Jul 29, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) during training camp at UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos OC: ‘Best version’ of Drew Lock he has seen

Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has liked what he’s seen so far from both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. But it was his praise for Lock in particular that may turn heads after a bumpy start to the quarterback’s pro career.

“I’ve seen both guys getting better,” Shurmur said Tuesday at Denver’s training camp. “This is the best version of Drew that I’ve seen. I think he’s done a really good job.”

Shurmur added that the coaching staff has helped Lock fine-tune his grasp of the offense and his decision-making as he enters his second season in Shurmur’s system.

But he reiterated that the 2019 second-round draft choice has “just improved,” stirring the pot surrounding the Broncos’ starting quarterback competition, one of the few unsettled situations in the NFL this summer.

Denver acquired Bridgewater in an offseason trade with the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick. Bridgewater, who is still only 28, is in line to make his fourth team since the Minnesota Vikings drafted him in the first round in 2014.

Shurmur said that Lock and Bridgewater do not require vastly different philosophies in order to succeed.

“No, I think the way we function offensively and I think the new age offenses, they both can go in and execute what we do,” Shurmur said. “It won’t be obvious to the untrained eye, but there will be a handful of things that Teddy does better than Drew and vice versa. Those are the things we’ll lean on because it always comes down to the plays that you run have to feature and focus on the players that you have, and by working together and practicing, we get a good feel for that.”

Shurmur overlapped with Bridgewater for two seasons with the Vikings while Bridgewater was injured with a torn ACL and dislocated knee. He praised Bridgewater for catching up to Lock’s built-in “advantage, to some degree, as far as knowing how we focus and how we function.”

Bridgewater passed for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games for the Panthers last season. He has started 49 games in his NFL career.

In 18 starts over two seasons, Lock has thrown for 3,953 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions with a 59.1 percent completion rate. He missed time in 2020 due to both a shoulder injury and COVID-19 protocols, and the Broncos only won four of his 13 starts.

–Field Level Media

May 24, 2021; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) and quarterback Brett Rypien (4) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) during organized team activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock embrace competition as Broncos hit field

Teddy Bridgewater did not hesitate when asked about the last time he was in a quarterback competition.

It was yesterday. And the day before. And on and on.

“Every day I wake up, I consider myself competing for my job,” Bridgewater said Monday. “I think that’s the mindset of everyone who plays this game.”

This time, the competition is obvious to everyone outside the team, as well. Bridgewater took part in organized team activities with his new club, the Denver Broncos, as he battles for the starting job along with incumbent Drew Lock.

Bridgewater completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 starts last season with the Carolina Panthers. Denver acquired the 28-year-old on April 28 in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick.

The veteran deflected questions about whether one season was enough time to prove himself in Carolina, instead saying he was focused on the Broncos. He said he is focused on improvement, not whether the Broncos consider him the top quarterback today or in Week 1.

“I saw Von (Miller) this morning when he came in the building,” Bridgewater said. “The first thing he said today was, ‘You’re here to play football now.’ That’s my mindset now. I’m here to play football and whatever happens, happens. I’m here to help this team become a better team.”

Lock, 24, started 13 games for the Broncos last season. He completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

The Missouri product welcomed the addition of Bridgewater to practice.

“It’s going to be fun,” Lock said. “I’m excited to be able to go out there and have this competition, push myself to a whole different level that maybe I wouldn’t have gotten to without this.”

So far, the two quarterbacks have connected off the field as they compete for a starting job on it.

“Teddy’s been great,” Lock said. “Today was obviously the first time meeting him in person being that we’ve all had to be on Zoom again up until this point. I feel like we’re going to be able to talk easily out there. It comes from seeing Drew (Brees) play. He’s seen a lot of great quarterbacks and he’s played a lot of ball. He has a lot of experience.

“I feel like we can both bounce things off of each other now where I don’t feel necessarily that I’m the young one.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to pass in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos acquire QB Teddy Bridgewater from Panthers

The Denver Broncos acquired quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Per the NFL Network, the Panthers will pay $7 million and the Broncos will pony up $3 million as part of the restructured contract to finalize the deal.

Bridgewater, 28, will vie for the Broncos’ starting job with Drew Lock. Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel are also in the quarterback room.

