Odds That Broncos’ Vic Fangio Benches Teddy Bridgewater not Good

Getty Broncos Country is unlikely to get their wish of Teddy Bridgewater being benched any time in 2021, if Denver Broncos' head coach Vic Fangio has his way.

Prior to the start of the 2021 season, NFL pundits and oddsmakers were confident that Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would be among the favored to be benched.

But if Bridgewater’s “business decision” doesn’t send him to the bench, nothing will.

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Bridgewater’s shameful apathy in trying to tackle Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerback Darius Slay en route to an 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the Broncos’ stunning November 14 home loss, drew the ire of Broncos Country and set Broncos Twitter ablaze.

The reason for the the fan base’s exasperation with Bridgewater, besides the fact that the lack of effort was essentially a game-clinching play by the Eagles, is that even a guy like Peyton Manning literally stuck his surgically-repaired neck on the line in making tackles for the Broncos.

Manning was credited with nine-career tackles in his Hall of Fame career, and even opposing players and teams gave the quarterback credit for doing what was needed to be done — albeit, good naturedly and tongue-in-cheek, but the message and respect were clear.

Broncos Country is likely bemoaning the fact that their once-aging quarterback, with the bad neck, would get his facemask dirty, but their current quarterback, who’s in his prime, refused. When John Elway was running the Broncos, he made a famous quote about wanting his team to go down “kicking and screaming.” Bridgewater going down in a whimper is unacceptable to that rabid fan base.

But despite Bridgewater’s lame excuse, and the fact that Drew Lock continues to rot on the bench — while Broncos Country clamors for the backup to start — head coach Vic Fangio refuses to give in to the demands to end the Bridgewater era.


UnLock Drew

Fangio reiterated during his November 15 media availability that benching Bridgewater has never crossed his mind. Per a tweet by Denver 9News’ Mike Klis, Fangio gave a blunt, “no,” when asked if he’s given any thought to making the switch to Lock during the Broncos’ current bye week.

That terse answer says a lot about the coach’s stubbornness in sticking with his maligned veteran, as well as the lack of faith in his backup.

Lock’s lone appearance so far in 2021 came in the second half of the Broncos’ week 4 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens after Bridgewater was knocked out for the game on the final play of the first half. Ravens’ rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh belted the veteran quarterback with a helmet-to-helmet hit that gave Bridgewater a concussion. Oweh wasn’t penalized for the hit, but was later fined by the league office.

Lock finished the game and was decent in relief — just not good enough in Fangio’s eyes, though, as Bridgewater returned to action the following week. Lock went 12-of-21 for 113 yards and an interception. Those are the only stats he’s accrued in 2021.

The former starter is currently on the Reserve/Covid-19 list, but should be ready to be activated by the time the Broncos are ready to host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 12, November 28.


Covering Himself

According to one Broncos pundit, a major reason why Fangio won’t pull Bridgewater in favor of Lock is because of the coach’s already tenuous job security.

Zack Kelberman, of Mile High Huddle, believes that Fangio is looking out for himself, and not the betterment of the Broncos, by not seeing what they have in Lock.

That’s self-preservation at its finest.


Former Broncos’ QBs Making News

It appears that Lock won’t be walking into the starting huddle any time soon, and neither will a couple of former Broncos’ quarterbacks who still think they can play.

Brock Osweiler, who famously backed up Manning for four seasons and then spurned Elway’s calls and offers to re-sign him once Manning retired in 2016, said he’s back to watching Broncos’ games after finally getting over the emotional pain of no longer playing football.

Osweiler, who went on to sign a whopping four-year, $72-million deal with the Houston Texans in the 2016 offseason, flamed out within a year, as he almost immediately clashed with then-head coach Bill O’Brien. Osweiler was soon dealt to the Cleveland Browns in the spring of 2017, as O’Brien wanted his quarterback gone so badly, that he also threw in a second-round pick. The Browns also had no use for Osweiler, as he was cut in September of that year, right before the 2017-18 season commenced. He eventually eventually returned to Denver as a reclamation project in 2017 but by then, Osweiler was a shell of himself.

But now two years into retirement, Osweiler said he’s ready to immerse himself into football again — but this time as a fan. The 30-year old said the previous two years were so difficult to accept that he refrained from even watching the sport, at any level. But he’s back into the fandom and is enjoying every down.

“I didn’t watch any pro football except for maybe the Super Bowl,” Osweiler told the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran. “It was just too hard to watch. I still wanted to be playing, but the phone stopped ringing.”

Osweiler said he’s even back to watching his former team.

“I can’t get enough football,” Osweiler added. “I watch all day Saturday, all day Sunday, the Monday night game, the Thursday night game. And for the first time, I’ve watched most of the Broncos games.”

Chad Kelly is another former Broncos signal caller whose Denver tenure also didn’t have a storybook ending. But the former Ole Miss star was in the recent news when he tweeted about the rebooting of the USFL. The tweet gave Broncos fans some thought that perhaps Kelly, nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, was planning a comeback.

Kelly hasn’t played in any of the perimeter leagues like the XFL, CFL, or AAF, as he’s instead been waiting for another opportunity in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts have been the only NFL franchise to give Kelly a real shot, post-Broncos, so a return to the league is unlikely.

He was cut by the Colts ahead of the start of the 2020 season, and hasn’t played professional football since.

Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8


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