Lock solidifying backup role, but still in search of consistency

Jun 4, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws during mini camp drills at the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse at UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, the Broncos were back on the field at Mile High on Saturday. Denver has chosen not to hold training camp at their stadium the last few years, which led to an electric atmosphere in the stands.

The crowd hounded Dalton Risner on his entrance to the stadium, with many begging him for an autograph in what must’ve been a surreal experience for the native rookie.

Drew Lock also exuded cheers from the Mile High fans whenever he came on field, though the day was mixed for the rookie.

He had ups and downs throughout the day and showed that consistency is an area where he still needs a lot of improvement.

On one sequence, he fired a laser to wide receiver Fred Brown in a tight window on a crossing route or down the sideline for a score, then hit Austin Fort on a well-designed out route for a first down, before air-mailing a pass over the receiver’s head the next play.

Lock also had one of the day’s worst moments when he threw a pick-six to defensive lineman Adam Gotsis.

That being said, Lock also had his share of “wow” throws where he uncorked his arm and showed the ability to do just about whatever he wanted with the football.

Also, given Lock’s work ethic, those problems should get ironed out relatively quickly as he once again was the first player on the practice field for the Broncos.

Drew Lock is tightening his grip on the No. 2 job and should have it secured after the first or second preseason game.

There is no place on the roster for Kevin Hogan. Lock clearly outperformed Hogan and the second team today with the third teamers. Wanting to have a more experienced quarterback with Lock makes sense, but the Broncos already have that with Joe Flacco and somewhat with Brett Rypien, both of whom have outshined Hogan thus far.

What we learned:

  • Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders were notably absent at practice today as they were allowed to attend the funeral of a friend in Houston, Texas.
  • Colby Wadman is the guy at punter for the Broncos after fending off challenger Justin Vogel. Vogel was a Pro Bowl alternate this season after serving as the Packers’ punter in 2017, and was expected to give Wadman a run for his money but lasted only three days as a Bronco.
  • The depth chart at tight end is murky at best. Jeff Heuerman was the presumed starter but continued signs of improvement and strong performances from rookie Noah Fant have put that in question. The Nos. 3 and 4 jobs are also up in the air as Jake Butt still rehabs from ACL surgery, Troy Fumagalli and Austin Fort have both been standouts at camp, and Bug Howard and Moral Stephens are also on the roster.
  • Royce Freeman will be a much larger part of the passing game. He made multiple catches during the scrimmage including a short touchdown pass from Joe Flacco over Chris Harris Jr.
  • Todd Davis was once again inactive in practice today, though this time his first team reps were taken by fifth-round rookie Justin Hollins. Hollins is one of the more athletic linebackers on the team and provides a lot of upside as a coverage linebacker.
  • Demarcus Walker wasn’t with the ones today unlike yesterday, but he had another strong showing. Barring ugly showings in the preseason, he’s on the path towards the final 53-man roster.
  • Bryce Callahan and Phillip Lindsay were shaken up today. Callahan had someone step on the same foot he broke less than a year ago with the Bears and the Broncos had it x-rayed to be safe. The x-ray came back negative so Callahan should be fine.
  • Juwann Winfree had yet another great day in camp. It would be nothing short of stunning if he doesn’t make the roster as at least the fifth wide receiver on the depth chart.