ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Dre'Mont Jones may or may not speak for his teammates when it comes to the Denver Broncos' ongoing quarterback competition, but the third-year defensive end was direct when asked about it.
As the Broncos enter the final stretch of their offseason program with a mandatory minicamp next week, the Lock-Bridgewater question isn't going anywhere. In fact, the nearly constant throw-by-throw updates will likely continue as summer turns to fall.
Coach Vic Fangio has set the ground rules for how he's going to find his answer for a quarterback. He's said neither Lock nor Bridgewater should plan on getting much down time later this summer with piles of snaps in training camp and preseason games.
"We'll try to get as many reps as we can on the field each and every day -- probably play them a little more in preseason than teams may play their No. 1 quarterback," Fangio said. "I did a semi-study a few years ago when teams were not playing their quarterbacks at all in the preseason. Some were and some weren't. Some of the most veteran and best quarterbacks in the league were playing a lot of snaps in the preseason. Some of the younger ones that probably needed it weren't. To me, it was kind of telling."
Fangio believes one of the quarterbacks will clearly show why he should -- or should not -- be the starter if the Broncos get each enough work before the season.
That would void the Broncos' traditional model, one in which starters play the most in the third game of the preseason and mostly everybody who will be on the 53-player roster sits out the fourth. With the addition of the 17th regular season game, teams who are not in the Hall of Fame Game will play three games in the preseason, which will change traditional timetables.
The Broncos will practice against the Minnesota Vikings in early August, so Lock and Bridgewater will likely find that to be as significant as another preseason game would have been.
"These guys need snaps and they need to play," Fangio said. "Especially when you have a young quarterback like we have in Drew and a new quarterback like we have in Teddy."
The Broncos did the first 11-on-11 work of the offseason this past week and will have plenty of snaps in next week's minicamp as well. The full teamwork forced Lock and Bridgewater to move the ball with more urgency than the relative comfort of no pass-rush in 7-on-7 drills. Fangio has said how much he will value 11-on-11 work in his quarterback decision.
The 2021 quarterback derby will look different than it has in the Broncos' past two open competitions, in which Trevor Siemian won both in 2016 and 2017.
In 2016, coming off a Super Bowl win and Peyton Manning's retirement, the Broncos traded for Mark Sanchez, who opened the offseason program competing against Siemian and then-rookie Paxton Lynch. Lynch won the snap count total for preseason games, playing 79 more snaps than Siemian and 112 more than Sanchez.
But Sanchez didn't play in the final two preseason games after struggling with turnovers in practices and Siemian didn't play in the preseason finale as then-coach Gary Kubiak had named Siemian the starter two days after the Broncos' third preseason game.
In 2017, Siemian and Lynch split the snaps in the first two preseason games almost equally -- 46 for Siemian, 50 for Lynch -- and then-coach Vance Joseph named Siemian the starter before the third preseason game.
If Fangio doesn't make a decision early this year, Brett Rypien, the team's third quarterback, may see his playing time severely limited in preseason games, where he may have started in years past.
"The more good players you have, the better, I'm pretty sure," wide receiver Tim Patrick said. "Obviously, you have to get chemistry, but my approach to it is if a ball is coming my way, catch it. I don't really think about who's throwing it. My job is to catch the ball and that's it. It doesn't matter how it comes, just catch it."