At least in one sense it’s been an ideal offseason for Drew Lock.
Broncos GM John Elway declared the second-year passer his established starter. Then, he went out and added old hands and fast feet in the kind of offensive makeover quarterbacks ordinarily can only dream about.
“I’m super pumped about the guys we’ve added,” Lock said Tuesday in a Zoom call from his parents’ home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where he’s been staying and training during the coronavirus pandemic.
Elway’s two biggest free agent acquisitions were running back Melvin Gordon and guard Graham Glasgow.
The Broncos selected a trio of receivers in the NFL draft for the first time in two decades, including burners Jerry Jeudy in the first round and KJ Hamler in the second. That marked the first time in franchise history they used their first to selections on wide receivers.
Elway also drafted O-linemen Lloyd Cushenberry and Netane Muti and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, Lock’s favorite target at the University of Missouri.
All this firepower raises expectations for the Broncos to end a four-year playoff drought. And it impels Lock to play even better than he did in his 4-1 December audition after spending most of his rookie season sidelined with a thumb injury.
Lock certainly sees the remodeling — which is being overseen by new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur — as both an endorsement and an inducement.
“I think the moves just end up saying they saw something positive in the way I played those last games, potentially being a guy who can stay here for a long time and help the Broncos win as many games as possible,” Lock said. “It means a lot to me to see that happen.”
One thing Lock knows is all this firepower doesn’t guarantee anything, especially in the AFC West, where the Super Bowl champion Chiefs reside.
“Nothing’s in fine ink right now in terms of wins and losses just because of all the guys we’ve drafted,” Lock said. “We’ve got a lot of hard work to put together.”
For now, the bonding and learning is going on via video conference.
Lock still hopes he’ll be able to gather with his receivers sometime this offseason for a personal passing camp like Peyton Manning used to do.
“Yeah, of course — when it is socially acceptable to do that and to have the best interests of everybody (in mind) as far as health goes,” Lock said. “I’m going to keep that in mind first. But then once that is ready … I’ve got all of them on a text. So, whenever the professionals say it should be OK, whether that’s the NFL or that’s the CDC, we’re going to have them ready and we’re going to get out there and get this chemistry down and get things rolling.”
Nobody knows when that will happen.
The NFL is releasing its 2020 schedule Thursday, and although it’s subject to change, it’s also the latest sign the league is hoping to proceed with business as usual even as other professional leagues have halted play on account of the coronavirus.
Locks’ video conference followed one by safety Kareem Jackson, who said he’s not a fan of playing in empty stadiums or of suiting up before there’s a vaccine or cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that has claimed more than 70,000 lives in the United States.
“I just think for us it doesn’t make sense to play any games unless it’s completely, 100% safe for us to go out there,” Jackson said. “If there is any threat of us being able to contract COVID and spread it to our families or anybody else that we’re around it just doesn’t make sense.
“I think I heard something about us playing and no fans and that would be like practice. So, in my opinion that would (stink). But in just talking with some of the guys it just doesn’t make any sense to go play any games unless it’s 100% safe for us to go out there.”
Lock demurred when asked for his opinion.
“I’m definitely going to defer that to the professionals, to the doctors,” he said. “I’m no expert … so I’ll let them decide that and whenever they decide it’s OK for us to play then I’m ready to play.”
Lock said he’s heeded the shelter-in-place and social distancing edicts, lifting and throwing exclusively with his personal trainer, a longtime friend who agreed not to work with any other clients at this time.
“I actually got pretty lucky with this whole deal. My trainer here in Lee’s Summit has a private place where it ended up being just me and him throughout this quarantine,” Lock said.
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