The annual media BBQ could be labeled a success simply because it took place, unlike a year ago. While Covid-19 still looms over the NFL and over the world, as a whole, some things did feel a little more back to normal. Most notably, the Broncos find themselves in another quarterback competition.
As the team is set to hit the practice field for it's first workout of Training Camp, Wednesday, nothing was asked about, or talked about more than the battle between incumbent Drew Lock, and veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who was acquired via trade from Carolina the week of the draft in late April.
New General Manager, George Paton, is looking forward to seeing the competition play out, "[I'm] very confident in both quarterbacks," he said. "They had some peaks and valleys through the offseason program, but they both worked. I think they both work well together. [They're] very competitive, but they work well off each other. I thought they finished strong. I look forward to seeing them compete tomorrow.”
Head Coach Vic Fangio opened his press conference laying out how he would approach the competition, after saying Lock would get the very first reps on Wednesday, "The final analysis—we've got these first four days," he said. "It will be just like you guys witnessed in mini camp. You weren’t here for OTAs. Everything was 50/50 [regarding] what group they worked with and who started how many drills. After four days, I know a lot of you will be keeping your own little charts. It'll be 50/50 unless it's an odd number. Then, somebody got one more. We'll take a look at it after the first off day and maybe we have a day where one of them gets 70 percent and the other gets 30, and then flip it the next day. I think when you look up to the point where we make a decision, it's going to be a 50/50 thing, both from a rep standpoint and working with what group. One thing I will caution you is what group [they are working with]. We may be changing in and out wide receivers per play. You may look out there and what you view as the first team wide receivers aren’t there, but the first-team line is. How do you view that or vice versa? The other positions aren’t going to be dialed in with who the quarterback is.”
The 2 players who met the media, were the teams 2 Pro Bowlers from 2019, who both suffered season ending injuries before the 2nd game of the year even finished. Future Hall of Fame Linebacker, Von Miller, and wideout Courtland Sutton are both ready to go for the start of camp, and like everyone else, are looking forward to the QB battle, as well.
Unlike many in the media, Sutton doesn't seem to mind if the competition isn't won very quickly, "Whenever they decide to make that call of who's going to be the starter, we'll rally behind that guy, but as of right now those dudes are in a very tight quarterback battle," Sutton said. "I think it's important for us as [an] offense to rally behind both of those guys until they decide to name a starter. I'm looking forward to being able to go out there and work with both of them, just as I'm pretty sure the rest of the receivers are looking forward to going out there and working with both of them. They both bring unique abilities to the game and to that position. Whenever the starter gets named, they'll get named and we'll rally behind them and go out there and win some games."
The 2nd round pick out of SMU in 2018 is in the final year of his rookie deal and said the thing all Broncos fans want to here about his desire to stay in the Mile High City.
Miller described the talent level of the offense, and while not trying to dismiss the 2 Broncos QBs as they battle it out, he did joke he could line up under center and the team would still fare well, and as he started to list how good they were on the opposite side of the ball, he began with last year's top pick, wideout Jerry Jeudy saying, "He’s going to be super scary. His release off the ball, his speed down the field, the type of respect that he commands from defenders [whether] one-on-one, two-on-two. I’ve never seen it like that, and this is my 11th year in the league. Courtland Sutton, he’s a monster in his own right as well, so who are you going to double? And then if you double both of those guys, you’ve got Noah Fant and Albert ‘O’ on the inside. Like I said, I always think about playing quarterback, but I also feel like I could play quarterback this year for the Denver Broncos. It’s just too many options for us. And then [LT] Garret Boles he’s blocking the best pass rushers in the league. He is the best left tackle in the league. If he’s not the best, he’s Top 3 and he’s not [No.] 3. I’m so proud of him. Y’all know about my relationship with [T] Garrett Boles and the type of jump that he’s made. He’s definitely developing into a big-time left tackle, so we’ve got time. We’ve got [RT] Bobbie Massie on the other side, [G] Dalton Risner, and all these guys. I can go out there and play quarterback, and I can throw it to Jerry Jeudy and he’s going to catch it and score a touchdown, all this stuff. I’m super excited for our offense, I’m super excited for our defense. We brought in a lot of support players as well for our special teams and there’s no reason for us not to win games. I don’t know how many games we’re going to win but I know we will win a lot of games this year."
Miller, who may in fact be in his final season with the Broncos as his contact is set to expire at the end of this year, doesn't seem to let that possibility hang over his head, and after missing all of 2020 with an ankle injury, he isn't taking anything for granted.
The one other big story line on the day, was the future of team ownership. President and CEO Joe Ellis said the ownership situation would be resolved after the 2021 season, one way or another, and he would stay on until the transition was complete. "Our goal is a timely, responsible and orderly determination of ownership," he said. "What that will entail for us—there’s some things that we still need to work through—but our goal is to be able to lay out, when the season is over, and Vic has promised that will be in the middle of February, that we lay out for everybody a timeline to a transition of ownership that will take place next year prior to the start of the season. That’s important. It’s important to the organization. It’s important to the beneficiaries—Pat [Bowlen]’s children—to get it resolved and we’re moving forward on that. The team is not for sale. There are a few options out there as to what we can do. You’re probably aware of those. We’re going to get through this season. Our goal is to focus on that, have a good year and hopefully be competitive and be around for the postseason tournament once that begins. That’s where our focus is. Until the season’s over, you’re not going to hear a whole lot about the future of ownership of the team."