“Acquiring Teddy Bridgewater adds competition, experience and a strong veteran presence to our quarterback room,” Broncos general manager George Paton said in a statement. “He’s a talented player and leader who’s had success in this league in a number of different situations. Being familiar with Teddy from Minnesota, he’s going to compete and do everything he can to help us win.”

Denver has the No. 9 pick in the draft, which begins on Thursday.

The Panthers reportedly informed Bridgewater earlier this month that he can seek a trade following the team’s acquisition of quarterback Sam Darnold from the New York Jets. Carolina also has quarterbacks Will Grier, P.J. Walker and Tommy Stevens on its roster.

A former first-round pick, Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million deal with Carolina in March 2020 and started 15 games for the Panthers. He threw for 3,733 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for the Panthers, who went 4-11 in those games.

The Panthers hold the eighth overall pick in the draft Thursday.

Bridgewater has thrown for 11,385 yards with 53 touchdowns against 36 interceptions in 59 career games with the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Panthers. He has also rushed for 713 yards and nine touchdowns.

Lock, 24, is 8-10 as a starter through two seasons, completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 3,953 yards with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel (9) throws the ball before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos fine every QB for violating COVID protocols

The Denver Broncos on Wednesday announced they have fined every quarterback for violating the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Starting QB Drew Lock, backups Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel as well as practice squad player Blake Bortles were all docked an undisclosed amount after all four missed last week’s game in the aftermath of Driskel testing positive for the virus.

“It was a mistake,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday. “We paid a price for it with what happened in the game. It’s time for all of us to move on.”

Video from a position meeting revealed none of the QBs were wearing a mask before Driskel tested positive. The other three were deemed high-risk close contacts and forced to quarantine for five days. The Broncos were forced to play Kendall Hinton at quarterback in the 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hinton completed one pass for 13 yards for the entire game.

The Broncos also announced that Bortles will not practice with the team and remain at home in the role of emergency quarterback in the event Lock or Rypien test positive ahead of Sunday’s game against the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs. Lock is expected to start.

The team will also hold virtual meetings this week and for the foreseeable future and ordered that any independent film work be conducted virtually.

The team is also bringing in kicker Taylor Russolino to serve as emergency kicker in the event Brandon McManus is placed on reserve/COVID-19. Russolino hit 9 of 10 field goals for the St. Louis BattleHawks in the XFL early in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio looks on before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Team discipline for Broncos QBs ‘on the table,’ Fangio says

Additional discipline is possible for a trio of Denver Broncos quarterbacks who were held out of Sunday’s game because of COVID-19 concerns, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday.

All three quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were inactive for Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The trio tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, Fangio said, and will have to test negative again Tuesday before returning to team activities.

Fangio said the players still could face team discipline.

“We’re going to consider all that and, again, try to see what the league, if they have anything planned and if not, we’ll take our measures,” Fangio said.

That could include a fine or, less likely, a one-game suspension.

“Everything’s on the table, but right now I would say it’s more the fine mode,” Fangio said.

Each quarterback was deemed “high risk” after a meeting that included fellow quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. None of the quarterbacks wore masks during the meeting.

The Broncos were forced to turn to practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton to play quarterback against the Saints. Hinton, who played quarterback for three seasons at Wake Forest before changing positions, finished 1 of 9 for 13 yards and two interceptions.

Fangio was asked whether the team might quarantine one if its quarterbacks to avoid another situation like Sunday’s. He said the team would consider that option going forward.

“But I think if we just follow the protocols, we’ll be fine,” he added.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) scrambles with the ball against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Lock apologizes for not wearing mask

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock took to Twitter on Sunday to apologize after confirming reports that he did not wear a mask inside the team’s facility during the week.

Lock, along with fellow quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were not eligible to play in Sunday’s game in Denver against the New Orleans Saints after being labeled as high-risk close contacts.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

“In a controlled and socially distanced area, we let our masking slip for a limited amount of time,” Lock said on twitter.

“An honest mistake, but one I will own. I sincerely apologize and I fully understand why these safety precautions are so important. Doing the right thing for a majority of the time is not good enough.”

Not having Lock nor Rypien or Bortles left the Broncos with no quarterbacks against the Saints. Kendall Hinton, an undrafted rookie receiver who was previously a member of the Broncos’ practice squad, was introduced as the Broncos starting QB before Sunday’s game.

