If Drew Lock is George Paton’s guy, Broncos need to get him more help. Or break the bank for Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson.
If it’s me, I trade the farm for Deshaun Watson. I grab the nearest hammer and break the piggy bank for Dak Prescott. This is the AFC West, brother. You go big, or you go 5-11.
But if I’m new Broncos general manager George Paton, and I’m convinced — or coerced — that Drew Lock is my quarterback, at least for 2021, then I’m moving Heaven and two Earths to get him help. More help. Veteran guys. Reliable guys. Hands guys.
Broncos fans are battling some serious Josh Allen Envy these days, especially with Buffalo a win away from the Super Bowl. Allen took some time to figure it out, and his progression at quarterback, unlike Lock’s, has largely been linear.
But the Bills also gifted Allen some Cole Beasley, then Stefon Diggs. Veteran guys. Reliable guys. Hands guys. If Jerry Jeudy turns into one of those two, you’re more than halfway home. He’s not there yet.
I get wide receiver Courtland Sutton healthy. Then I give him a veteran bookend. Somebody who can show Jeudy and KJ Hamler the ropes, too.
“It’s tough when you’ve got a year of no offseason, multiple injuries at (various) positions, some poor decisions as well, and your star receiver (Sutton) doesn’t play,” ESPN football analyst Dan Orlovsky told me recently. “That’s challenging, right? So I feel like this (was) a really unique year. To go, ‘OK, young quarterback and (new) coordinator, you guys all (stink),’ I don’t think that’s the answer.”
If it’s me, I’m installing a Plan B in that quarterback room, an off-ramp for my offensive coaches in case No. 3 starts swerving the semi again.
“The big thing for them is trying to get Drew (tamed),” Orlovsky continued. “I like Drew’s aggressiveness, but there’s a difference between recklessness and aggressiveness. Stop being so reckless with the football. You can still be aggressive and not be reckless. And that’s the big challenge moving forward.”
If it’s me in that front office, I’d want a freer hand. I’d feel better if John Elway weren’t hovering, like The Ghost of Quarterbacks Past, over my shoulder, whispering in my ear.
Because the quality of the signal-callers in that position room in six months is going say a lot about the Broncos’ aspirations in 2021. Even if Plan B involves a lot of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton or Nick Foles as a backup, it beats the snot out of no plan at all. Or Jeff Driskel.
“I think every organization, or most organizations, if it’s your first go-round with those guys, you’ve got to be a little bit understanding,” Orlovsky continued, “and go, ‘Is it really them? Or was it the circumstances around them?’”
We know where this is headed, don’t we?
The Broncos sign Foles. All seems right with the world, until Lock gets hurt. Foles starts for five games, goes 4-1. Just when things get rocking, somebody twists Saint Nick’s knee the wrong direction. Lock comes back, pressing, and slings the rock around like it’s Vegas 2020 all over again.
Suddenly, you’re right back where you started.
Which, if you’re playing in the AFC West without a quarterback, is the basement.
“I thought Pat (Shurmur) did a good job in New York (in 2019). And I thought with what went on in Denver (in 2020), he did his fair share,” Orlovsky said. “There’s been some growth from Drew.”
If it’s me, I want to see more. A lot more. At 5-11 in 2020, heads shook. If it’s 5-11 again in 2021, those heads need to roll. More of the same, only better is a tough sell in these parts. Just ask Jeff Bridich.