While many Missouri football fans have fond memories of Drew Lock with the Tigers, it’s important to recognize his struggles.
The quarterback battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater was one of the most highly anticipated position battles, not just for the Denver Broncos and their fans, but for everyone across the NFL.
Outside of the NFL, one fanbase that is heavily invested in the Lock’s development happens to be the Missouri Tigers. Given that Lock was a star for the Missouri football team, it’s not a surprise that many in Missouri want to see him succeed just as they did throughout his collegiate career.
It’s common knowledge that many Mizzou fans are also Kansas City Chiefs fans because of the close proximity between the two teams. So, for a lot of those Tigers/Chiefs fans, it was hard to see Lock get drafted to an AFC West rival in the Denver Broncos.
Still, even with some conflicting loyalties, in the end most Missouri football fans want to see Lock succeed at a high level.
Unfortunately for Lock and for those Mizzou fans, the Denver Broncos made the decision to go with Bridgewater over the former Tigers’ quarterback.
Of course, many Missouri football fans didn’t take too kindly to the news that their guy didn’t win the job. Admittedly, I was surprised by the choice as Lock seemed to be improving this preseason, but there’s really no shame in the Bridgewater pick either. Throughout his career, Bridgewater has been a somewhat stable quarterback in the NFL who provides a “game manager” type of play that should keep Denver afloat.
Lock may have more upside, but he can be erratic as we saw last season when he threw 15 interceptions against a total of 16 touchdowns.
Some Mizzou fans have now gone to blaming Broncos head coach Vic Fangio for Lock’s failure to win the staring job along with his shortcomings as an NFL quarterback in general.
From the outside looking in, it appears as if Fangio isn’t high on Lock. There seems to be a general lack of faith in Lock’s abilities and the pairing of Lock and Fangio has been awkward at times. However, Mizzou fans can’t just blame the coach every time in defense of Lock. That shouldn’t be a go-to excuse for Tiger fans.
Missouri football fans may have to come to grips with Drew Lock
Now, I’m as big a fan of Lock and Missouri as just about anyone, so it hurts me to say this, but at some point, Mizzou fans may have to come to terms with Lock’s career outlook.
Circling back one more time to Fangio, I understand he may not be a great coach for Lock. Given some of his gunslinger tendencies, Lock came in to the league needing a lot of polishing. This is one huge reason why nobody should be surprised by the relatively rocky start to his NFL quarterback career. Lock was known to struggle against better competition in college and lacked the ability to strong-arm his team to victory consistently.
That polishing would need to come from an offensive-minded head coach. That’s not who Fangio is. But, even though Fangio is not a good offensive coach, he is pretty good defensively and has led one of the only defenses that I’ve seen legitimately give Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense some trouble.
The problem for Denver is that even though they have a great defense that was able to contain a high-powered Chiefs offense, their offense was so stagnant that it didn’t matter in either game. So, again, I understand the rationale behind Fangio wanting to go with Bridgewater who may offer more stability on offense.
We also need to acknowledge that a lot of the offense was left up to new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, not Fangio. If you want to argue Shurmur isn’t a great coach for Lock either, that’s fine, but it only further contributes to the line of thought that Missouri football fans love to blame the coach in defense of Lock.
You can make a strong case that Lock has been handed an awful situation, where in addition to having a bad connection with the coach, he’s endured injury, injury to his teammates, and a lackluster offensive personnel to work with.
What I say to Missouri football fans is this: if Lock is anywhere close to what you think he can be, why can’t he at least show something that tells us he’s a starter in this league despite that?
Yes, the offensive line in Denver is up and down, Lock hasn’t gotten a lot of time with No. 1 wide receiver Courtland Sutton, and things have been tough, but it’s not like Denver didn’t still give Lock some talented players to work with. Take a look at the fact that Denver went out and got former Alabama star Jerry Jeudy, tight end Noah Fant, a running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon, and so on.
Heck, Denver even went out of its way to bring in familiar faces like tight end Albert O. and running back Damarea Crockett who were teammates of Lock at Missouri.
Players like Deshaun Watson, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovaloia didn’t exactly walk into perfect situations either, but I think we can all say we feel better about them and their ability to succeed than we do Lock and his struggles.
I just have a hard time believing we should have to give Lock a pass because of a sub-par supporting cast. A truly good quarterback should still be able to make something of what he has and I don’t think we’ve seen that from Lock.
The potential of being a top-15 quarterback isn’t there right now.
If you just turn on the film, it doesn’t look good for Lock. One statistic that stands out is that Lock has more career turnovers than starts in just 18 games. Once again, Fangio is not a great coach, but I highly doubt he is on the sideline telling Lock to throw right at linebackers for an interception. Lock’s play is littered with bad reads and bad decisions and that has to be fixed by Lock himself. Not anyone else.
I’m not saying Lock can’t still get better and he will still get a chance to prove himself at some point, but Missouri football fans and Lock fans need to come to reality for a second and understand that there is a reason Lock is where he is now instead of just blaming the coach.
Maybe Lock will play out his time in Denver before being picked up by Andy Reid and the Chiefs to go through quarterback boot camp and back up Mahomes for a minute before resurrecting his career elsewhere.