Hinton, previously a quarterback and wide receiver at Wake Forest, threw for 1,504 yards in college and completed 53 percent of his passes.

“I pray for my teammates’ healthy, safety and success today,” Lock said in his statement.

“I look forward to getting back on the field next week. Go Broncos.”

Denver asked if they could activate quality control coach Rob Calabrese to play quarterback, but the request was denied by the NFL.

— Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Broncos QBs pulled from practice amid COVID-19 concerns

Three Denver Broncos quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were pulled off the field moments before the start of Saturday’s practice because of COVID-19 concerns, according to a report from KUSA-TV in Denver.

The move came as part of contact tracing procedures after Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for the virus earlier in the week. Lock, Rypien and Bortles have been taking additional tests since Thursday and have tested negative since then, the network reported.

The Broncos (4-6) are scheduled to host the New Orleans Saints (8-2) on Sunday afternoon. No changes to the game’s status have been announced.

Lock has started eight games this season, completing 55.6 percent of his passes for 1,767 yards with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Driskel and Rypien made one start each.

Bortles is on the Broncos’ practice squad. He has thrown for 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions in six NFL seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws the ball under pressure from Las Vegas Raiders strong safety Johnathan Abram (24) in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 37-12.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Lock (ribs) could miss Week 11

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is dealing with sore ribs and might miss the team’s Week 11 game, coach Vic Fangio said Monday.

Fangio said Lock is questionable to practice Wednesday. The Broncos (3-6) host the Miami Dolphins (6-3) on Sunday.

“There’s a chance of that, with his injury the way it is,” Fangio told reporters. “It’s an injury that is day-to-day where a lot of improvements can be made, and we’ll see how he does with it.”

Lock played the entire game Sunday in the Broncos’ 37-12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Lock threw four interceptions though it’s not clear when he hurt his ribs.

Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel back up Lock on the depth chart. Each has a start this season when Lock missed time with a shoulder injury.

Lock now has 10 interceptions on the season to go with seven touchdowns and a meager 55 percent completion rate. Fangio talked postgame about the team’s commitment to Lock despite the struggles.

“We’re committed to Drew — the more he can play, the better he’ll be,” Fangio said after the loss Sunday. “… He’s got to fight through this … and we’re going to continue to play him.”

The Broncos took Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Lock practices, could start Sunday

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock returned to practice Wednesday after missing two games with a rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder.

Head coach Vic Fangio said he hasn’t decided who will start Sunday when the Broncos (1-3) travel to face the New England Patriots (2-2).

Lock, 23, was injured when he was sacked in the first half of Denver’s Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The second-year signal-caller has completed 23 of 38 passes for 236 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in two games this season.

Backup Jeff Driskel, 27, replaced Lock against the Steelers and was sacked six times but threw for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Driskel started the Week 3 game against Tampa Bay and completed 17 of 30 passes for 176 yards, one TD and one pick. Brett Rypien, 24, took over in the fourth quarter in the 28-10 loss to the Buccaneers and was 8 of 9 for 53 yards with one interception.

Rypien got the start last Thursday night against the New York Jets and passed for 242 yards, two TDs and three interceptions in Denver’s 37-28 victory.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) causing a fumble during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Lock would leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos QB Lock (shoulder) won’t be put on IR

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock will remain on the active roster, allowing for the possibility that the starter could return in less than three weeks.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday the team “considered putting him on IR.”

This season, players on injured reserve must miss at least three games.

Lock was diagnosed with a rotator cuff strain after he was sacked during the first half of Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh last week. The initial prognosis was that Lock would miss at least two games.

“There’s a chance he might not have to miss three games,” Fangio said. “At the same point, there’s a chance he might have to miss four or five. So rather than eliminate the possibility of him coming back if he’s healthy enough, we’ve kept him on the active roster, at this point.”

The Broncos reportedly are poised to sign Blake Bortles as backup to Jeff Driskel in Lock’s absence, once the former No. 3 overall draft pick in 2014 clears testing protocols for COVID-19.

Driskel, 27, replaced Lock against the Steelers and was sacked six times but completed 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The Broncos host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 before visiting the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

Bortles, 28, spent five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before backing up Jared Goff for the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. He appeared briefly in three games, attempting just two passes.

–Field Level Media