AFC Notes: Broncos, Colts, Raiders

     

Broncos

The Broncos were committed to former second-round QB Drew Lock pretty early on last offseason after his five-game starting stint to end his rookie year and didn’t seriously pursue many other alternatives. That has shifted this offseason and Lock appears far from safe after an uneven performance as the Broncos’ starter in 2020. However, Lock still has some supporters, including newly-minted Hall of Famer and former Broncos QB Peyton Manning

“I’m a Bronco fan, I’m a Drew Lock fan. … Look, last year for anybody who had a new offensive coordinator and a younger quarterback it was going to be challenging,” Manning said via KUSA’s Mike Klis. “The teams that really got into the hunt this year had veteran quarterbacks, veteran coordinators, had some chemistry together. Brady was kind of the exception. I think Tampa figured out they were better off running a lot of his plays. Took them a while to figure that out but with the pandemic offseason, not having much time, it’s just not easy. I’m pulling for Drew. I’m excited for their prospects with a full year and an offseason .. I’m excited for him to have a good year this year.”

Colts

Colts’ owner Jim Irsay said fans need to prepare themselves for the fact that now 31-year old QB Andrew Luck will permanently stay in retirement. The team is still on the hunt for their franchise quarterback following his departure two seasons ago.

“I’ll say this, Colts fans really need to digest this fact that (Luck’s) more retired now than he was a year and a half ago,” Irsay said, via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan. “He is retired. I mean, only Andrew knows of course, because it’s his decision. But I can only say he definitely is retired and there’s really no wiggle room or rumor, as much as people would like to hear that.”

Irsay also told the media that the situation stands as is and that he hasn’t spoken to Luck recently. He also said that while he wished he was hiding an announcement of Luck’s return, the former No. 1 overall pick is welcome to return any time he wishes.

“No, I really think it kind of stands where it stands,” Irsay said. “Like I said before, Andrew is retired and he knows we would love to have him back but only he could ever answer that question deep in his heart and his soul, ‘Hey, do I really want to come back and be a quarterback for the Colts again in the NFL?’ It’s easy for us. He knows how much we’d love to have him be our quarterback. There is just no question about that, but at the same time we know for it to work out, he has to be the one that says, ‘I’m ready. I want to really create a little history in unprecedented aspects.’ If (Michael) Jordan could give him the fax number and the exact, ‘I’m back,’ how to write that out, I’d be all happy for it, for Michael to give that to him. It’s about two years, so I’ll be checking my fax machine. But I don’t really know if we’ll see that. I think he is happy, he is raising his daughter, he has a wonderful family. He’s a great Colt and he knows that he can come back any time he wants, but at the same time we respect that he has made that decision and we don’t want to be annoying by always saying – there is no point to it. He knows that we would love to have him back but only he could decide that and right now he is retired. Believe me, I wish it was true and I was hiding some big announcement that was coming two days from now, but that’s just not the case.”

Raiders

Raiders’ HC Jon Gruden thinks that new DC Gus Bradley and his staff are the right men to develop their young defensive core in 2021.

“He is the founder of the Legion of Boom,” Gruden said, via Pro Football Talk. Richard Sherman wasn’t a first-round draft choice. Kam Chancellor was not a first-round draft choice. Neither was Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright. He’s been a big part of developing young players. And the thing I’m most excited about is it’s not just Gus Bradley. Richard Smith, the linebackers coach, Ron Milus, the secondary coach — even their assistant secondary coach and quality control man are here. This group of men has been problem-solving together for four years, five years together. And they’ve done it in the AFC West against some really good quarterbacks. So he’s a great teacher. I think our defense is going to really benefit from his energy and his experience. It’s going to be fun.”

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