The Broncos won the season opener for the first time in three years. Now they are on to Jacksonville to play the winless Jaguars. There are some key factors to consider in this game for the Broncos to pull off another win.
An important component in this game is going to be injuries for the Broncos. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and cornerback Ronald Darby will be out multiple weeks with their respective injuries, so the depth of this Broncos roster will immediately be tested. Luckily, Denver can turn to their first-round pick from 2021 in Pat Surtain II to fill Draby’s starting spot. At wide receiver, the Broncos have plenty of depth from Tim Patrick to KJ Hamler to help fill the void left by Jeudy’s injury.
The other players that may possibly miss Sunday’s contest are Graham Glassgow (heart) and Bradley Chubb (ankle). Glassgow is still undergoing testing for his irregular heartbeat. If he is unable to play then Netane Muti will take his place at right guard. Bradley Chubb is still recovering from his offseason ankle surgery and the coaches are optimistic he plays against the Jaguars.
One last injury to keep an eye on is Shelby Harris (wrist) who has been limited in practice this week but should play this week.
The Jaguars are coming off a disappointing season opener against the Texans, losing 37-21. The Texans are seen as having one of the worst rosters in the NFL, which makes the loss that much worse. Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars’ star rookie quarterback, was less than stellar. He was ranked the 29th quarterback by Pro Football Focus in week one and the matchup this week against a defensive coach like Vic Fangio does not bode well for the young QB.
The Jaguars defense also struggled in week one, giving up 160 rush yards. The Broncos should be able to take advantage of the poor run defense with a combination of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. The Broncos averaged 5.9 yards per rush in week one against the Giants.
One of the only bright spots for the Jaguars in week one was their wide receiving core. Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, and Laviska Shenault Jr. combined for 15 receptions and 213 yards against the Texans. The Broncos secondary will certainly have their hands full covering the Jaguars’ talented receivers.
It is still unknown how the Jaguars’ inexperienced coaching staff and young personnel will bounce back in week two, but Denver looked solid on both offense and defense last week. With a strong Broncos defensive performance predicted and a solid outing from the running backs, the Broncos could win this game by double digits.
The quarterback competition in Denver is over – Teddy Bridgewater was named the Broncos’ starting quarterback. Head Coach Vic Fangio announced to the team this morning that Bridgewater would be the first-string quarterback to start the year. This ends the quarterback competition that started back in April when the Broncos traded a sixth-round pick for Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater will be the fourteenth different starting quarterback for the Broncos since 2011. He will have the benefit of working with the best offensive line the Broncos have had in at least five seasons according to Garett Bolles. Teddy will also work with a loaded receiving core and a defense that, by all accounts, will be at least top ten in the league. This will certainly be the most talented team that Bridgewater has started full-time for in his eight-year career.
What does this mean for Drew Lock?
Drew Lock will certainly be a valuable backup for the Broncos. In the NFL, having a solid backup quarterback is extremely helpful – just ask the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles.
As far as the future of the third-year quarterback, that is yet to be determined. If the coaches decided to start Bridgewater over Drew Lock, that means that Lock most likely did not progress the way they wanted him to. Essentially, his chances of being a part of the Broncos future is now close to zero. If the Broncos had any hope that he could be the future franchise quarterback, then they would have started him this year. This is most likely the end of the road for Lock in a Broncos uniform.
What does it mean for the future of the Broncos?
With Teddy Bridgewater on a one-year deal currently and Drew Lock not progressing enough to be the franchise quarterback going forward, the Broncos are without a future quarterback again. Thus, the QB carousel in Denver continues.
It is possible that Bridgewater plays well enough this season and gets rewarded a contract for the future with the Broncos. However, any Broncos fan knows how giving an average journeyman QB a sizable contract works out (see Joe Flacco and Case Keenum).
Sure, it would be great if the Broncos make the playoffs this year with Teddy Bridgewater and maybe even win a game or two in those playoffs, but in the long-term Teddy Bridgewater is just a bridge quarterback. There is a reason the Saints, Jets and Panthers let Teddy go and that the Broncos only had to trade a sixth-round pick for the veteran QB.
The bottom line is this: the Broncos coaches think that for this season Teddy Bridgewater gives the Broncos the best chance to win. It will certainly be exciting watching the Broncos compete in 2021 and win games with Bridgewater as the Broncos starting quarterback. However, there are still question marks for the future of the QB position now that Lock is out of the picture. We will have to hope that GM George Paton has a plan at the quarterback position for 2022 and beyond, but in the meantime all of Broncos Country will be rooting for Teddy Bridgewater to succeed.
PrizePicks operates in EVERY US state and Canada EXCEPT for the following: AZ CO DE HI ID IN IA LA MD ME MS MO MT NV NH NJ OH PA TN VA WA.
Use promo code “ATB” to receive a 100% instant deposit match up to $100
PrizePicks is the simplest fantasy game on the market.
You pick 2-5 players and can win up 10x on any entry.
PrizePicks has no sharks, optimizers, or mass-multi entry (It’s just you vs. the projection).
Allows mixed-sport entries (You can take the OVER on Lebron parlayed with the UNDER on Mahomes).
PrizePicks has a slick easy to use mobile app, both on the App Store and Google Play
According to Vic Fangio, the Denver Broncos quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock for this season is “50/50”. This was the plan from the Broncos front office and coaching staff since they traded for Bridgewater in April – to have the two quarterbacks battle it out in a completely even competition. The Broncos’ coaching staff has even gone so far as to make sure each quarterback gets exactly even reps in practice with the ones and twos and each quarterback will start one preseason game as well. However, there are some reasons this might not be the best approach from the Broncos front office and coaching staff.
The biggest reason this “50/50” training camp battle might not be the best approach is from a strategic perspective. From a tactical perspective, there is only one good outcome from this completely open quarterback battle approach: Drew Lock wins outright. If Lock wins the competition by truly playing better than Bridgewater, then the Broncos get to play Lock to start the season and finally put to rest if he is the future quarterback for the Denver Broncos or not. The organization and fans would get to see Drew Lock in the same offensive system for two years in a row and with great pieces all around him to see what his ceiling truly is. If Lock does not take the next step in that scenario, then it is easy to see that the Broncos need to move on and look for the next franchise quarterback. Also, if Lock does start the first several games and clearly shows that he has not progressed, then it is easy to turn to the savvy veteran in Teddy Bridgewater to finish out the season. Unfortunately, the odds of a young quarterback like Lock outshining a solid eight-year veteran like Teddy Bridgewater in training camp are not good, so this scenario is not likely to play out.
The other outcomes would be that neither QB outshines the other, or that Teddy Bridgewater wins the competition. Both of those scenarios are bad news for the Broncos. In the scenario that neither quarterback shines, that means Lock has most likely not taken that next step in his progression. It also means the team is not very confident to rally around whoever is picked as the starter.
In the last scenario of Bridgewater winning the competition, then the Broncos’ coaching staff has a conundrum. Either they start the 28-year-old journeyman QB, or they go against their word and start Drew Lock anyway. Starting Lock in that scenario causes you to lose trust from the players. Meanwhile, starting Bridgewater to start the season is not a good solution either. First, if Bridgewater struggles to start the season, then it makes it tough to turn to a deflated Drew Lock. At that point Lock will have most likely lost his confidence after losing the QB battle. Next, you never get to see what Drew Lock’s true ceiling is if Bridgewater starts the whole season.
So, from a strategic perspective, the open QB competition is not a good approach because the only good outcome – Drew Lock clearly winning the QB competition – is not a very likely outcome.
There is something to be said for the mentality of an athlete. Any athlete performs at their best when they are playing with confidence. I would argue that having an open QB competition that is “truly 50/50” is not great for the mentality of a young struggling quarterback like Drew Lock. Lock already struggled with confidence last year at some points and having every play and every throw magnified by media, players, coaches and fans in training camp and preseason is not going to help the young gunslinger improve.
There is no question that the Broncos needed to bring in a veteran quarterback. Having a veteran quarterback on the roster like Teddy Bridgewater paired with a young QB like Lock helps to build knowledge in the young QB room and provides a hedge in case Lock does not improve. So, the decision to trade for Bridgewater was a good one from GM George Paton. However, the decision to have a completely open quarterback competition is a miscalculated move by the Broncos front office and coaching staff. They did not have to state that the Broncos QB battle was completely open in order to have healthy competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. The competition would occur naturally if the Broncos would have still named Drew Lock as the starter going forward. That approach would also eliminate some of the mental pressure for Lock and would ensure that none of those worst-case scenarios as stated earlier actually get to play out.
Day 5 of Broncos Training Camp belonged to Teddy Bridgewater, but the real story is that the defense continues to dominate. Here are the important stories from today:
Drew Lock vs Teddy Bridgewater
The quarterback competition continues to fight on. On this day both quarterbacks were inconsistent, but Bridgewater slightly edged out Drew Lock. Bridgewater connected on several long passes on the day – including a 50-yard bomb to Diontae Spencer and a couple long completions to Jerry Jeudy. Bridgewater also had one interception on the day, but Drew Lock had two interceptions. Drew Lock also seemed to struggle reading the defense and making the quick throw. Many times today Lock had to hold the ball and scramble.
Patrick Surtain II
The rookie first-round selection had a solid day in camp. Surtain was able to intercept Drew Lock for his first pick of camp and Lock’s first interception of camp as well. Lock never saw Surtain in the 7 on 7 drills as the rookie undercut Trinity Benson’s route in zone coverage. Surtain was on the field with the first team defense most of the day and with the length and coverage skills he possesses, he should find a role as a starter this season.
Courtland Sutton is Still Good
After missing most of the 2020 season, Courtland Sutton looks like he is ready to pick up where he left off. Sutton made several intermediate catches in camp today including several sideline catches. These twenty-yard plays are exactly what the Broncos offense was missing last year without him. Sutton will have a great season in 2021 no matter who is throwing him the ball.
Don’t Sleep on LeVante Bellamy
With all the well-deserved hype surrounding the Broncos second-round rookie running back Javonte Williams this offseason, LeVante Bellamy is flying under the radar. But the second year running back is taking advantage of his reps in camp so far. On day 5, Bellamy had one catch for what would have been a touchdown in the red zone. Bellamy also had several nice outside runs that looked to be ten or more-yard runs. Bellamy plays special teams as well, so don’t be surprised if he can squeak onto the roster in a loaded running back room for the Broncos.
Ever since draft night, there have been endless rumors that link the future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Denver Broncos. Most fans would agree that Rodgers on the current Broncos roster would make Denver instant Super Bowl contenders. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we should examine further and see if it is even realistic that Aaron Rodgers could become a Denver Bronco.
What does Rodgers want?
Even though the 16-year veteran player doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, if Aaron Rodgers is going to the Denver Broncos, it will most likely be because Rodgers wants to be a Bronco.
It is clear the Aaron Rodgers is upset with the Packers’ General Manager, Brian Gutekunst, and the organization as a whole. Most NFL insiders seem to think that the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers is irreconcilable. So, if Rodgers were to be traded, where would Rodgers want to go? Only those close to Rodgers know the definitive answer to this question, but as Mike Florio reported, the teams Rodgers would be interested in would be the 49ers, Broncos, or Raiders.
Then there is the connection with his fiancé, Shailene Woodley, who lives in Boulder, Colorado. It is easy to see why Aaron would want to live in Denver, which is less than 30 miles from Boulder.
Finally, between the three teams that Rodgers mentioned – 49ers, Broncos and Raiders – the Broncos seem to be the best destination. The 49ers drafted Trey Lance and have Jimmy Garoppolo, so they seem to be out of the running for Rodgers. Between the Broncos and Raiders, the Broncos clearly have the better defense and overall roster. For all these reasons it is safe to assume that Aaron Rodgers would want to be a Denver Bronco.
Would Aaron Rodgers make sense for the Denver Broncos?
For them to trade for Rodgers, it would have to make sense for GM George Paton and the Broncos. There has been plenty of speculation as to what it would take for the Denver Broncos to land Aaron Rodgers. Anywhere from two first and second-round picks, to a star player and three first-round picks have been projected to be the trade value for the 16-year vet.
With quarterback being the most important position in football, it is certainly understandable that the trade-value for the reigning league MVP would be high. On the other hand, the 37-year-old Rodgers is getting to the end of his career and has already talked about retirement and life after football.
So, for the Broncos to make a trade for Rodgers, it would have to be a trade that does not mortgage the future of the franchise, while still making it worthwhile for the Packers. For example, if the Broncos would have to give up multiple stars like Bradley Chubb and Courtland Sutton as well as multiple first round picks, then it may not make sense for the Broncos.
However, if the Packers are willing to part with Rodgers for two first-round picks and Drew Lock, then the Broncos should be quick to accept. Those picks would turn into late first-round picks and the Broncos would immediately have a multiyear Superbowl window with Rodgers.
Would the Green Bay Packers trade Aaron Rodgers?
From all accounts, it appears the Packers are not willing to trade Rodgers at this point. As the season approaches, however, the Packers may have no choice but to trade the reigning MVP. It will also depend on the trade value of Rodgers of course. Also, the progression of the Packers’ 2019 first-round selection, Jordan Love, will be a factor as well. At the end of the day, it will depend on if Rodgers decides to force the Packers’ hand and hold-out until he is traded.
In the betting world, the Broncos have good odds to land Aaron Rodgers. On DraftKings, the Broncos have the best odds to have Rodgers take the first snap for them at QB in 2021 outside of the Packers at +400. The Packers still have the best odds at -400, so there is no certainty that a trade happens at all, but if it does happen, then Denver seems to be the best landing spot.
It is important to note as well that recently Rodgers stated that he is going to “enjoy the hell out of this week,” Rodgers said when asked about his future. “And then get back to working out, and figure things out in a couple weeks.” Only time will tell what that means, but the speculation will continue.
We also just found out that Rodgers turned down a two year extension from Green Bay this offseason according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The proposed contract would have made Rodgers the highest paid quarterback in the league.
For what it’s worth, Von Miller seems to think that the trade can still happen for Rodgers. According to Miller, “John Elway, he’s done a great job of working the big-time guys before — Peyton (Manning) and DeMarcus (Lawrence) and Aqib (Talib) — all these other guys. So, if there’s a guy to be had, G.P. (George Paton) and John Elway are the two to put on it, if it can be done.”
SimBull is the stock market for sports where you can buy and sell virtual shares of your favorite teams using real money. Each time your team wins, you earn a win payout. If your team loses, you lose nothing. SimBull offers trading for the NFL, NBA, and MLB, with College Football coming this fall. You can even own your very own share for the Denver Broncos!
Visit simbull.com today and use promo code “AroundtheBlock” to earn a $10 depositbonus on your first deposit.