ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For weeks, there's been external chatter about the Broncos' offense and what it must accomplish, regardless of who is under center.
Protect the ball. Control time of possession. Lean on the defense to win games.
On Friday, Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos' offense showed it has the potential to be far more than a complimentary piece.
Early in the day, Lock unleashed a 50-yard bomb that wide receiver KJ Hamler laid out to haul in for the first touchdown of the morning. Later, Bridgewater found Noah Fant on a deep corner route and then hit Jerry Jeudy coming down the field. Lock also set up Jeudy for a big gain, as the second-year receiver cut upfield and may have had a long touchdown under game conditions.
Those types of game-changing passes may be necessary to win the Broncos' quarterback job — but they also must be weighed against the potential for disaster.
"To me they're about equal, you know," said Fangio when asked to compare big plays with turnovers. "I don't know what the intelligent equation would be, but one [bad] play that could really affect that game, how many of the wild plays do you need to make to wipe that off the books? I don't know the answer to that, but yes [they're compared]."
Both quarterbacks have avoided throwing an interception through the first three days of practice, and they've each managed their share of touchdowns. Neither, however, has been able to edge their way to a lead in the competition.
"They've been pretty consistent, both of them," Fangio said. "I see no separation, if that's what you're asking."
MASSIE GETS HIS TURN
After Calvin Anderson worked with the first-team unit at right tackle for the first two practices of training camp, 10-year veteran Bobby Massie slid into that role on Friday.
"Just go out and do what I do," Massie said of his mentality in the competition. "Do what I've been doing the last decade and let my play speak for itself."
Massie held up well in his first extended action after dealing with a pectoral strain for part of the offseason, and he used his 6-foot-6, 325-pound frame to stonewall Malik Reed on one passing play.
Fangio did caution reporters that the competition for the right tackle spot is hard to evaluate until the team puts on pads.
"The tempo of practice is a little more up than what you saw in OTAs and minicamp but still, we've got to get the pads on to make a true evaluation of the front guys," Fangio said.
JEUDY CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Jeudy was all over the field on Friday, as he caught at least four passes. Perhaps more importantly, Jeudy caught those four passes on just five targets. A year ago, Jeudy caught just 46 percent of his targets — a percentage impacted by off-target throws — and greater efficiency will be key for the Broncos' offense this season.
"He's a lot more polished and better and more prepared to play right now than he was last year," Fangio said. "He knows the game better. He's got a feel for what the NFL football is like, making the adjustment from college to pro. He had limited time to do that last year — no preseason games. He had an up-and-down rookie year; some great moments, some bad moments, but I think those have really helped shape him. He's had a really great offseason, and it's carried over to camp."
…. Bridgewater has had a superb completion percentage through the first three practices, but Fangio explained that high-percentage passes are only part of the equation.
"It's good," Fangio said. "There's a fine line there. Checkdowns are good, but you need more than checkdowns. We need the right mix of that."
…. Lock showed off his mobility on several occasions on Friday, as he may have picked up first downs — and on one occasion, a touchdown — with his legs. Lock picked up 13 first downs with his legs last season, so that's not a new part of his game.
…. Ronald Darby showed his ability on Friday as he stayed stride for stride with Jeudy on a deep route and broke up a pass in the end zone.
"He ran a great route," Darby said after practice. "He sold it really well, and I just made a play on the ball. He had me on one earlier. It's tough checking him, but that's what you need out here. You don't want everything to be easy. I love going up against him and [No.] 14 [WR Courtland Sutton]."
…. Center Lloyd Cushenberry III showed off his physicality on Friday, as he powerfully finished a block against linebacker Alexander Johnson at the second level of the defense.
"That's football right there," guard Dalton Risner said. "That's football. You've got to practice, and of course you want to stay up. Our main priority is taking care of each other on the football field. But at the same time, we're trying to get better. [The] D-line does that to us as well, linebackers do that to us as well. That was one of the plays where Lloyd did his job, and he got A.J. [Johnson]."
…. With Kareem Jackson enjoying a vet day, safety P.J. Locke got some good run. The 24-year-old Texas product appeared in 15 games for the Broncos last season as a special teams contributor.
…. Melvin Gordon III showed good burst and vision on several runs out of the backfield.
… Outside linebacker Pita Taumoepenu made a nice play late in practice as he tracked the ball and made a sizable tackle for loss.
…. Wide receiver Trinity Benson is becoming a regular in our daily observations, as he caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Brett Rypien on Friday.