A one-week delay in the Broncos-Patriots game has made it more likely that the home team’s quarterback will play. It also has made it more likely that the visiting team’s quarterback will play.
Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, who suffered a shoulder injury during a Week Two loss at Pittsburgh, fully participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
“He definitely could start on Sunday as he looks now,” coach Vic Fangio told reporters on Thursday. “We’ll hold off on making that final. He had a good practice today, so we’ll see how it goes. There were no setbacks.”
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur seemed even more confident regarding Lock’s prospects of playing.
“Physically, I think he looks good out there running around and throwing,” Shurmur told reporters. “He’s doing a good job of executing what our plan is going to be and I anticipate him doing that in a game setting.”
Getting the second-year, second-round pick ready to play is one thing. Keeping him on the field is another. Fangio was asked to address how the coaching staff is helping Lock understand the “art” of how to avoid taking hits.
“We just make him aware of it,” Fangio said. “I think a better word than art is instinct. Hopefully that is something that will come through playing and playing more snaps and being put in that position. Both times he’s been hurt have been very similar where he is outside the pocket and going down. I think it becomes instinct and I think it’s good that he studies other players that have been able to avoid it.”
For some quarterbacks, it’s already instinctive when they arrive in the NFL. Others learn it at the pro level. Some never do. For Lock, who has now been injured in each of his two seasons, the sooner he learns how to avoid getting hit and getting hurt, the better off he and the Broncos will be.