The Broncos have a new starting quarterback who has an undefeated record. Granted, it was only one game, but Brandon Allen is 1-0 after beating the Browns on Sunday.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio has a bit of praise for the young quarterback after the game.
“He did well. I thought he ran the offense well, showed a little mobility, made some good throws, missed a few too. We’re not ready to put him in Canton yet, but overall pleased with the way he played,” Fangio said.
The Broncos now have a bye in Week 10. While the players are going to take off, rest up and get ready for the next seven games of the season, Allen might take a different approach. Some players have been battling all season long and their bodies need time to heal and recover. This week off will do them some good in terms of getting their body right.
Allen doesn’t have to worry about that because he has only played one game this season. He doesn’t need time to recover because his body just started taking the beating of the NFL season on Sunday. So, with this extra time, Allen should be focused on the next game as we don’t know how long his opportunity as the starter is going to last.
So, what’s next for Allen? Let’s take a look ahead.
Allen did not get any snaps with the first-team offense during the first two months of the season. Just the mere act of practicing with the first-stringers is going to make him better. His debut was good against the Browns, but there were some plays and some throws he could have done differently.
Allen had nerves (of course) in his first start. Those butterflies in his stomach should dissipate as he continues to work as the starter. This calm feeling could help him perform better early in games and hit some of the easier throws to get into a rhythm.
“I don’t know if it was an emotional thing, but I think I was just little bit amped to start the game. I missed a few easy throws that I know I can hit. I think just being able to calm down, and once I got going a little bit in the game, just to settle the emotions if anything, was beneficial for me,” Allen said.
Fangio had no problem highlighting what Allen must do when the team starts practicing next week.
“Just to continue to operate the offense. I think another week of practice will do him wonders, which we’ll do when we come back from the bye and we’ll have an extra practice that week. He’s at the point where he knows our offense and he’s been in our meetings since he’s gotten here. Now, he’s getting an opportunity to practice more. Just practice, I think, will produce the improvements we’re looking for.” Fangio said.
Don’t Worry About Lock
There are plenty of Broncos fans that want to see 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock as the team’s starter – even though Allen looked okay in his first start and the Broncos won the game. Lock could be the quarterback of the future for the Broncos. He hasn’t been practicing with the team just yet, even though he’s recovered from the thumb injury that forced him to injured reserve at the start of the regular season.
On Monday, Fangio did not commit to Lock returning to the practice field when the team comes back.
“It’s still up in the air. Since we’re not practicing this week, we don’t have to make a decision until next week,” Fangio said.
Allen can’t worry about Lock. This is his job for at least the next couple of weeks. Allen needs to focus on himself and improving his performance on the field.
While Allen may not have the same skill set as Lock, he also is in the driver’s seat. If he performs well, then Lock will have to sit the bench even if he comes back to practice and is one of the Broncos “designated to return” players.
Lock has a big arm and is very athletic. He’s got the mental makeup and athletic arrogance of an NFL starter, plus Lock has a chip on his shoulder from falling to the second round of the draft. However, Allen is much more mechanically sound than Lock.
Allen’s footwork is on point, and he does a good job of setting his feet correctly before firing a pass – even if he’s throwing on the run. He has been in the league a lot longer than Lock, and his technique as a passer is much more refined.
Lock has the upside to be a quality starter in the NFL, but don’t expect this team just to hand him the job. He’s going to have to beat Allen out in practice. Allen has a leg up because he sits at the top of the depth chart. If he wants to stay there, he won’t worry about Lock over these next few weeks.
The next opponent for the Broncos is going to be a lot tougher than the Browns. Not only are the Vikings a better defense, the Broncos are playing on the road.
In 2019, The Vikings have one of the most-talented pass defenses in the league. Their defensive line has one of the most-dangerous pass-rushing duos in the league with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. Hunter has 8.5 sacks this year, and Griffin has 5.5 sacks after nine games. At the linebacker level, Eric Kendricks performs as one of the best all-purpose players at his position. He leads the team with 10 pass breakups and can make plays in coverage.
The secondary features two great safeties in Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith. They both can make plays as run-defenders or roam around the field in coverage. The Vikings have only allowed two passing touchdowns of more than 30 yards or more to opposing wide receivers.
They play strong on the back end of the defense even though the cornerbacks are struggling based on expectations and previous high-level play. Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mike Hughes all have talent and benefit from having a strong front seven in front of them creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Vikings traveled to Kansas City to play the Chiefs in Week 9. They didn’t get the win, but there were some plays the Chiefs made that the Broncos could try to duplicate. Allen can go ahead and start studying up on this team a bit early. He should enjoy the bye week and his time off, but Allen got here because of a strong work ethic. Even though he’s supposed to be taking a break, Allen could likely get a head start and peek at the Vikings defense a few times this week.
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