ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Could this be the final week of the Broncos' quarterback competition?
Head Coach Vic Fangio said Monday that "it's possible" he'll tab either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater in the wake of the team's preseason game in Seattle.
Bridgewater will start Saturday's game and Lock will come on in relief as the competition continues into the fourth week of training camp.
Last week, in Minnesota, both players staked a claim to the job. After two solid days of practice, both players posted quarterback ratings of at least 144.8 in a win over the Vikings. Lock finished 5-of-7 for 151 yards, two touchdowns and a 153.3 rating; Bridgewater completed 7-of-8 for 74 yards, one touchdown and the 144.8 rating.
"I thought they both played [well]," Head Coach Vic Fangio said Monday. "When you talk about last week, you think about the whole week in its totality. The two practices against Minnesota were important because [it was] our [No.] 1's against their [No.] 1's for the most part, and then the game. To me, it was a three-day trip in that regard, and I thought both guys did well."
Fangio said after the game that there had still been no separation between the two players.
Lock, who started the game, punctuated his day with an 80-yard touchdown to KJ Hamler on the first play of his second drive. It was a later play, though, that may have been Lock's most impressive of the game.
On a third-and-four from the Denver 45-yard line, Lock stayed in the pocket and moved through the progression before delivering the ball to an open Jerry Jeudy in the center of the field. Jeudy quickly reversed course, picked up some blocks and recorded a 33-yard gain that would set up a touchdown three players later. Fangio said it's possible Lock may not have been able to make the play a year ago, and he said the third-player "definitely is" seeing the field better.
"He was patient," Fangio said. "The route took a little bit of time to develop. Drew made a good throw and Jerry made a good catch. More importantly, as it relates to Jerry, he did a really good job of running after the catch, and we got some good downfield blocking, which turned it into a big play. It was definitely a good read and a good throw by Drew, made possible by the pass protection because that play took a little longer to develop than you would like it to."
Lock will look to stack another strong performance on top of his week in Minnesota, and Bridgewater will also aim to build off his play against the Vikings. Each player seems guaranteed a few more plays and some game action on Saturday before a decision is made.
After that, though, it's possible the long-awaited decision could finally be made.
PURCELL READY TO RETURN
After suffering an ankle sprain early in training camp, nose tackle Mike Purcell is back at practice and feeling healthy. And in the wake of his 2020 season being cut short due to a foot injury, he's ready to return to game action.
"I feel good," Purcell said Monday. "I feel really good. Now it's time to get some game reps in, and that's the only thing. I've done practice and everything. We did the joint practices against other people, and I feel good. I feel really good."
Purcell said the ankle injury actually helped him, as his ankle had felt stiff during the rehab process.
"With that little roll of an ankle, I think the biggest thing was — in hindsight, it almost was kind of good it happened to me, I feel like — in my thoughts," Purcell said. "Like I said, my ankle was pretty immobile from the first surgeries, but I tweaked it [and] kind of opened it up. I feel good now."
And while he did not play Saturday against the Vikings, Purcell said he's hopeful to play some snaps before the preseason is over.
"I want to," Purcell said of playing against Seattle this weekend. "That's how I feel. I haven't played a game since last October, so I'm excited to get back out there and get some game reps in. I treat every game the same — preseason or not. The same butterflies as rookie year Game 1 vs. the Super Bowl — I'll still have the same butterflies."
BOLLES HONORED BY TOP 100 NOD
Tackle Garett Bolles was one of two Broncos on Sunday to earn a spot on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2021 list, as the players ranked No. 41-100 were revealed.
Bolles came in at No. 82 — Justin Simmons ranked No. 45 — and spoke Monday about the value of the peer-awarded honor.
"It's an honor," Bolles said. "When the players choose you, the players know who the best is. I couldn't be [more] thankful for all those guys that voted me as high as that is. It's my first time there and I'll hopefully be there many more times. I love this game of football, I love what it does for you, I love all the guys I go against — my competition. Like I said, my mission is to be the best, so to get there I have to go against the best. You get that recognition by clawing, biting, doing whatever you can in the trenches. It's an honor."
Bolles earned second-team All-Pro honors after not allowing a sack in 2020, but he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl.
The remaining players on the list will be revealed in the coming weeks, and the Broncos have an unknown player in the top 40.