The Denver Broncos faced a decision on Drew Lock following his skittish preseason debut in the Hall of Fame Game.
Immediately throw him back into the frying pan as a motivational tool, an indirect way of boasting, “We’re not fazed at all.”
Or bury him further behind journeyman Kevin Hogan as a tough-love tactic, an indirect way of declaring, “We can’t trust you, kid.”
They chose Door No. 1.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio revealed his quarterback plan for Thursday’s preseason contest at Seattle, confirming that Lock will play “a lot” after starter Joe Flacco and tentative backup Hogan exit the game.
He’s not hoping Lock, who went 7-of-11 for 34 yards last week, fast-tracks his development overnight. Fangio, unlike some within an increasingly impatient fan base, realizes the second-round pick has to crawl before he can walk, raw as he is entering the NFL.
Boiling it down, Lock’s goal against the Seahawks isn’t to throw five touchdowns or show off his rocket right arm. It’s Football 101.
“Just operate,” Fangio said Tuesday. “One thing you got to remember about him, he hardly has ever been under center in his life. He’s hardly ever had to call a play in his life—a formation and checks. Once he gets through that, I think the other stuff will come easier and quicker. He is learning a new offense, how an offense operates, and when he becomes more of quarterback in those regards and feels comfortable where it becomes second nature, the other stuff will start.”
After rationally critiquing Lock’s outing in the exhibition-opener, saying he wanted to see more but wasn’t surprised he didn’t, Fangio wisely isn’t deviating from the potential future of the franchise. Reps still need to be earned, but the brain trust knows Lock will grow from doing rather than watching.
Let him get the kinks out now, before the regular season. Before he’s asked to make an official start. Before he’s handed the keys to the car.
This isn’t a secret, nor is it difficult to comprehend.
“What is it? Reps,” Fangio tersely responded when asked again how Lock can improve.
As previously reported, Flacco will make his Broncos debut in the Emerald City after sitting out preseason Week 1. He’s scheduled to “play some,” according to Fangio, who explained that his snaps are contingent on the offensive’s collective performance.
Flacco, being a 34-year-old, 12th-season veteran, knows these otherwise meaningless affairs are crucial to the chemistry-building process. So he’s treating Thursday as such.
“You just want to go get your feet wet a little bit,” he said. “You want to feel live action again, bodies flying around you, guys getting hit and taking care of the football. Most importantly you want to go out there and you want to move the ball. And you want to gain confidence as a group that you can go out there and do it when it counts.”
QB Depth Chart vs. Seahawks
It’s Flacco, then Hogan, Lock and maybe undrafted rookie Brett Rypien late in the second half, if time allows, Fangio announced.
“Joe is going to start and play some,” he said. “We’re going to bring in Kevin and he’ll play some. Drew will get a bit of that—a good bit of the rest of it—and Brett Rypien may or may not play in the game. I think it’ll be a little, a little and a lot.”
In related news, Russell Wilson will be inactive for Seattle, meaning former first-round bust Paxton Lynch is slated for signficiant snaps, taking on the team that kicked him to the curb last September.
Get your popcorn ready.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL.