Kiz: With a 2-5 record, the Broncos aren’t going anywhere this season, unless you count the veteran players John Elway decides to move at the trade deadline. Although Joe Flacco is far from the worst of Denver’s problems, he’s also definitely not the long-term answer at quarterback. We need to see Drew Lock, not only to evaluate how his skills translate to the NFL level, but also to generate fan interest, so the no-show count for home games doesn’t climb to 10,000. How soon should the Broncos make the switch at quarterback?
O’Halloran: This season feels like it started forever ago (mid-July report date) and has forever to go (nine games). The best and probably only way to spice things up and get to the finish line is by going to Lock. By December, Broncos fans will be looking for a reason to attend games in potentially iffy weather and Lock is that reason.
Kiz: Itching to see what the kid from Mizzou can do, I’ve been pushing for Lock to start ASAP. My desire to put him in the starting lineup Nov. 3 against Cleveland has waned, though. I can explain why in two words: Garett Bolles. This Denver offensive line is so bad, it’s not conducive to the development of a young quarterback. We all know I don’t come to my senses very often. But I’m in no hurry to see Lock get the snot, as well as his confidence, knocked out of him.
O’Halloran: My preseason guess on Lock’s debut was Week 16 against Detroit because I figured the Broncos, while flawed, were just good enough to remain in wild-card contention into December. It’s not headed that way, which should push up the move to Lock. But I grant your point about Bolles, the embattled left tackle. Only Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston/Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (25 apiece) and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton (24) has been sacked more than Flacco (23). If a veteran can’t find ways to avoid pressure, would Lock be doomed? Possibly, and that could play into the Broncos’ decision, which is a disappointing commentary about Bolles.
Kiz: With it looking as if the Broncos will select somewhere in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft, they either need conclusive proof Lock can be the man or must strongly consider picking a quarterback in the first round. I say give Lock a five-game trial in the month of December, when the schedule offers winnable home dates against the Chargers, Lions and Raiders. What happens if Lock flops? Well, look on the bright side. Every loss could nudge Denver toward a more advantageous draft position.
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O’Halloran: Left tackle should be at the top of the Broncos’ round 1 list because if they believe in Lock, the mission should be to surround him with functional talent. But just to make sure, they should debut him Dec. 8 at Houston. Sure, it’s on the road and against J.J. Watt, but Lock will have to face the elite pass rushers at some point. This will give him four games of experience and allow the Broncos to decide if he merits a shot at being the guy in 2020.