ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Things are a quite different this year for Drew Lock.
A season ago, he entered training camp as the Broncos' unquestioned starter but faced the daunting task of learning and implementing a new offense without the benefit of an offseason program.
Lock's world has changed.
He's now locked in a quarterback battle with Teddy Bridgewater, but he also has the benefit of entering his second season in Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur's system.
Despite the increased competition, it's certainly possible this combination could create better results for the third-year quarterback.
"It felt a lot different," Lock said as he compared the two training camps. "Even when we came and did the rookie stuff a couple days early — I think the things we were looking at [were] corrections and what we could possibly talk about a little bit more with the rookies out there. It's way more fine details instead of big-picture things. [We're] getting to focus on the small things and just working toward perfection instead of bigger-picture things. That's what's been the most fun, even from just starting on Day 1. Even during OTAs, we felt like we could do that instead of looking at bigger-picture things. That's when guys start to get comfortable, and guys start to play fast. Guys start to make mistakes that are — you're going 100 percent making these mistakes. You're not thinking, 'Should I have done this? Should I have done that? I was convicted on this, and this is why I did it.' It's been fun. Guys are flying around, and guys are playing fast. They can only get better from here."
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And while the Broncos' continuity should help Lock improve from the up-and-down season he posted in 2020, he doesn't expect the battle with Teddy Bridgewater to hurt him.
"If anything, I'd say it's motivating," Lock said of the competition. "Everyone talks about staying focused and controlling what you can control. My idea is to come out with high energy every single day — focus on me, make the plays when they come to me when I'm in there, congratulate Teddy when he makes a good play, and we'll talk about when I make a bad play or when he makes a bad play.
"It's just about getting better every single day and staying in my lane and helping this team get better every single day. The main goal — besides this competition — is us to start winning games here. I think we can do that with this team that we have. It's just a different feeling around this building right now. It's really fun to be a part of."
As his world has changed, so too has his perspective.
Lock said he's a "smarter player" than he believes he was during the first two years of his career — and he's focused now on taking "calculated chances" that will limit turnovers.
"When I press the ball, it's going to be a safer call, so to say," Lock said. "I do know better when to check it down and when to get the five yards and when to get the three yards. That's obviously been stressed to me in the building. The gunslinger mentality can still be there, but it's got to be a calculated gunslinger rather than just a sprayer."
Lock did not turn the ball over during practice on Wednesday, though he did hold the ball at times. Head Coach Vic Fangio said he instructed Lock not to throw the ball late in a scramble situation, as he wanted to avoid collisions between teammates.
While it's unwise to draw conclusions after one day of practice, a continued effort from Lock to cut down on turnovers could show increased maturity. He said Wednesday that he's bulked up to 230 pounds and "gotten some grown man strength."
But he and his teammates are also at the point in their careers where youth is no longer an excuse. His perspective — on the field and off — has changed, and his expectations for himself and his team are high.
"I think another thing is we're starting to get a little older," Lock said. "I don't think there's one person in there that's going to be able to make the excuse about we're young or that was a rookie mistake. We're going to hold these rookies to a high standard because there's not going to be a ton of them. There's going to be a couple of them. We just have the age, so to say. There's no old team in the NFL now. There are young teams and then there's experienced teams. I believe we should be one of the ones that's an experienced team. And if we don't play like it, shame on us.
"If we do play like it, then that's what we expect in that locker room."