The Denver Broncos are one of the few NFL teams with a true 50/50 quarterback competition. After their first preseason game, there may be a slight leader in the clubhouse in Drew Lock.

Even though the days are counting down toward the beginning of the regular season and head coach Vic Fangio’s impending decision, he’s still calling the competition, “even-Steven.”

The good news for Broncos fans is both quarterbacks played well. The bad news for Broncos fans is both players continued to do enough to show coaches they can be the answer.

Using some criteria given by Jenkins Elite CEO and former NFL quarterback Tim Jenkins, we will break down how well both players played against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of their preseason matchup.

Evaluating Drew Lock’s performance against the Vikings

Incumbent Drew Lock started the game hot and ended his day the same way. Early in the first quarter, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur opened up the playbook for Lock. From his own 20, Lock went deep to K.J. Hamler for an 80-yard touchdown.

Additionally, the young signal-caller showed improved progression in his second drive. Lock moves through his progression after identifying the correct keys. The two Vikings’ inside linebackers show double A-gap blitzes, before bailing out to their zone coverage assignments.

Lock finds Jerry Jeudy for a nice completion. Jeudy makes a move and does the rest, leading to a Broncos big gain.

To cap off his day, Lock shows improved fundamentals on the goal line. No. 3, rolls right off a run-action boot, squares his shoulders to the line of scrimmage and delivers a strike to Trinity Benson.

Lock ended his day with a stat line of 5-7 for 151 yards and a pair of scores. Additionally, the 3rd-year quarterback added a nice scramble for six yards. The young quarterback finished the day with a rating of 153.3, just short of a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

Per Tim Jenkins’s six steps to evaluate the quarterback competition, Lock graded out well.

The offense moved methodically in each of Lock’s series. This would indicate the starting quarterback kept the team in the right play or checked them into it. Additionally, the run game was efficient. Rookie Javonte Williams gashed the Vikings’ defense early and often. This would indicate that Lock had the right run checks when needed.

Lock did not feel much pressure, and there were not busted blitz pickups. No free rushers indicate Lock correctly identified the “Mike” linebacker and slid his line in the right direction to manage pressure looks.

He did miss his one opportunity in the quick game, a slant to Jeudy on 4th-and-goal. The throw was off and fell incomplete.

Lastly, “shot” plays were executed flawlessly. Lock showcased his big arm on the aforementioned bomb to Hamler.

In the end, Lock checked 5-of-6 total boxes.

Evaluating Bridgewater’s Denver Broncos debut

Bridgewater wins differently than Lock, but still found a lot of success Saturday

In his first action with the Broncos, Bridgewater rolled to his right off of play-action and hit Eric Saubert for a 22-yard gain. Though coaches may have preferred he look at Benson on the deep crosser, Bridgewater made a safe play knowing his guy can gain some yards after the catch.

Bridgewater showed great timing, hitting Benson on a deep in-cutting route with pressure in his face. His poise and accuracy in this play were outstanding and are very encouraging.

In the red zone, Bridgewater has tremendous recognition and isolates Benson on the right side. His throw is outside and a catchable ball where only his guy can get it. Shurmur and Co. should feel really good about this play as No. 5 struggled in the red zone last season.

Using the six steps provided by Jenkins, Bridgewater also graded out well. The offense seemed to roll, staying on schedule.

Additionally, the run game continues to power the offense, indicating Bridgewater continued the trend of keeping the offense in the right play.

Like Lock, Bridgewater continued to manage pressure well by identifying the right pressure looks and avoiding sacks. Bridgewater made the clutch throw to Benson when he had pressure in his lap.

Bridgewater excelled in the quick game. His anticipation and placement showed his pre-snap recognition skills.

Finally, Bridgewater did not take a meaningful shot downfield. This could be because one was not called or he did not see one he liked. He had an opportunity to make a throw on 3rd-and-long to Kendall Hinton, but made the safe play and kept the team in field goal range.

Bridgewater finished the day 7-8 for 74 yards and a touchdown. He finished with an impressive 144.8 passer rating.

Overall, Bridgewater also graded out well in five of the six points of emphasis provided by Jenkins.


Fangio stated the preseason games would be heavily weighted in the decision-making process. If that is the case, there is a clear leader after Game 1.

Based on the big play capability of Lock, it was clear he was the more impressive player for the day.

His near-perfect performance gave him the lead over Bridgewater heading into their next matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bridgewater should get a chance at rebuttal and make up some ground. One can assume the starters may see more action in Week 2 as the Broncos gear up for the start of the regular season.

That said, Lock seemed to have surged ahead the last week and it would take a big performance from Bridgewater to change the course of this competition.

If Lock performs well again, look for him to earn the job heading into his third season in Denver.