Fangio says Broncos are ‘committed’ to Drew Lock but QB needs to ‘keep improving’

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The Denver Broncos are heading towards the end of their hectic and injury-plagued season. Quarterback Drew Lock’s great performance in Carolina gave fans another tantalizing glimpse of his unique talents.

Lock’s four touchdowns, the pinnacle of his career, were underpinned by significantly improved decision making against the Panthers, which could push him to make progress in his development to secure a future as a Broncos quarterback. .

Some fans claim Lock’s performance in Week 14 was a case of “too little, too late” and while this is likely to be true when it comes to the Broncos’ playoff prospects, it doesn’t take into account the unique challenges that Lock faced. in 2020. The difficulties of changing offensive coordinator in second year could explain why the Broncos offense has taken so long to gel this season.

What Lock hasn’t missed is advice from veterans NFL, who have all preached the value of staying balanced and not making rash decisions with the ball. This support group ranged from head coach Vic Fangio to OC Pat Shurmur and QB coach Mike Shula.

On Monday, Fangio gave his overview of some of the changes that Lock has made to become a more efficient and effective caller.

“He has to go through his progressions and be faster to find maybe the shorter outlets than in the past,” Fangio said. “I thought he did a good job in this area yesterday [in Carolina], and when we got something on the pitch, he did a pretty good job of hitting those guys.

Patience has been scarce in the Broncos country ranks in 2020, especially when other young guns like Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow (pre-injury) hit the headlines. What Fangio has made clear is that Lock is being trained gradually with the long game firmly in mind.

“I think everyone is still evaluated every week,” Fangio said. “Obviously we’ve made a lot of commitment to Drew here. We want to see him continue to improve, and we hope and plan that he will.

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Lock revealed on Sunday that his ongoing student / teacher relationship with general manager John Elway hammered home the virtue of not forcing the ball in tough situations, something the young QB has clearly struggled with this year.

“It’s the hardest thing to learn, at least for me,” Lock conceded. “I don’t know about other people, but it’s the hardest thing for me. Yes, he preached to me by just doing your job and not trying to force anything. Once you force it, these are the ones you want to get back. It sucks, because the ones you end up forcing are in games that you want really, really bad.

Going through growing pains in the NFL spotlight is never easy – something Elway himself can attest to as a Hall of Fame signalman. It also goes a long way to explain why Lock struggled in matches against his division rivals. The Chiefs and Raiders have done well to turn Lock’s competitive characteristics against him.

Opposing defensive coordinators have often tricked the 24-year-old into forcing bad passes, a reality Lock is waking up to now.

“You want to win so much that you end up doing things out of your character,” Lock confessed. “It’s about being calm and focused in these games. That’s when you make the right decisions, and I’ve been getting preached here a lot these past few weeks.

It is essential for an NFL QB to reach an elite level to deal with the “hero ball” instincts in the backyard. This Saturday Lock will be fitting for his 16th start, which is a full season spread over two years, so perhaps fans shouldn’t be surprised to see him finally mature and learn some tough lessons his NFL exposure to him. has learned.

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL and @MileHighHuddle.

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