Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made a compelling, and possibly decisive, argument to be the Denver Broncos‘ Week 1 starter at QB with a near-flawless performance in the Broncos’ blowout preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday [August 21]. But his battle with Drew Lock isn’t over — and might not be for another week — unless coach Vic Fangio woke up Sunday with a change of heart.
Teddy Bridgewater laid down a marker for the Broncos’ QB role on Saturday
Bridgewater completed all but 2 of his 11 passes, averaged a gaudy 9.5 yards per attempt, and led the Broncos on back-to-back touchdown drives in his only two possessions. Still, Fangio said the evaluation process needs to play out before making a decision.
“It won’t be [Sunday],” Fangio said of deciding on Denver’s QB1. “The earliest it would be would be early next week, or we’ll let it go another week. Because these guys, both of them, Drew and Teddy, have done well, as you guys have seen, and they’ve made it a hard decision. So we’ll give it thorough thought. We’ve been discussing it, with the coaches, with George [Paton] all along and we’ll continue to do that.”
That’s the fair — and probably smart — thing to say. While Bridgewater was better Saturday than Lock (9 of 14 for 80 yards in five series), the full preseason stat lines are comparable.
Bridgewater has completed a ridiculous 84.2% of his passes, averaged 9.4 yards per attempt, and has led a Denver offense that has scored 24 points in his 40 snaps.
“Teddy played well, obviously,” Fangio said. “You guys saw it. Some of his good plays were hard quarterback plays, where he had to manipulate the pocket, step up, step laterally, wait for something to come open late. I thought he did really well. He was helped by the fourth-down conversions, but one of those fourth downs was because we dropped a pass on third down that would have been an easy conversion. So I thought he played very well.”
Drew Lock demonstrated resilience after a tough introduction
Lock hasn’t been quite as accurate (completing a still-respectable 66.7% of his attempts), but more dynamic. His average YPA (yards per attempt) this preseason is 17% higher than Bridgewater’s. The Broncos have scored 23 points in his 49 snaps.
And he responded well Saturday after a disastrous first series that saw him sacked in back-to-back plays.
“There’s always the human nature of comparison, but you have to just take it play by play,” Lock said Saturday. “And obviously the first play was upsetting, and then that next drive we had to get things going. I was glad that I got a two-minute deal in a game rather than just at practice and to go down there and get points like we did. Teddy did a good job and it was just about me going out there and making the best out of each play that I got.”
Added Fangio: “I think Drew, we had some protection breakdowns when he got in there. I want to see all his plays with a remote in my hand and take a good look at it rather than what I saw on the field at the time.”
Bridgewater is the likely favorite to be Broncos’ starting QB job in Week 1
Fangio acknowledged that the Broncos might have enough information to make a call at quarterback — and they should, considering they have hundreds of hours of practice tape that probably carries more weight than a few dozen preseason snaps.
The smart money is on Bridgewater, who is still just 28 years old. He’s now five years removed from the awful knee injury that kept him out of action for nearly two full seasons and looks as good as ever.
But even if Bridgewater begins the year as the starter, he’ll need to play well to keep the job.
“Both of these guys have done well,” Fangio said. “We can play and win with either of these guys, and that’s a good thing.”