Denver Broncos: Offense Stalls Under New Offensive Coordinator
Go ahead and include me in the group of people who believes that it’s not ideal for a young quarterback to work under multiple offensive coordinators at the beginning of his career. Really, it can be detrimental. Just ask Marcus Mariota.
And yet, that’s what the Denver Broncos are doing with Drew Lock, the former second-round pick out of Mizzou who stepped in and took over the starting gig last year after he recovered from an injury.
Under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, Lock started his first game in Week 13, and led the Broncos to a 4-1 record the rest of the season with the sole loss coming inside of Arrowhead Stadium.
In those five games, Lock completed just over 64% of his passes for 1,020 yards while throwing seven touchdown passes versus just three interceptions. Take out the loss to the Chiefs, and the Broncos averaged 26 points per game in Lock’s starts, up a whopping 10 points per game when guys like Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen started.
Smartly, the Broncos are keeping Lock as the team’s starting quarterback in 2020 while surrounding him with some new weapons.
Oddly, the Broncos fired Scangarello, replacing him with, of all people, Pat Shurmur.
Yes, that Pat Shurmur, he of the career record of 18-46 as a full-time head coach after stops with the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants. As an offensive coordinator, Shurmur’s teams have ranked in the top 10 in scoring three times, but in two of those seasons, Chip Kelly was leading the offense. Not Shurmur.
Shurmur also had a rookie quarterback last season, one drafted much higher than Lock: former Duke Blue Devils Daniel Jones.
While Jones had stellar stats, he won fewer games than did Lock in seven more attempts. After the season, the Giants figured it best to hand Jones’ development to a new regime than trust it with Shurmur.
John Elway, with essentially zero oversight, has lasted longer than he should have as head of football operations for the Broncos. He’s made some confusing decisions since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. He seemed to have hit on Lock, but he’s making a very bad gamble that Shurmur’s the offensive mind than can get the young quarterback to take the next step.