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'Pretty damn close': Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater hone in on Seattle as QB decision approaches

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have nearly seen enough.

Over the course of organized team activities, mandatory minicamp and the first preseason game, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater have competed for the starting quarterback job in a back-and-forth battle.

Each throw, each series and each day has been another data point for Head Coach Vic Fangio and his staff to evaluate, and as the team approaches its second preseason game, the Broncos have almost seen enough to make a decision.

"Pretty damn close," Fangio said, "but we've got more information coming."

Bridgewater will start Saturday's game against Seattle, and Lock will come on in relief as the two quarterbacks see their second preseason opportunity. In Week 1 against the Vikings, Lock was an impressive 5-of-7 for 151 yards, two touchdowns and a 153.3 rating. His 80-yard bomb to KJ Hamler was the offensive play of the game. Bridgewater responded well, as he posted a nearly flawless 7-of-8 line for 74 yards, one touchdown and a 144.8 rating during his action.

Even though Lock and Bridgewater weren't competing against many of Minnesota's starters, Fangio said he has still been able to get a true evaluation of both players.

"We can judge it very accurately, I think," Fangio said. "I think the practices against Minnesota are telling. I think practices [with] 1's against 1's on ourselves are very telling, and we can't control what the other teams play in these preseason games."

The Broncos will control who they play in the final two games, and Fangio said he imagines both Lock and Bridgewater will play against the Rams in the final preseason game. Both could see action even if a starter is named after the Seattle game, which Fangio said was a possibility after practice on Monday.

Before that decision arrives, the two quarterbacks will aim to provide Fangio and the coaching staff with more good data points.

"The first game was obviously good," Lock said. "We have another test coming up this weekend, and I'm going to go out and try to do the same thing. We've got a lot more practices left until the first game. I just want to come out every day and show that I'm improving. Like I've always said, take care of the football and just make smart decisions — coming out, protecting the ball, moving us down the field, taking it day by day. I try not to get too absorbed and just focus on myself. [I need to] take care of the business I need to take care of."

Bridgewater made similar points, as he said he hoped the Broncos could carry over the momentum they built in the first preseason game. The veteran player, though, said he has avoided thinking about the competition and the impending decision.

"I just keep being me," Bridgewater said. "Every day, I just come out and try to help this team be a better team and help the other 10 guys in the huddle be the best versions of themselves that they can be. Like I said a couple weeks ago, a decision will be made, and we'll go forward. Whatever decision is made, it's going to be a decision that we feel is best for this team. Right now, all I can focus on is continuing to get better as a player every day and being a better teammate and a better father."

Lock admitted that he sometimes thinks about the competition, saying it's "human nature" to think about the process and "overanalyze" the scenario. As the battle has gone on, though, Lock said he's done a better job of letting the concerns go and focusing on the process. That means he hasn't devoted his energy to keeping a daily tally of who won or lost the day's practice.

"No, you can't keep score," Lock said. "It was something that I said, 'I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to put more into it than what needs to be put in it.' I need to put into the film and studying the scripts and the installs and everything going into each and every day. That's where I kept my main focus — not necessarily on who played better today or how many touchdowns were thrown. That's the easy way to look at it, but I think there's a lot more that goes into this whole process."

As he went about the process, Lock said he became "a better football player" than he was a year ago and said he believes he's shown growth. And while he said he'd let the coaches decide if he'd shown enough to earn the starting job, he said he'd be confident going into 2021 if he is tabbed to lead the offense.

Regardless of whether Lock or Bridgewater wins the competition, they both admit the scenario has changed them for the better. Lock said he has an increased "sense of gratitude" for playing the position, and Bridgewater noted that the competition has "made [him] way better."

"It's one of those deals where it's like, you're one of the older guys in the room now and you have a ton of knowledge that you've gained over the years from being in the room with different guys," Bridgewater said. "For me, it's one of those deals where I get to pour it back into Drew and Brett [Rypien] and help them elevate their games while elevating my game as well."

On Saturday, Bridgewater and Lock will aim to elevate their games once again as they provide some of the few unearthed pieces of information — and as the team moves another step closer to a final decision.

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