ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos prepare for a Week 2 game in Pittsburgh, quarterback Drew Lock just wants to make the simple plays.
And for the second-year quarterback that doesn't just mean quick slants or dump-off passes to his running back.
"To me, a deep shot is a simple play," Lock said Wednesday after the team's 16-14 loss to the Titans. "It's a one-on-one matchup with a guy down the field. That's what I like to do, so I just have to keep getting better and getting familiar with everybody and doing it at game speed."
Lock finished 22-of-33 for 216 yards, a touchdown and a 95.0 quarterback rating, and Head Coach Vic Fangio said Monday that he was pleased with the way Lock played.
On deep shots down the field, though, Lock was unable to find a completion. He threw four "9" routes on Monday — otherwise known as a go route — and all four fell incomplete.
Jerry Jeudy was well covered on the first as Titans safety Amani Hooker flew over to prevent the completion, and Lock had his arm hit on another attempt. But on two other occasions, Lock had a look at an open receiver and overthrew the pass.
The most noticeable of the plays came on third-and-8 from the Tennessee 42-yard line, as Lock missed an open DaeSean Hamilton in the end zone for what likely would've been a game-clinching touchdown.
"[I] just [hit] a couple of slices on the golf course," Lock said. "You're used to piping it down the middle and sometimes you hit a slice. I just happen to hit three in back-to-back-to-back holes playing golf. I'll hit the driving range this week and try to straighten it back out and try to get the guys going, hit a couple downfield."
Lock said that continuing to gain familiarity with his receivers at game speed should help those connections — and it's likely that getting Pro Bowl wide receiver Courtland Sutton back would help as well.
Hitting on those deep passes is also about decision making, according to Lock. He said he must determine whether to fire the pass on a line or loft it high into the air, and that depends upon the receiver and the type of route.
"I'd say it just kind of depends on the guy running the route and how the DB is really playing him," Lock said. "It makes sense that there [are] the two ways to throw it. … I feel like if it's … a speed guy, you probably want to get it out there to him. You want to let a guy that can fly down the field get underneath it. If it's a bigger guy, you can body it up and put it up high to where if he's got a smaller corner on him, he can go up and get it. … It's like a rebound in basketball. You don't bring the ball down in basketball if you're the big guy. … There's times for both. I've got to be better with the decision when to throw the different types of balls."
If last season is any indication — Lock's first touchdown pass to Sutton came on a "9" route — the young quarterback should be able to adapt soon.
"I'm excited about going into Week 2 with a lot of things we can improve on this week," Lock said. "Hopefully it'll show on Sunday."