In a five-match audition to close the 2019 season, QB Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos won an extraordinary feat. The key is passed for 1,020 yards with a percentage of completion of 64.1 and a TD-to-3 ratio of 7 to 3.

Rookie helped lead the Broncos to a 4-1 finish, giving the franchise a real opportunity in arms and a feeling of upward mobility.

Along the way, Lock set several league and team records. But the knock on Lock, which is now familiar to Broncos fans, is that the five-game sample size is too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

I will debate the whole premise because it’s not as if we didn’t learn anything about Lock during that five week span. But there is some truth to the idea of ​​requiring a larger sample size to be projected forward with a degree of accuracy.

The statistics of the Rookie Lock audition are problematic, but also difficult to pursue because of the sample size, is its efficiency as a deep passer. Because he was a beginner, and because he only appeared in five matches, he didn’t receive many opportunities to throw it deep.

But as we learned this week from Pro Football Focus – the cutting-edge analytical outfit on the internet – it is an area of ​​the Lock game that he must emphasize to improve, especially in a more vertical-oriented scheme than the new OC Pat Shurmur.

PFF ranks the initial NFL quarterback based on the passing value in, and Lock registers at No. 33. PFF passes a deep pass because of a throw that is 20 yards or more.

There are only 32 teams. This is what PFF said.


27.3% percentage of completion, 8.7 yards per effort, 55.9 Passing Rank

Drew Lock only took 11 shots in this season, so this number comes with a significant sample size, but it feels more valuable than analyzing Joe Flacco fight. Key only completed three of 11 attempts to pass for 96 yards and score, but he also had one pick off. Obviously, he needs to improve from here if he wants to succeed in Denver.

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The Takeaway

Once again, as indicated by the PFF, Lock only tried 11 attempts to pass at least 20 yards, so much of this we had to take with a grain of salt. But as I said, we cannot completely ignore it based only on the sample size argument.

Shurmur is a far more aggressive coach, as evidenced by QB Daniel Jones of the New York Giants, who was also a beginner last year. Shurmur and current QB Broncos coach, Mike Shula (then Giants’ OC), coached Jones last year and while QB started 12 games (compared to five Lock), the percentage of completion, yards per effort and crossing rankings on shots on the 20th field – more yards is better than Lock.

Jones’s longer audition seemed to allow him more opportunities to get into rhythm and bond with the recipient, and get into more grooves with his coach and what Shurmur and Shula tried to achieve offensively. Jones finished his rookie year with 3,027 yards while completing 61.9% of his passes and posting a 24-to-12 TD-to-INT ratio.

If the coaching duo can get such a level of production from Jones, QB with a lower tool than Lock, I hope, to get some impressive numbers from Broncos signal callers. Towards Year 2, Lock has handed over every tool to succeed.

He can use the time to throw with the recipient and get the same page so that his deep-ball efficiency can increase in 2020 but with players and coaches still prohibited from using team facilities (for now), if Lock wants to get some representatives with people the person, he has to organize something personally, away from the Dove Valley. Now that Lock has returned to Denver, I hope that happens sooner than later.

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

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