Broncos coach Vic Fangio insists QB decision 'pretty damn' close

Lock, Bridgewater avoiding speculation as hit home stretch
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Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 18, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Forget numbers. Let's look at the Broncos quarterback competition by the calendar.

The Broncos acquired Teddy Bridgewater on April 28 to push Drew Lock for the starting job. It's Aug. 18. There have been 18 training camp practices, counting walk-throughs. Only 24 days remain until the season opener at the New York Giants.

Coach Vic Fangio, don't you have enough data to make a decision?

"Pretty damn close, but you know we have more information coming, OK?" he responded Wednesday.

It feels like this QB derby is talking longer than the last day of school. The media, myself included, crave an answer, even though I have the competition graded as a 7-7-2 in the viewed workouts.

The past two days, however, reinforced why Fangio is not pressing the gas pedal. Neither quarterback has played particularly well. Tuesday was a mess of drops and poor plays, and Wednesday Lock played well early before ending with a series of incompletions, and Bridgewater started slowly but finished with a long touchdown connection to Trinity Benson.

Bridgewater, who completed 6 of 9 passes, was asked if he's done enough to win the starting job. He did not bite.

"You know man, this is one of those deals," Bridgewater said smiling, "where we are competing every day to be the best team we can be as we get ready for the fall."

Bridgewater will start Saturday in Seattle. He needs to put his stamp on the position. Lock requires consistency to continue to make this a difficult choice after a terrific outing against the Vikings. And remember, context matters. The coaching staff is using games and practices to determine the winner.

Lock, who has matured and improved since last offseason, admitted the race has distracted him at times. But like Bridgewater, he quickly insulates himself from the outside noise.

"The human nature is to dive into it, think about it, almost over analyze it at times. That’s just humans being humans. To say I've never done that during this process, I would be lying to you," said Lock, who has never been in a QB position battle until now. "But it really comes down to the basics. Controlling what you can control, thinking about how you can help the team win."

Nothing seems to bother Bridgewater, who has been a starter and a backup throughout his career. Perhaps that's why he remains calmer than a lagoon.

"Like I said a couple of weeks ago, a decision will be made and we will go forward," Bridgewater said. "Whatever decision is made, it will be best for the team. Right now, all I can do is focus on being a better player, better teammate and a better father."

Fangio has not ruled out running the derby through the third preseason game Aug. 28 against the Rams, who will not play their starters. There's also the possibility Fangio could decide after Seattle, but Lock and Bridgewater would still receive snaps in the lone home exhibition game.

So all that said, Teddy is the winner, right, coach? I meant Drew. He's the choice, correct?

"Nice try," Fangio said.

Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller returned to practice following the birth of his son. He is one of several defensive starters who could play against Seattle after sitting in the opener.

Cornerback Pat Surtain II watched practice. "He's just got a little slight irritation in the lower leg," Fangio said. "I think he's OK, but we're being cautious with it."

Outside linebacker Malik Reed and safety Trey Marshall did not practice because of ankle injuries and linebacker Andre Mintze (concussion protocol) was sidelined as well.

Albert Okwuegbunam said he feels "100%" following ACL surgery, admitting he needs game reps as the final hurdle.