Drew Lock on struggles: It was HOF game not the SB

Joe Flacco's job as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos won't be questioned after Drew Lock's performance during the Hall of Fame game.

Lock struggled in his debut, missing receivers long -- two particular ones down the right sideline when he had targets streaking open and couldn't find the deep touch -- lacked pocket anticipation and struggled to see the field. He finished 7-of-11 passing for 34 yards, one rush for six yards and took two sacks.

Lock's seven drives gained 87 total yards, five ended in a punt, (three three-and-outs), one concluded in a fumble and one on downs. He was the only Broncos QB of the night not to lead a TD drive in the 14-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

"I'll rate it as a learning game," Lock said, via the team's official website. "There's definitely things I'll learn there, but I'm excited that I'm sitting here and that was the first time ever stepping out on the field.

"It was the Hall of Fame game. It wasn't the Super Bowl, it wasn't the playoffs -- so there's a lot of things for me to learn, a lot of things for me to look forward to, to progress a little bit."

Lock is correct. This was game one in what Denver hopes is a long pro career. The Hall of Fame Game was played without a plethora of starters, including most of the regular receiver corps, running backs and starters on the offensive line. Yes, Lock's issues were more than just the pieces around him, but to make any concrete statements about the QB's trajectory at this stage is faulty.

Lock looked very much like the "hard-throwing pitcher that doesn't know how to pitch yet" that coach Vic Fangio previously characterized him as earlier this offseason. The second-round pick remains extremely raw and needs reps to grow. He should get plenty this preseason.

"I think it's what you can expect from an opener," Lock said. "A couple ups, a couple downs -- but it's good that we can look at it. There's a lot of things we can work on, especially myself, and go in and get ready for the next one."

It's prudent to preach caution at this stage. Making too much out of one preseason outing for a player still growing serves no tangible purpose. Yet, after watching failed QB-experiment after failed QB-experiment since Peyton Manning, Broncos fans surely got a pit in their stomach watching John Elway's latest draft pick at the position struggle. Lock's job is to one day turn that pit into euphoria.

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