QB Drew Lock adjusting to playbook, play calls as NFL career begins

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Drew Lock knew what to do.

He just didn’t quite know how to say it.

At Lock’s first practice as a Bronco, the moments after the play began weren’t so difficult. His arm felt good, and he knew where to go with the football.

But in the huddle — when Lock needed to gather his teammates and deliver a play call – things weren’t as easy.

“The language was a little different,” Lock said. “I think it’s different when you have to spit the play out. It’s tougher spitting the play out than it is actually going out there and knowing what the play is. That is going to be a little adjustment for me, but nothing that a little saying the word and the plays in the mirror isn’t going to fix tonight. I’ll have to dive into that a little bit.”

That’s to be expected after the team’s first rookie minicamp practice, especially when Lock is learning plays that he said can be 10 or 12 words long.

“They’ve put a little bit on us, but that is what you expect when you come out here and it’s your first time playing in the NFL,” Lock said. “You expect a lot. I think, like I said, the most [difficult thing] about it is just the wordage. Ten-, 12-word plays, you kind of get scrambled up. You’ve got words that kind of rhyme in each play call. It’s definitely different, but it’s going to get fixed.”

Lock said he plans to spend “probably three-and-a-half” hours on Friday night working on play calls while looking in the mirror. That’s a lot of time, but Lock joked that he’ll “deal with looking at myself.”

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello and Quarterbacks Coach T.C. McCartney will likely also help Lock with that adjustment. Scangarello, whom Lock spoke with during the quarterback’s pre-draft visit, was already on the headset with the rookie quarterback during the team’s first minicamp practice.

Lock said Scangarello runs a similar offense to the one the 49ers implemented during this year’s Senior Bowl. Lock played for the Niners-coached squad, so he got an early look at what his future offensive coordinator could call.

“I got here, Coach ‘Scang’ and the boys came over and it ended up being some of the same stuff that we had already talked about,” Lock said. “I wasn’t sitting there in those meetings thinking I was going to actually need this information. It’s the 49ers’ offense [and they were] probably not drafting a quarterback. But it came full circle.”

Now Lock must continue to process his playbook and transfer the play call from the headset to the huddle — and then to the play itself.

As he works toward proficiency, he said he’ll evaluate his progress on a daily basis.

“I’m going to take it day by day for right now,” Lock said. “Obviously, trying to better myself, but at the same time when the vets get here, getting to know them and getting to talk to them. Just [trying] to be the best teammate that I can. I’m probably going to take it day by day and evaluate myself every day. [I will] figure out what I need to do better and keep a book running of the things I thought I did well that day and try to take it to the next day with things I need to fix.”

In the meantime, Lock will continue to enjoy days like Friday. As he explained after his first practice with his new team, there’s hardly a better feeling. 

“It felt really good because you go through this whole process and [you’re] just waiting for that moment to finally step out on the field with a bunch of guys, finally get the football in your hands and start running some plays,” Lock said of his first practice. “If I had to put one word into it, I’d put ‘great.’ I felt great out there today. It was awesome to be out there.”

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