Head coach Vic Fangio has made up his mind naming Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos for the 2021 NFL season. The former Carolina Panthers quarterback, whom Denver acquired for a sixth-round pick ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, won the battle over the Broncos’ incumbent starter Drew Lock.
Fangio told Bridgewater and Lock of his decision Wednesday morning, a day after the Broncos head coach told reporters that the competition between the two quarterbacks was “pretty damn close.”
Bridgewater prevails after excellent preseason
In the end, it was Bridgewater who prevailed with his preseason showing swinging Fangio’s decision in his favor. He earned QB1 status by playing nearly flawless football during the preseason, completing 16-of-19 passes for 179 yards, a couple of touchdowns, and recording a 141.0 quarterback rating.
During the four preseason series he played with the Broncos, Bridgewater was not sacked, and he also didn’t turn the ball over. The Broncos scored in all four of those series, with Bridgewater leading Denver to three touchdown drives and one field goal. It could have been four touchdowns for Bridgewater, but a penalty wiped out his scoring run against the Vikings.
Bridgewater showed he had chemistry with the Broncos’ starters, completing 9-of-11 passes for 105 yards, one touchdown, and a 136.7 rating in two series with Denver’s first-team offense against the Seattle Seahawks.
Fangio praised Bridgewater after his performance in Seattle, saying that he did really well and that some of his good plays were quarterback plays meaning he had to manipulate the pocket against the Seahawks.
Bridgewater was consistent throughout the selection process as he also performed well during training camp, completing a high percentage of his passes and showing no fear when pushing the ball down the field.
Lock’s solid preseason not enough to erase last year’s performance
Bridgewater needed to be at his best to beat Lock, who did not surrender his post as Broncos’ top QB that easily. He finished the preseason with solid numbers as well, completing 14-of-21 passes for 231 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lock gave a good account of himself in the game against the Vikings, completing 5-of-7 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, including a monster 80-yard throw to KJ Hamler.
Fangio ultimately decided, however, to give the Broncos a fresh look after a horror campaign last year. Lock struggled in his first year in Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense, tying for the league lead in interceptions (15) last season. He was also last among the league’s starters in completion percentage overall, with a low 57.3% clip last year.
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