The Denver Broncos' quarterback competition could begin to play itself out early on during the preseason, as Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater will split starts during the team's first two exhibitions.
Head coach Vic Fangio said Lock will get the nod Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings, and Bridgewater will be under center to start against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 21.
NFL Network's James Palmer reported Aug. 4 that neither Lock nor Bridgewater was running away with the starting job and that "how each quarterback performs during the three-game preseason slate—Denver would have preferred the league had stuck with four—will factor greatly into the final decision."
Palmer also explained how the two represent a different set of priorities for Denver.
Lock has struggled through his first two seasons, completing 59.1 percent of his passes and throwing for 3,953 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 18 games. Still, he only turns 25 in November and remains under contract for two more seasons.
This year is probably Lock's last shot to be the long-term solution at quarterback, so the Broncos might prefer to give him every opportunity to prove himself.
Bridgewater, on the other hand, is the safer choice and thus the obvious answer if Denver wants to start as strongly as possible out of the gate. The 28-year-old demonstrated his baseline as a starter in 2020, finishing with 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 69.1 percent of his attempts.
The downside is that Bridgewater probably doesn't have another level to reach, which may not apply to Lock. Josh Allen is a prime example of how a young passer can experience a breakthrough.
Based on how Fangio is approaching the preseason, the Broncos' quarterback battle is wide-open. That could change with how the next few weeks unfold.