ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the last four weeks, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater have taken the field to stake their claim for the starting quarterback job.
The competition has only just begun.
"To me, OTAs, especially when you have a new quarterback such as Teddy coming in, who really didn't start working with us until OTAs, a big part of this is just getting him comfortable with the offense, introducing it to him," Head Coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday after the second practice of Denver's mandatory minicamp. "Obviously coaches and everybody else likes to evaluate every day, but to me the big evaluation will come more in camp.
"… If you're going to put a percentage on … the evaluation and comparing [OTAs with training camp and the preseason], [it's] two to three percent these last few weeks. The rest of the 97, 98 percent of it is yet to come."
To prepare for the rest of the competition, Fangio said Lock and Bridgewater must get in "the best physical shape they can get themselves in," continue to throw the football and study their playbooks.
Then, when they arrive back in Denver for training camp, the team will find a way to evenly compare the two players.
"It's just going to be 50-50, somehow, some way," Fangio said. "There may be some days where one of them gets more work than the other, then the next day the other guy will get more work. Some days will be 50-50, some will be 60-40. We'd like to work it that way, but in the final analysis, it'll be pretty damn equal in work and the opportunities."
Fangio said the team has not yet decided how to approach the third and final preseason game, and he did not offer a timeline on when he'd like to finalize a decision at quarterback.
As the team evaluates the battle, Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said there would be several different lenses through which the coaching staff would look.
"There's the hard data," Shurmur said Wednesday. "You want to get more completions and you want less interceptions. You want to throw touchdown passes. All the hard data. When we look at it, I'm kind of looking at it generally to when this guy is in there, are less bad things happening? When he makes a mistake, is it catastrophic, or is it something we can correct? It's all the things you look at and it's why it's important that you practice. … It's a coordinated effort and it really goes through the eyes of the quarterback, and a lot of times, how he executes can help the rest of team play better. There's obviously the objective and then the subjective stuff, we look at it."
That the bulk of the evaluation will take place in training camp does not mean Lock and Bridgewater haven't left impressions during the offseason program. Shurmur said the on-field work — which the team did not receive a year ago — has been valuable.
"I can't say how meaningful this has been — working on the fundamentals and the techniques of getting in and out the huddle," Shurmur said. "[Working on] the cadence, executing the audibles, throwing and catching, running backs running their paths and all the things that you need to practice. It's a coordinated effort when you play football. There are 11 guys out there. For us to be able to practice those things, it's been great."
Shurmur estimated that Bridgewater — and presumably Lock, given the even-natured split of reps — has received nearly half a season's worth of reps during OTAs and the mandatory minicamp.
"I think they're both getting better," Shurmur said of his initial impressions. "They've both gotten work with the ones, and they've both had the chance to share the workload with regard to the reps. [I've] seen improvement in Drew from the decision making, his timing and his accuracy.
"Getting a feel again for Teddy, you can see the things he does well. For Teddy, it's more getting up to speed with what we've done. He's right on board with the new things that we're doing. It's been good. I'm sure Coach Fangio has probably talked about where this is competition-wise. We have a lot of work left before we play the opener. I think we've built a really good foundation, not only for the quarterbacks, but for the team going into training camp.
'We'll be ready to go."