To find out what exactly Drew Lock has been doing this offseason, one might have to wait until he publishes a book about it years later, according to Lock.
The Broncos quarterback has been radio silent since the 2020-21 season ended. He's stayed off social media and the only interview he's done in the last five months was on the first day of organized team activities, Monday. He is focusing instead on improving his game — something the Broncos desperately need to happen as an organization, as well as Lock personally. Because after 18 career starts for Lock, the Broncos decided to bring in veteran Teddy Bridgewater to compete for the starting spot.
And if Lock wants to win that competition, it didn't just start with OTAs, but in January the moment the season ended.
"Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it," Lock said. "A lot of people helped me that I’ll forever be grateful to. Early mornings, making sure that I was getting into the habit of waking up at the same time and starting my day at the same time, working on a routine. Early film before Zoom meetings, Zoom meetings, coming to lift, working in the afternoon, coming home, taking a script, taking plays that I didn’t like from last year, drawing them in the basement, coming out, throwing with the guys in the afternoon and coming back and finishing more film.
"Just Groundhog Day over and over again."
Lock said he's paid little attention to the speculation surrounding the Broncos' quarterback situation — from the possibility of drafting a QB to trading for NFL MVP Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers. He's spent the past several months studying last year's film and putting together throwing sessions with wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, among others.
That approach will certainly help him, and so will studying film with Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, which Lock did a couple of times this offseason.
"I think him being able to give me his time was worth a lot to my game," Lock said of Manning. "It was worth more than I think I’ll ever realize. I’m forever grateful to be able to do that for me and taking the time out of his day to do that. Subtle things — you just like having more eyes on film and on technique. Hearing from a guy that did it the best for a really long time was nice to be able to have in my corner.”
Lock has not only received the support of one of the greatest quarterbacks and Broncos of all time, but also his teammates. Many, if not all, who have spoken with the media this offseason have expressed their confidence in Lock and have seen the work he's put in since January.
"I talked to Drew multiple times this offseason," left tackle Garett Bolles said. "It seems like he’s in a great place mentally. I want nothing but the best for that kid. I know he has changed a couple of things on offense — just little things that he has noticed watching film. They’re all amazing things that make us play fast. Him already doing that so early in the season, the sky is the limit for that kid."
Lock also appears to have the support of his coach, Vic Fangio, who is also entering a critical third year. Fangio would benefit from Lock's improvement as much as anyone, with his contract being up after this season.
Fangio will ultimately have the final say who starts at quarterback come Sept. 12. He said Monday that decision likely won't be made until during or after training camp and preseason games — in which he'll be able to see what kind of decisions Lock and Bridgewater make in real-game situations. It certainly won't be made after one play, either, after Lock was seen throwing an interception in a short clip released by the Broncos on Thursday.
Decision-making is where Lock has struggled most in his career, throwing a league-high 15 interceptions and only 16 touchdowns last season. Still, Fangio believes the light bulb is starting to come on for Lock, who appears to have all the skills to be successful.
“I just think Drew has a better understanding of what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL," Fangio said. "His rookie season, he missed a lot of time as you guys are aware. Then, he got to play in the last five games, and we had some success during those last five games. Last season with a new offense and everything else that was going on with the pandemic, it was hard for him to take the logical next step.
"It’s great to watch yourself on video and the cut ups of normal progressive teaching. Watching yourself and not watching others. I do think he’s improved from that standpoint, but he’s still going to have to bring it to the field."
What should help Lock going into his third season with the Broncos, is having the same offensive coordinator in back-to-back seasons. The familiarity of Pat Shurmur is a benefit, as Lock hasn't had the same play caller two seasons in a row since his junior and senior seasons at Missouri, in which he made big leaps.
"Being able to learn some more, being able to dive in and being able to go back in and watch, all of the things I watch now, I wasn’t very good," Lock said. "How do I make that better? What was I doing wrong? Instead of having to start over new like I did in years before, I feel way more comfortable in this stuff that is going on."
Not having OTAs last year hurt a player like Lock, who was given the keys to the Broncos' offense. And this year, he'll have to fight to keep those keys.
When cornerback Ronald Darby signed with the Broncos this offseason, he knew the challenge he was accepting, playing in the AFC West.
But right now, he's not too worried about the competition or Bridgewater. He's focused on himself and his mindset of wanting to be a franchise quarterback.
"If I went somewhere or if I stayed here, I was going to be the guy," Lock said. "I put every single ounce in that this offseason. Being able to do that gave me zero time to listen to all of this stuff. Maybe I’ll go back one day, read and laugh about things that were being said by people who ended up being completely wrong.”