Drew Lock needs to stay ready, because he likely will play at some point

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For mediocre teams with quarterback competitions, the reality is that the winner also wins the right to be the first guy benched. That’s the most important thing that Broncos backup (for now) quarterback Drew Lock can keep in mind, in the aftermath of learning that he wouldn’t be the starter to start the season.

On PFT Live (clip attached), we discussed the decision to go with Teddy Bridgewater, and we eventually played the audio and video of Lock meeting with reporters on Wednesday, after he learned the news. He didn’t seem like a guy who understands that he most likely is destined to play at some point this year.

“I was playing some of the best football I’ve played since I’ve been in the league,” Lock said. “I was more confident than I’d ever been. Most of you guys think of me as a confident guy, but I was probably more confident than I’ve been since I’ve been in the league in this OTAs, this training camp, this preseason. This is such a special team. I was hoping and looking forward to being able to lead this team. But no finger pointing, no negativity. It’s going to be about me finding ways to still make this team great, whether that’s in practice, working with Teddy, trying to find ways for him to get better. Whatever he needs me to do, that’s pretty much my goal. Look in the mirror, see what I need to get better at, figure out what it is to keep progressing, keep getting better. Not taking any steps back, just keep taking steps forward without taking some of the reps. It was disappointing, but I’m going to do everything I can for this team, for Teddy and keep the momentum going forward as far as my play goes.”

Lock seemed rattled, justifiably. Lock seemed upset, justifiably. As we understand it, he was given the option to not speak on Wednesday, but he decided to do so.

In his opening remarks, he didn’t make the point that he needs to keep himself ready to play at any given moment because, whatever the specific reason, chances are he eventually will. He eventually was asked about the importance of staying ready.

“You’ve always got to be ready,” Lock said. “That’s got to be your mindset. That’s the mindset that I’m going to have, whether that’s film study, knowing the game plan front and back like I was trotting out there for the first play. Especially in my experience — I mean, my shoulder and my hand, those were just freak accidents that happened and someone had to come in for me. Like I said, I don’t wish any negative upon anyone, but I will be preparing as if you are the starter. That’s kind of not necessarily the first time I’ve had to do that, but it will be a different experience. I’m up for the challenge and see where it takes me.”

That’s the right attitude, especially because it was so close. If Teddy struggles at all, the Broncos may start wondering whether Lock should get a chance.

Presumably, the Broncos went with Bridgewater because he has a higher floor. Lock has a higher ceiling. At some point, the Broncos may decide that they are willing to take their chances with Lock’s lower floor. That’s what he should be thinking.

Of course, Lock was speaking to reporters at a time when he was still processing the news. He also was likely sensitive to the importance of supporting Bridgewater.

All in all, Lock handled himself very well. Local reaction has been positive. Lock needs to support Teddy. But Lock also needs to realize that he’s far more likely to play at some point this year in a meaningful spot than to stand on the sidelines and watch. When that opportunity arrives, he needs to be poised to seize it.

Drew Lock needs to stay ready, because he likely will play at some point originally appeared on Pro Football Talk