whether Lock will formally be moved to the roster after next week.
Currently, Lock is splitting the scout-team snaps with backup quarterback Brett Rypien, also a rookie. Lock is getting between 8-to-10 snaps in each practice with the Broncos' offense.