Compliments from Vic Fangio are as rare as mid-summer snow, yet Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock found himself in his head coach’s cross-hairs.
“He threw it pretty damn good,” Fangio said of Lock following Denver’s 22-14 preseason loss to Seattle on Thursday. “He seemed to be a little more in control of the operation. Then as the game got out of hand, we were poor on defense in the second half. We had a couple of three and outs there and it goes from 6 to 3 and then they had the safety. So it got out of hand quick there, the three phases didn’t play good enough and then it turns into an obvious pass situation.”
The third Broncos QB to enter the game, following Joe Flacco and Kevin Hogan, Lock appeared noticeably more comfortable than in his shaky exhibition debut. The former Missouri gunslinger completed 17 of 28 passes (60.7 percent) for 180 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
On display, unlike last week, were the attributes that made Lock a second-round pick: His rocket right arm and the “it” factor in crunch time.
Down 16, Lock nearly mounted a fourth-quarter comeback, drilling his first career TD pass to running back Devontae Jackson and subsequent two-point conversion to wide receiver Juwann Winfree, which trimmed the Broncos’ deficit to one possession.
However, the Broncos’ rally was cut short on a late Lock pick which came as he was under intense pressure — the story of the night.
“I thought he was okay, obviously he can be better,” Fangio added, true to character. “I thought he has made progress this week and in practice and in the game. I think it showed at times out there. It is still a process for him. I don’t know how long it is going to take. But I think that this past week and game were great for him. He needs to learn from everything and not consider plays failures, they are learning experience, not failures.”
For His Part …
Lock didn’t light up the scoreboard, and still has a long way to go in his development, but he acknowledged the evident progression from Week 1 to Thursday night.
“Yeah, it felt extremely different,” he said after the game. “Just dipped my toe in the water that first game. Being able to come out here and kind of get a rhythm, it looked different on my half watching the film. I feel like I can almost watch it like a full game. Maybe a couple drives were choppy, it felt a lot, a lot different compared.”
His footwork cleaner and passes mostly accurate, Lock gained irreplaceable fourth-quarter and no-huddle experience to go along with his inaugural touchdown toss. Major growth in a seven-day span, a glimpse into the future of the orange and blue.
“I think I said it last week, focusing on the little things to just go out there and be comfortable with everything,” he said. “I wanted to feel different on the field than I did the week before. I just went and blocked out the last game. I think I went about it a little differently, me and coach [Rich] Scangarello. It felt really good, hopefully we can build on it.”
A Fan in Flacco
Infamously uninterested in mentoring his understudy, Flacco seems to be warming to Lock, who impressed the Super Bowl XLVII MVP with his poise in the pocket, despite receiving little help from a swinging-gate offensive line.
“He’s doing well. He’s standing in there strong, he’s getting guys where they need to be,” Flacco said. “The second half of these games are crazy. It’s 22 guys on the football field fighting for, really their life. It shows when you watch those second halves. He’s doing a great job standing in there, getting his eyes where they need to go, and really going the right way with the ball.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL