The Denver Broncos are entering the 2021 season with a significant level of quarterback uncertainty.
Lock will return for his third NFL season after starting 13 games for the Broncos in 2020. Bridgewater has joined the roster by way of trade with the Carolina Panthers earlier this offseason.
While neither of these guys thrilling QB1 options, both have proven themselves as serviceable starting signal callers in the NFL.
So who will start in Week 1?
According to head coach Vic Fangio, that starting distinction will be decided after preseason play — where both Lock and Bridgewater are expected to take a significant percentage of snaps.
“Probably play them a little more in preseason than teams may play their No. 1 quarterback,” Fangio said of his preseason quarterback strategy. “I did a semi-study a few years ago when teams were not playing their quarterbacks at all in preseason. Some were and some weren’t. Some of most veteran and best quarterbacks were playing a lot of snaps in the preseason. Some of the younger ones that probably needed it weren’t. To me, it was kind of telling.
“These guys need snaps and they need to play, especially when you have a young quarterback like we have in Drew and a new quarterback like we have in Teddy. Hopefully we’ll get them a lot of snaps and the decision will be made easy.”
Fangio (2/3 on Lock/Teddy B preseason) "Some of most veteran and best quarterbacks were playing a lot of snaps in the preseason. Some of the younger ones that probably needed it weren’t. To me, it was kind of telling. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) June 1, 2021
Through 13 games last season, Lock led his Broncos to a 4-9 record — logging 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns and a league-leading 15 interceptions. This relatively disappointing second-year performance came just one season after he burst onto the NFL scene as a rookie — leading Denver on a 4-1 run to close out the 2019 season.
Playing in his sixth NFL season (third as a majority starter) in 2020, Bridgewater suited up as QB1 for the Panthers in 2020. The former Pro-Bowl quarterback notched a 4-11 record with Carolina — putting up a career-high 3,733 yards and 15 touchdowns.
While the Denver QB-room competition is focused squarely on Lock and Bridgewater right now, it’s hard to block out one more glaring possibility.
Soon after the Aaron Rodgers trade drama began to bud in Green Bay, the Broncos became listed as frontrunners to land the three-time All-Pro quarterback. If Fangio’s squad was to somehow acquire Rodgers by way of trade with the Packers, Denver’s current QB drama would certainly become null and void.