ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As Drew Lock rehabs from an injury to his ribs and prepares to potentially make his 13th career start, he'll aim to both learn from his mistakes from a week ago and have selective amnesia.
The second-year quarterback threw four interceptions against the Raiders, but he recognized that he cannot dwell on mistakes from Week 10.
"I didn't even know I threw four last weekend," Lock quipped. "No, you've got to wash them away. You can't think about it. You have to watch it, obviously learn from it, and then evaluate yourself after that game and see what you could have done different on those plays and try not to do it going into the other weeks. That's all you can do. You can't sulk, you can't feel bad for yourself. No one's going to feel bad for you in this league, ever. You've got to just keep pushing forward."
As he pushes forward, he'll aim to avoid the "oh no" moments that have plagued him over the last several weeks. When he looked back at the film from a loss in Las Vegas, Lock noticed several of those errors.
"It confirms what I expected to see," Lock said. "There are some really bad plays and then there are some really good plays. It's all about just minimizing the really bad plays.
"It's funny, half the time, right as the ball leaves my hand, I'm like, 'That's not going to be a good one.' It's just one of those gut things right as you let it go, it's like, 'Oh no.' Every quarterback has those moments, it's just about limiting those moments. The defense is going to beat you, they're going to beat you a play or two here and there. It's OK to understand that that's a part of this game and the people across the ball get paid a lot to do what they do too. I've just got to start thinking that way and still be aggressive — always be aggressive — but still notice that."
Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said he always calls games to maximize scoring chances, but he agreed that the Broncos needed to remain aggressive and efficient.
The team's first priority, though, is to avoid back-breaking turnovers.
"You can't turn the ball over like we did against the Raiders and expect to win games," Shurmur said. "We look at each play specifically. You take it right from the fundamentals onto the decision-making and you try to improve it. I think that's what you do. None of us are patient, none of us think that turning the ball over is a good thing, and we can't do it like we did last weekend and expect to win games and move forward."
HOW FANT STACKS UP
Noah Fant remains on pace in 2020 to break his rookie totals, but the 2019 first-round pick hasn't quite reached his goal of being one of the league's most-productive tight ends. Fant ranks 10th among tight ends in receiving yards, though it's important to note just 20 yards separate him and Hunter Henry, who ranks fifth among tight ends. Fant's 35 receptions are tied for eighth, and his two touchdowns are tied for 17th.
Despite the lack of elite production, Fangio said Fant has met his expectations coming into the season.
"I think he's pretty much met them," Fangio said. "Obviously, he and we — all of us — would like him to have more touches, more yards, more touchdowns — that's just normal. I think Noah's made good strides from Year 1 to Year 2, and I expect him to continue that. He's got the right mindset, he's a good worker, he's prideful and he's a competitor, and I see the improvements daily from him."
Given the small margin of separation, it's quite possible he could still rank in the top five in several statistical categories by year's end.
AT THE LINE
Asked Thursday about identifying blitzes and changing protections at the line of scrimmage, Lock brought up a key point that has largely flown under the radar.
A season ago, as Lock made his first five starts, he was able to rely upon a veteran center in Connor McGovern. This season, he's working with a rookie in Lloyd Cushenberry III.
"I'm definitely farther ahead than I was last year," Lock said of calling out pressures. "The thing that helped me a lot last year was having a veteran guy. A guy that played tackle, he's played guard, and he's played center, and that was his second year at center where he's been in the league for a minute. [We've] talked about our young skilled athletes, [but] a lot of people forget about 'Cush' and the rookie he is and me and him both having to work together to get these blitzes picked up. It's not easy."
Lock said he expects he and Cushenberry will continue to make progress — particularly against unscouted looks — as the season continues.