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QB Jeff Driskel prepared to help Drew Lock, Broncos win games


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Not long after Jeff Driskel agreed to terms to become the Broncos' backup quarterback, his phone lit up.

Drew Lock, the team's starter, contacted Driskel almost immediately to welcome the fourth-year player to Denver and to the Broncos' quarterback room.

"He actually reached out to me right when I had signed, which I thought was really classy and just a really cool icebreaker to get to know each other just a little bit, as much as you can over the phone or text," Driskel said via conference call Thursday.

The team's playbook? That took longer to arrive, as Driskel had to officially finalize his two-year contract before the Broncos could send over hard copy of Pat Shurmur's offense.

The playbook arrived via FedEx, though, and Driskel now has plenty of time to learn the system and help Lock get ready for the 2020 season.

"There's going to be a big learning curve," Driskel said. "I've got a lot to learn, but I'll have a lot of time to study, and I've had to learn a bunch of offenses over the course of my football career. I'm no rookie when it comes to learning a new system. It'll just be in a different environment this year."

Driskel, of course, was referring to the uncertain start to the NFL's offseason program because of the novel coronavirus. The NFL previously announced that offseason programs were delayed indefinitely. The Broncos were previously eligible to begin their workouts on April 20.

"Hopefully we can get out to Denver all together and go through some type of offseason program, but we're just not really sure how that's going to work this year," Driskel said.

When he does arrive in Denver, Driskel said he hopes to help Lock by any means necessary and bring a "healthy, competitive spirit" to the quarterback room.

"I don't know much about him except I've seen him play a few times, and I know he's a really good player with a lot of upside, and I'm looking forward to working with him and helping him out in any way I can," Driskel said. "Not just helping him, but helping all my teammates and doing whatever I can to help our organization win games."

Lock finished his rookie season 4-1 as a starter after spending most of the season on injured reserve with a thumb injury.

Driskel, meanwhile, started three games for the Lions in 2019 after he replaced an injured Matt Stafford. Driskel then suffered a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve. He also started five games for Cincinnati in 2018 after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by San Francisco.

"In the NFL, especially playing the quarterback position, game reps and getting out there and starting some games is hard to come by," Driskel said. "Stafford, when I was out there, he hadn't missed a game in like eight years. Obviously you never want to see anybody go down like that, but it was a blessing for me to get out there and get a couple more games under my belt, showcase my talents to the league and just whenever you get more reps, you're more comfortable. You've been in more situations. I think it'll help me moving forward and it just brings some experience when you get that experience, you're a lot more comfortable going out there."

The Florida product completed 59 percent of his passes for 685 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Driskel also ran the ball more than seven times per game and averaged 6.9 yards per carry.

"Guys like me love to see guys running around making plays, and more and more starters in this league are making plays running around, and it's effective," Driskel said. "If you go ask defensive guys if they have to account for a quarterback running the ball, it's a whole new game plan. I think other people being successful with it in the league — whether it's running the football or off-schedule plays — I think that's helped me a lot. It doesn't matter how you score points as long as you're scoring points."

Now with the Broncos, Driskel will have a chance to both assist Lock and prove to the coaching staff that he's a capable fill-in, if the situation arises.

"Going into free agency, you never really know where you might end up," Driskel said. "It's a matter of a fit with the team and a fit with yourself. I kind of identified Denver early on in the process as one of, if not my target destination, just because I've heard so many good things about the organization, the culture and then the quarterback room with Drew. Then Coach Shurmur, just kind of seeing how he's worked with [Giants QB] Daniel [Jones] last year and just all the improvement that he had.

"I just felt like it was a really good fit for myself and for the team, and I'm just looking forward to getting out there."

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