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(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)
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Mile High Monday: Scangarello’s woes extend far and wide

(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)

The Broncos might have found something they’ve sorely been missing – a young franchise quarterback – on Sunday against the Chargers. With Joe Flacco done for the year and backup Brandon Allen struggling, the Broncos finally turned to 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock as their starter.

He got off to a great start and led the Broncos to a 23-20 win over the Chargers on Sunday. Things weren’t always smooth with the young quarterback, but he did enough to fire up his team and get the win in his first start.

I like when this team has hope. Lock may or may not be the long-term answer at the quarterback position, but he certainly gives the team hope that they may be on the right track when it comes to finding a quality player at the most important position.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ – especially in all this snow! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Ya’ll Got Any More of Them Rookie QBs?

There is no denying that I was excited to see Lock start for the Broncos on Sunday. The Broncos had a plan for 2019 that was Flacco and that was a bad plan. Things change quickly in the NFL, and when Flacco just couldn’t play at a high level, this team had to start thinking about other ways to approach the quarterback situation.

All of us on The Fan began discussing when Lock would be the starter back in October. It did not take a rocket scientist to project that Week 13 against the Chargers was a likely starting point for that to happen. The Broncos wanted to give Lock time to practice and see what he learned when studying while on Injured Reserve. They also wanted to avoid having him start a couple of games on the road against tough opponents like the Vikings and the Bills.

Anyone could see that the Chargers game was likely going to be started by Lock – so long as he proved that he was ready behind the scenes. Before the game, I tweeted out a GIF that showed my excitement for Lock’s first start.

Do yourself a favor and check out some of the GIFs that I got back in reply to this tweet. The internet remains undefeated, and you can see how several fans in Broncos Country – both good and bad – shared their emotions before Lock started the game. I got a big smile out of most of the responses.

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Scangarello Denied?

We learned two interesting things about offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello after the game. One tidbit was revealed from Fangio and the other was revealed from wide receiver Courtland Sutton.

The first tidbit was about the end of the game. Fangio revealed that he disagreed with an “offensive coach” (likely Scangarello) about what the team should do with little time remaining and the score tied up.

“The first thought that the offensive coach said, ‘Just take a knee.’ I said, ‘No.’ First, I was looking for a play that could get a big chunk over the middle, bang a timeout. We didn’t like that as much. I said, ‘Let’s go down the sideline and see what happens,’” Fangio said.

The Broncos saw what happened; Lock launched a deep pass for Sutton that fell incomplete but drew a pass-interference penalty that set them up for the game-winning field goal.

Sutton then revealed in his post-game press conference that his first touchdown catch from Lock came on a play where the rookie quarterback told him to run a different route from what the play design had in order.

“You know what’s crazy? I wasn’t supposed to run that route. Drew (Lock) told me to run it, which I was happy that he told me to do, because I’m not going to go off-schedule. But him telling me to do it, it was awesome, and it was cool to be able to get a touchdown from him and get us rolling, get his confidence going and get the momentum on our side,” Sutton said.

Scangarello has upside as an offensive coach, but things haven’t been very smooth with him this year. It’s interesting to note these stories from Sunday when considering what direction things go for the inexperienced coach for the rest of 2019 and beyond.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

I have led the #FeedPhil campaign on Twitter. For weeks, I have been begging the Broncos to dump the running-back-by-committee approach they had with Lindsay and backup Royce Freeman. Earlier this season, Freeman was out-snapping and sometimes out-touching Lindsay on offense with results that weren’t that impressive.

Things changed there a few weeks ago, but the results haven’t been what I (and most Broncos fans) wanted. During the last three weeks, Lindsay has been the lead ball-carrier for the Broncos but has only compiled 67, 57 and 58 yards, respectively. Even adding in his work as a receiver, Lindsay has failed to crack 100 all-purpose yards since Week 5. In fact, he’s only done that twice this season – and both much earlier in the year.

The problem is not with Lindsay. He is who we know him to be and he’s got a fine game as a running back. Lindsay runs with plenty of energy and does not back down from a challenge. He could use work as a receiver as his hands are not as natural as Freeman’s but Lindsay should be able to produce at a higher level than he’s currently achieving.

So what is the problem? It’s really the way teams are approaching this Broncos team. For weeks, opponents have stacked the line to stuff the run against Lindsay – daring the team to beat them with the pass. It only makes sense as over the last few weeks the Broncos have started inexperienced quarterbacks.

Lock could make Lindsay better in the near future. Once Lock starts earning a reputation as a quarterback who can beat you with his arm, teams will adjust their defensive game plan. When that happens, Lindsay will be there to beat them with his explosive skill set.

We are seeing the Broncos feed Phil – he just needs to wait for a bigger piece of the pie.

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Rockin’ the Seas

It’s a trend for bands to set sail and have concerts and fan experiences on a cruise ship, and it was announced last month that one of my favorite bands – Coheed and Cambria – was planning to set sail for the first time on one of those cruises.

I don’t get into new music that much and am perfectly fine listening to the bands I grew up with over and over again. However, when I first heard Coheed and Cambria years ago I fell in love with their “prog rock” sound. Add in the fact that most of their albums tell a comic book story called “The Amory Wars” and a super nerd like me was hooked.

I’m not much of one for vacation – especially during football season – but I might have to look into this rock and roll adventure. Have you gone on a cruise like this with your favorite band? If so, let me know about your experience on social media!