ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With one preseason game remaining and the clock ticking toward the season opener, the Broncos continue to boast two starting quarterbacks. Given the amount of information available from practices and exhibition contests, the possibility existed that a winner in the derby would be announced Tuesday.
Instead, Broncos coach Vic Fangio remains undecided on whether to go with Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock. There's no timetable other than Fangio citing the 19 days remaining until the season opener at the New York Giants.
"It's still pretty damn close. And it’s close for a good reason. Both have played well," Fangio said, leaning back on an explanation he's provided for two weeks. "I want to make it when it's the right time for the quarterbacks and the team."
Both split time with the starters on a surface-of-the sun hot afternoon practice. Bridgewater started in team drills, while Lock took the initial reps in 7s. It looked every bit like the practices that began on July 28. Fangio admitted he wants to see them play more, though he said doesn't "necessarily need to see them" in Saturday's preseason home finale against the Los Angeles Rams.
Because it continues to play out publicly, I asked Fangio if there is a need to communicate with the quarterbacks during this process.
"I will talk to them when the time comes when we do declare one or the other. I think they do know it's close. They see the film of each other," Fangio said. "The good thing is they are both pulling for each other. They both want to see [the] other do good. They wanted to make it a hard decision for us, and they have succeeded in that."
It appeared after the Seattle game, when looking at his nuanced plays on fourth down and in manipulating the pocket, that Bridgewater held a slight edge. Lock, meanwhile, was in a similar position after the Minnesota game because of big strikes to K.J. Hamler.
As it stands, Bridgewater has completed 16 of 19 passes for two touchdowns, no turnovers and 24 team points. Lock has countered well, connecting on 14 of 21 attempts for two touchdowns, no turnovers (he recovered his pair of fumbles on Saturday) and 23 team points.
"We don't really talk about it," veteran safety Kareem Jackson said. "Whoever is under center, we will support them."
While there was no clarity, there was a moment of levity as Justin Simmons prepared to announce the starter.
"What, Vic didn't tell you?" Simmons said with a smile as if he was going to make the reveal.
After practice, the quarterbacks had some fun, demonstrating their genuine friendship. At one point, Lock ran patterns as Bridgewater threw passes to him, once with Lock in a dead sprint. It was an indication of nothing, other than players breaking up the routine.
And so it continues. Two starters. One preseason game left. Less than three weeks until the first game. Tick, tock.
Noah Fant missed practice with a leg injury. Fangio does not think he will be sidelined for an extended period of time.
Nose tackle Mike Purcell hurt his ankle in pregame warmups on Saturday. He missed practice.
Cornerback Michael Ojemudia (hamstring) will be out for four-to-six weeks.
Randy Gradishar and Mike Shanahan were not nominated for the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Nineteen players have made at least seven Pro Bowlers and won Defensive Player of Year honors -- 18 are in Hall of Fame. Gradishar is the only one who is not. Shanahan is the only retired coach with back to back Super Bowl wins not in Hall.
The Broncos cut linebacker Josh Watson, a former CSU standout. He played sparingly, but was a key member on special teams.