Rookie quarterbacks need reps with the first team to accelerate their development. The Broncos are going to rob Drew Lock of that opportunity.
If the Broncos are committed to the idea of Drew Lock being their quarterback of the future it’s time for the franchise to start acting like it. Giving Joe Flacco all the reps with the first team during the team’s upcoming OTAs is a foolish disservice to the rookie signal caller.
Instead of giving Lock a taste of what life is like as a starter, head coach Vic Fangio insists that Joe Flacco will get each and every rep with the first team offense. That will relegate Lock to battle with the likes of Brett Rypien and Kevin Hogan for snaps with the second team.
If you ask Broncos officials, the idea behind giving all that work to Flacco is to help him build chemistry with his new teammates. The team’s real motivation goes much deeper than that. Fangio and his coaching staff are trying to make sure no quarterback controversy develops in the preseason.
Flacco proved his inability to deal with that kind of drama last year in Baltimore. He reacted very poorly to the Ravens’ decision to draft Lamar Jackson in the first round. Instead of trying to help the rookie succeed, he saw him strictly as competition. The two players never got along and the Ravens offense suffered as a result.
The Broncos’ desire to avoid a repeat of that scenario this season is understandable. The miscalculation comes with their opinion of how valuable Flacco’s happiness really is. John Elway and company seem to believe Flacco can perform like an above-average starter in 2019. The chances of that happening for the 34-year-old are pretty slim.
That’s why Denver should be working hard to get Lock up and running as soon as possible. He’s not going to be ready to lead the Broncos offense when Week 1 arrives, but the franchise’s goal should be to get him ready to play regular-season snaps if Denver falls out of playoff contention or Flacco goes down with an injury.
They’re not going to get the former Missouri starter ready as soon as possible by keeping him on the sideline to protect Flacco’s feelings. The NFL is a business. Lock happens to be the future of the Broncos’ offense. He should be the team’s priority this preseason. Unfortunately for Denver fans, that isn’t the case.