The Broncos are going nowhere with Joe Flacco under center. As soon as Drew Lock is healthy enough to take the field, he should start for Denver.
John Elway and the Broncos’ front office hoped that trading for Joe Flacco would result in a playoff berth this season. Given the team’s 2-5 start it’s clear that Denver is going nowhere. That means the entire franchise needs to turn the page at quarterback.
The only silver lining under center for the team is that the franchise did see fit to spend a second round pick on a quarterback in April. Drew Lock wasn’t regarded as a perfect prospect, but his prodigious arm strength earned him interest from quite a few teams. Unfortunately, a thumb injury landed the former Missouri star on the Injured List to start his professional career.
To date, that’s prevented a legitimate quarterback controversy from brewing in Denver. That reality is about to change though. Lock is set to return to practice next week. Head coach Vic Fangio has already committed to giving Flacco the start against the Colts in Week 8, but the position is up for grabs starting in Week 9.
The Broncos shouldn’t hesitate to get Lock into the starting lineup as soon as his body is ready to return to live action. There’s no upside in sticking with Flacco. It’s very obvious what he can and cannot do at this stage in his career. Denver hoped he would be a bridge to Lock this season, but he’s failed to keep the team competitive. All Flacco has really managed to accomplish is to make the Ravens’ decision to let him go look like a very prudent move from the Baltimore perspective.
Lock, in sharp contrast still has a ton of upside to realize. He may struggle mightily down the stretch as he tries to adjust to the challenge of playing against NFL defenses, but the Broncos don’t have anything further to play with in terms of wins and losses. It’s tie for Fangio and the rest of the organization to turn their attention to 2020 and beyond.
The most important thing they need to do moving forward is to determine whether or not Lock is their franchise quarterback of the future. In an ideal world he will show star potential down the stretch. He absolutely has the big arm required to be a starting quarterback. The questions about his game revolve largely around his footwork and mental aptitude for the game.
Even if Lock falls flat on his face it will still give the Broncos valuable information heading into the offseason. It’s always possible that Denver could use another high draft pick on a quarterback in April’s draft. They could also look to find a more experience option via free agency. Quite a few possible starters are projected to hit the open market.
No matter what the outcome, the Broncos need to give Lock every opportunity to win or lose the job during the second half of the season. It’s the only meaningful thing the team has left to accomplish this season.
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