ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There's more to being a quarterback than being able to throw a tight spiral.
On the field and in the locker room, decision-making and poise are crucial to a quarterback's success. During Monday's practice, Drew Lock showed both of those traits as he led the Broncos' offense to perhaps its most successful session of camp.
After practice, though, Lock showed that maturity extends beyond UCHealth Training Center.
Asked if he was taking extra precautions against COVID-19 given the value of his position, Lock spoke to the need for he and his teammates to be willing to sacrifice.
"It's really easy, right, for all of us to be safe," Lock said. "We're here from this early in the morning [until] late at night. All you want to do when you're done is go home, get your rest and start the day back up. I think the real thing is going to be when we get to a game-prep week. [We'll] have a couple off days, the nights aren't as long as camp, and the mornings aren't as early to where guys might feel like they have a little free time. It's my responsibility to remind us that this is a very important season for all of us and an important season for everybody. It's also very important for us to stay healthy and realize that if we really do love the game as much as we say we do, we should be willing to sacrifice a little bit of free time and some time out of football. I know personally I love it enough to be able to give that up."
The long-term health and safety of the Broncos' roster is clearly more important than a player's availability for a football game, but losing Lock or a similarly important player to the Reserve/COVID-19 list would clearly impact the Broncos' chances.
If Lock and teammates show a commitment to the sacrifice he discussed Monday, the odds of being at such a disadvantage should decrease.
In the facility, of course, the Broncos have implemented a series of protocols that have helped protect the team against COVID-19. Those measures were thorough enough that defensive lineman Mike Purcell didn't think much about opting out of the season.
"From what I've seen with Denver from the first week that we got here, they were doing everything they can with protocols," Purcell said. "For me, it never really crossed my mind too much. Without even having an offseason I've just missed football that much. For me, it's I want to get out and I want to play. It never really crossed my mind too much. I do have a wife and kids at home. It does worry me a little with them. My wife at home with the kids is taking every precaution she can. We're just doing everything that we can together. That's all we can do. You can control what you can control. If something happens, you're going to fight and roll with the punches. It's nothing that really crossed my mind too much about opting out.
"If I've got an opportunity to play football, I'm going to play football."
NO PRESSURE ON JEUDY
A few days after Kareem Jackson levied heavy praise on the 2020 15th-overall pick, Lock declined to heap pressure on the rookie wide receiver.
"We'll say Jerry [Jeudy] is pretty good," Lock said. "We'll put it that way. I'm not putting anything out there and establishing expectations for that young man to hold up, because I know if someone would have said that I was the best thrower they've ever seen last year, I would have gone into games with a little bit of added pressure. Jerry has been great. I think the best thing that I've seen out of Jerry is how hard he comes out and works every day and just how on top of it he is — no questions asked. I pop in there and call plays out. Same with [WR] KJ [Hamler], same with [TE] Albert [Okwuegbunam] and same with a lot of these guys. I've just been extremely impressed with how much work the guys around us have been putting in to be able to come out ready to go every single day knowing that we don't have very many days to be ready for that Monday night game against Tennessee."
LIVE PERIODS AHEAD
The Broncos put the pads on for the first time Monday, but they didn't tackle to the ground. Those "live" periods could be on their way in the near future as the team prepares for Week 1 without the benefit of preseason games.
"We'll probably have short-yardage goal line period at the end of this week," Head Coach Vic Fangio said. "We'll probably have some live action before the end of camp. How many days we'll do that or how long in each practice has yet to be determined, but we will do some of that."