Broncos QBs Return Football

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, center, jokes with backup quarterbacks Jeff Driskel, left, and Brett Rypien during practice Aug. 31 in Englewood.

Kids who liked Elf on the Shelf aren’t asking for a No. 3 Broncos jersey this Christmas because of Lock on the Clock.

After a week off for bad behavior, Broncos quarterback Drew Lock had five games in December to demonstrate that he should be the main-man quarterback for 2021. He has lost the first to the Chiefs, and must play in Charlotte, N.C., against the Panthers and later in Los Angeles against the Chargers, with home games against the Bills and the Raiders.

The Broncos claim Lock is progressing, but he’s actually digressing. Assume that Drew returns as the starter next season. Who you got when the Broncos confront Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr twice each, in addition to Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones, probably Deshaun Watson and whoever the Patriots, the Eagles and the Washington Football Team play at quarterback?

Among quarterbacks who have started nine games or more this season, Lock ranks last in passer rating (67.1), completion percentage (55.4), yardage (1,918) and touchdowns 9), and is second-to-last in interceptions (13).

He is 3-6 as a starter.

In terms of NFL accomplishments, Drew Lock is not in a league with another quarterback with the initials D.L. and two one-syllable names.

Michigan State quarterback Dean Look, who was chosen by the Broncos in the AFL’s first draft, appeared in three Super Bowls, not with the Broncos or another team, but as a side and a line judge. Look also played one game with the New York Titans and three with the Chicago White Sox.

In 61 years the Broncos have drafted 47 quarterbacks. Only 16 became starters, even if for one game (four).

With 14 games as a starter (7-7), Lock has become just the seventh quarterback drafted by the Broncos to start at least double-digit games. The others are Brian Griese (51), Jay Cutler (37), Trevor Siemian (24), Tim Tebow (14), Mickey Slaughter (12) and Brock Osweiler (11).

Awful, huh?

Griese, John Elway’s successor, won the most games (27), followed by Cutler (17) and Siemian (13).

Thank God and goodness for acquisitions Elway, Peyton Manning, Craig Morton and Jake Plummer. Tebow was the only drafted quarterback to start a playoff game. First-round draft choices Tommy Maddox and Paxton Lynch are the leading forgettables.

Is Drew Lock a Lock or a Crock? He has become a messy quarterback, and the last month of the season will determine for the Broncos brass if he is a nominee to return, or if they must draft a 48th quarterback. They won’t get Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, but North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones will be available when the Broncos draft in the top 12, or trade down later in the first round. Or do the Broncos supplement with another veteran pickup in the mold of Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford or the ever-present Blake Bortles?

Heaven, please forbid any of those possibilities.

From 2017-2020 the Broncos have scored below 20 points in a game 33 times.

Those are the most revolting, repulsive ignominies in franchise history since the Broncos’ beginnings. Perhaps the Broncos should wear vertically-striped socks again.

Nothing would be finer than for the Broncos to win in Carolina.

But they won’t unless Pat Shurmur calls early for, and Lock throws, bubble screens, quick outs, short slants, hitches and flat routes. The long, drawn-out passes are picks waiting to happen, and Lock flings from the wrong foot and as if he’s on the run out of an old London phone booth.

The definition of the drag route on the Broncos is that Lock will drag down himself, the offense and John Elway if the Broncos finish 0-4 or even 1-3 and become the Josh McDaniels or Vance Joseph Broncos of 4-12 and 5-11 once more.

“I need to take better care of the football,’’ Drew said earlier in the week.

Really?

“I need to hit a check down for 2-4 (yards) instead of firing the ball down field" for what he called a “risky’’ play.

Yes.

Buzz Lightyear has crossed to the dark side with seven interceptions in the past three games.

Tick-tock Lock.

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