Share this story...
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 8: Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos warms before a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Latest News

Mile High Monday: Even during quarantine, Drew Lock is hitting the books

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and much to the chagrin of some, the league is not going to push it back or reschedule the event. We are all dealing with this coronavirus pandemic, but it’s good that the NFL is still there to provide a much-needed distraction.

The draft is a huge event on the sporting calendar and draws a TV audience that has regularly been larger than games in the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final and World Series.

I like the fact that the draft is going on as scheduled. The NFL can keep everyone safe with distance and through the power of videos on the internet, we can check in with players as they’re selected. It’s going to be much different than what was expected as originally planned in Las Vegas, but we first must prioritize public safety. Having the draft online will do just that.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ – thank God for warmer weather in April! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

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

***

Be Kind and Rewind

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is throwing five days a week at a spot near his parents’ home in Kansas City during the coronavirus shutdown and has been studying the team’s new offensive playbook while watching recent Giants film due to new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur coming on board.

It’s good to hear from Lock in his interview with Phil Milani from DenverBroncos.com. Lock is staying busy training as much as he can, using an Elevation mask to run outside in the neighborhood. The part of the interview that caught my ear the most was the fact that he’s watching the 2019 Giants.

Last year, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones started most of the games for the Giants. The 2019 first-round pick is their franchise quarterback as the team moved on from Eli Manning last year. I saw both Jones and Lock compete against each other at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January of 2019 and I must say that Lock was much more impressive during that time.

While Jones had some shades of Carson Wentz to his game, he wasn’t as consistent on film as he needed to be. Jones would have good games, but he would miss on throws and plays that would’ve made his film great. His level of competition at Duke was also not as strong as what Lock played in the SEC at Missouri.

I had Lock graded as a first-round pick, while I had Jones graded as a late first- or early second-round pick. Simply put, Lock has better skill and higher upside in my opinion.

It’s great to hear that Lock is watching Jones and the Giants from last year to pluck information about how Shurmur is going to get things done. Lock is on his own to develop and get better. I know some people want the Broncos to add a quarterback to push him, but that’s not going to happen with free agent addition Jeff Driskel. Lock has to motivate himself to be the best he can be, and I have full confidence that he can do that.

This news item only strengthens my faith in Lock’s ability to get that done.

***

Extension to the Back Burner

Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay is set to become a restricted free agent in 2021, and while general manager John Elway has yet to completely dismiss the possibility of signing him to a long-term contract, he doesn’t appear to be motivated to address the matter anytime soon.

“We’ll see what happens,” Elway said last week about the situation. “That’s not a guarantee.”

The Broncos plan was to address the Lindsay contract situation after the draft and free agency. Well, the draft hasn’t happened yet, but is going to occur at the end of this month. That means the Broncos could be looking to add some money to Lindsay’s contract sometime later this summer – if they go ahead and do that.

I started the hashtag #FeedPhil last year on Twitter because I didn’t think former offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was not using the running back enough. We have seen Lindsay get more than 1,000 yards rushing each of the last two years, but that’s it. Lindsay has the talent, in my opinion, to be a complete back if given the chance.

With Melvin Gordon here to be the featured back, Lindsay is unlikely to get that chance.

Lindsay is not going to give the top job away, but if things are close in training camp, then the team is going to lean towards Gordon because of his $8 million per year average price tag. Shurmur is running the offense and historically does not use two running backs, something I’ve gone over on 1043TheFan.com.

The contract talks between Lindsay and the Broncos are on the back burner, and we’ll have to see if they ever get to the front of the line before Lindsay becomes a free agent.

***

Tip of The Iceberg

Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton led all receivers with 12 broken tackles on receptions in 2019. The Steelers Diontae Johnson, former Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins and Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp tied for second among receivers with nine. Sutton is big, powerful and has good speed to get open deep – and those skills all helped him record the first 1,000-yard season of his career in 2019.

Sutton isn’t even close to being done. In fact, he’s just shown us the tip of the iceberg.

Look at what he did last year with three different quarterbacks, two of which (Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen) weren’t that good. Sutton was able to adapt quickly to become the lead receiver last season, and he continued to take strides to be even more dominant after the team traded Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers.

It will be incredibly exciting to see what Sutton can do in his third season in the pros. This is going to be an interesting offseason because it’s likely to be a shortened one due to the coronavirus. Good thing Sutton and Lock got in plenty of work together last year.

Even if the Broncos add a wide receiver with a premium pick in the 2020 NFL draft, Sutton is still going to be the lead receiver and Lock’s favorite target. It won’t surprise me if Sutton produces like a top-five receiver in the NFL this season.

***

Three Wheels of Fun

I was checking in with my sister, Cari, this weekend just to make sure she was doing okay and she sent me a meme that took me down memory lane. We grew up in the country on a ranch/feedlot north of Grover, Colo., and one of my main modes of transportation on the ranch was a Honda three wheeler.

It’s amazing these things were legal at any point in time because they were super dangerous. I survived multiple accidents on the thing. I once hit a ditch going as fast as it could, only to roll the ATV. Another time, I was driving at dusk and drove through a fence where I took a wire to my neck that knocked me off the back. Throw in other flips, getting my foot trapped under the back tire and hitting a pickup on a blind curve head on, and it’s amazing that I made it past 10 years old.

It wasn’t too long that I transitioned to riding a Kawasaki 125 dirt bike, which ignited my lifelong love of motorcycles. In fact, I learned to ride a dirt bike before I rode a bicycle because of where I grew up. I put the three wheeler away and transitioned to two wheels. I still had a ton of wrecks on motorcycles but they are not as dangerous as that old Honda was.

Did you have one of these dangerous machines? What other reckless activities were routine during your youth? Hit me up on social media and let’s reminisce.