Watching Lamar Jackson decimate the NFL during an MVP-caliber season, it’s not hard to see why the Broncos have struggled to develop their own franchise signal caller.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman devised a scheme that Jackson is familiar with from college, which highlights his skill set. This isn’t a new concept.
Just look to last year’s MVP, Patrick Mahomes, snuggled into the comfort of an offense Andy Reid replicated from Texas Tech. The Broncos last opponent, the Bills, are enjoying success with an offense built for Josh Allen to run similar concepts as he did in Laramie.
The Broncos, meanwhile, will be marching Drew Lock under center as soon as this Sunday. “Under center” are the key words, as you shouldn’t expect to see Lock playing primarily in the shotgun as he did in college.
No, they’ll be forcing the rookie to play in their system; running the West Coast offense with five- and seven-step drops after taking a snap from directly behind Connor McGovern’s backside. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of these plays during Lock’s entire Missouri career, but now he’ll be asked to do that at the sports highest level.
Good luck, kid.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though. The last quarterback the Broncos selected high in the draft was Paxton Lynch who they actually traded up in the first round to pick. Lynch’s offense at Memphis was even farther away from the West Coast offense than Lock’s at Mizzou.
It was an entire system of designed quarterback runs and simple reads, all from the shotgun. Yet after making a sizable investment in Lynch, John Elway allowed Gary Kubiak, Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave to shoehorn the first-round pick into their respective systems. While Lynch’s career appears it would’ve derailed no matter how he was coached, it’s hard to believe he was put in the best position to succeed.
The Broncos actually have sculpted their offense during the past decade to two of their quarterbacks. In 2011, starting with a game in Oakland, they scrapped a conventional offense in favor of Tim Tebow’s Florida system. They’d go 6-3 with that scheme before winning a wild card playoff game against Pittsburgh; you may remember it. The other passer they tailored their offense to was Peyton Manning, who went on to lead the most-prolific offense in NFL history; think about that when watching the current Broncos attack.
Puzzlingly, the team now appears headstrong about sticking to their scheme despite their own past successes and others around the league. As they ready for Drew Lock’s debut, here’s hoping Rich Scangarello takes a page from the Ravens and revisits Lock’s college offense before calling that first bootleg, multiple-read pass from under center.
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