Drew Lock reportedly holds a lead over Teddy Bridgewater in the battle to become the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback to open the 2021 season.
"I would say it's fair to put [Lock] in the driver's seat as far as the competition here," Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Saturday. "It's pretty open; things are pretty fair. But I would say he's in the driver's seat. Really has a chance to claim hold of this job with a couple really nice performances [in the preseason]."
Lock will draw the start Saturday when the Broncos kick off the preseason with a road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater will take the reins of the first-team offense when they visit the Seattle Seahawks next Saturday.
Denver head coach Vic Fangio described the quarterback competition as "even-steven" on Tuesday.
"I have confidence in both those guys,'' Fangio told reporters. "I really do. ... There is no grading scale. Ultimately we have to go by what we see. We're keeping track of things, statistically—some more detailed stats than what you guys will do. They'll be there for the information."
Neither of the Broncos' options were overly impressive in 2020.
Lock completed 57.3 percent of his throws for 2,933 yards with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions across 13 games for Denver. He ranked 29th in ESPN's Total QBR.
Bridgewater posted a more efficient 69.1 percent completion rate for 3,733 yards but tallied just 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 appearances for the Carolina Panthers. He was 17th in Total QBR.
When you factor in Lock's prior experience in the offense, which Fangio explained is why he's starting the first preseason game, it's easy to see why the competition is a virtual toss-up.
The Broncos feature one of the NFL's deepest pass-catching groups with receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant, which should benefit whomever wins the starting job.
After the road games against the Vikings and Seahawks, Denver wraps up the preseason Aug. 28 by hosting the Los Angeles Rams and then kicks off the regular season Sept. 12 when it travels east to face the New York Giants.