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Drew Lock: strange offseason hasn’t curbed his expectations

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic forced NFL teams into an unconventional offseason and wiped out the entire preseason, two factors that led Broncos general manager John Elway to temper his expectations for second-year quarterback Drew Lock in 2020. Lock’s own ambitions haven’t abated one bit.“Not being able to be with the guys as…

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic forced NFL teams into an unconventional offseason and wiped out the entire preseason, two factors that led Broncos general manager John Elway to temper his expectations for second-year quarterback Drew Lock in 2020.

Lock’s own ambitions haven’t abated one bit.

“Not being able to be with the guys as much as you normally would is not going to change how I feel going into the season,” Lock said Friday. “I still want to do the things … I thought we could do this year.”

The first offseason after a quarterback’s rookie year usually is crucial to his development and his chances for long-term success because it’s the first time he’s immersed in the pro game and can absorb advanced concepts that build on the crash course from his rookie year.

Lock and three other members of last year’s rookie QB class — the Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew, the Giants’ Daniel Jones and Washington’s Dwayne Haskins — not only missed out on that in-person progress but also were left to navigate a catch-up training camp while operating out of a new system.

Former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is the new offensive coordinator in Denver, joining Jay Gruden (Jacksonville), Jason Garrett (New York) and Scott Turner (Washington) in bringing new playbooks to second-year QBs.

After Lock went 4-1 last December, Elway spent his offseason building around him, signing free agents Graham Glasgow and Melvin Gordon and drafting Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Lloyd Cushenberry III and Albert Okwuegbunam, all of whom could be starting come September.

Given all the changes, Elway was asked this week if expectations for Lock in Year 2 should be tempered.

“Yeah, they’re definitely tempered,” Elway said. “I don’t think we can expect with no offseason for us to come out and be hitting on all cylinders. I know that we have spent a lot of time in Zoom meetings and Pat and his staff on the offensive side have spent a lot of time with it. But there’s nothing like being on the practice field. It’s going to be a slow build.

“The expectations of Drew — I mean, he did play well for five games, but that was only five games last year. He didn’t have the offseason this year, which for young football players is always very, very important. I know he spent a lot of time throwing to the receivers and getting the timing and doing what they could do away from the facility. We’re very young on the offensive side.”

Because Lock spent three months on IR last year with an injured thumb on his throwing hand, he’s essentially still a rookie, and Elway said back in 1983 “I always remember as a rookie it was important for me to see other helmets and not just Bronco helmets.”

The NFL scuttled the entire four-week preseason at the players’ request to allow them to slowly ramp up their football fitness, something that’s both beneficial and detrimental as the roster gets built.

“I was hoping for a couple preseason games just because we are so young on the offensive side to get to see somebody else,” Elway said. “We’re going to have to deal with it.

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