ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After a tumultuous two weeks in which Drew Lock went from FedEx Air Player of the Week to a rough home loss to Buffalo, President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said Tuesday that the team still likes what its seen from him the second-year quarterback.
Lock, who has thrown for 2,330 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 11 games this season, has shown some progress as of late. In his past three games, Lock has thrown for seven touchdowns and just two interceptions, including a five-to-zero touchdown-to-interception ratio in the previous two games. However, those past two games haven't been free of mistakes; Lock has also lost a fumble in each of the last two games.
Yet, Lock appears to have made some strides, Elway noted.
"He's gone through his reads better and dumped some things off and continued to use the experience to get better," Elway told DenverBroncos.com's Phil Milani. "Obviously, the inconsistency, that comes with being young, especially if you're young and you've got young guys around you … like we do. It seems like when they all don't play well, they do it together. Again, we've just got to work on the consistency. And I think that Drew's had an up-and-down year, but we still like what we see in him and still think that he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback in this league."
Looking ahead to the final two games and beyond, Elway's focus for Lock is on finding more consistency, which will help the team become more stable.
"Drew's got to continue to use these times as a valuable experience going into next year, the different coverages and the different looks he's getting, to be able to come back and hopefully work on some consistency," Elway said. "I think he's showed that there's some bright spots there, and he's done a heck of a job in a lot of situations. But to be able to be good and be great in this league, you've got to play with consistency and eliminate the mistakes. That's what we're looking for out of Drew, is hopefully eliminate some of those mistakes and keep showing us the things that he can do."
In the Broncos' Week 15 matchup with the Bills, Lock wasn't the only player who struggled, but one of his mistakes was particularly costly, as a Buffalo defender returned his fumble for a touchdown in a third quarter that ballooned Denver's eight-point deficit to 25 points.
The team not being as competitive beginning with that third quarter was a sore spot for Elway.
"Well, we didn't answer the bell in the second half," Elway said. "I think that obviously the Bills are a very good football team — young and playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum. They made some big plays in the second half, and we didn't answer the bell, which was disappointing. The first half we didn't play great, but we hung in there, got a turnover and got a score out of it. We hung in there in the first half; just disappointed in the fact we didn't compete better in the second half."
With just two games left on the schedule, Elway's goals for the team are simply improving in that area and hopefully coming away with a couple of wins.
"I think any time you step [into] a football game, you want to compete and try to win football games," Elway said. "So hopefully we can do that. I think with the youth on our football team, it's a chance for those guys to continue to get more experience, because every snap is going to help them and help us going into next year. I think we've got to take advantage of that and get them playing time and make sure they're focused on what they're doing to be able to get better, too, because we do have a lot of youth, especially on the offensive side."
Two veterans on the defensive side in particular have had outstanding seasons, though, as Bradley Chubb and Justin Simmons were selected to their first career Pro Bowls on Monday.
"They both had great years," Elway said. "I think they work hard; they're the type of guys we want on this football team. Bradley has done a hell of a job. Pressure-wise, he's just always there. ... It doesn't stand out to the average eye of what people look at, but when you look at the number of pressures and what he does to an offense and how much attention they have to pay him, he's done a tremendous job. And then Justin's obviously done a great job in the secondary and been the captain back there directing traffic and getting ... four interceptions. Justin's also had a good year, too."