Can Jeff Driskel give it his all? Tough challenge awaits backup QB when he starts against Brady's Buccaneers
Week 2 of the NFL was riddled with injuries and one of them was Denver Broncos' quarterback, Drew Lock, who's ruled out for three to five weeks with a severe strain of the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. This comes as a stinging blow to Denver who hasn't a had great start to the campaign after losing both their games to the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers.
When their 2019 season ended, they picked a journeyman in Jeff Driskel ahead of QBs like Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. And now with Lock essentially out for a good month, all eyes will be on Driskel who filled in for Lock for three-quarters of the game against the Steelers. His outing saw him finish with two touchdowns, one interception, and 18 of 34 passes. When he starts the game against a rejuvenated Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it will be the fourth franchise Driskel has been part of. He started off his career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 by being the sixth-round pick. He followed it up with stints at the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions. With the Broncos, he has a two-year contract and $5-million dollar deal, and while most expected him to not really the be the main man, he now plays a crucial role in the Broncos' season. As far as he's concerned, he seems absolutely game ready.
According to ESPN, Driskell, in the post-game interview said he was preparing all week. "As a backup quarterback, it's my job to be ready at all times. I've been preparing all week, and my job is to give the team a chance to win, and we didn't do that. We've got to make a couple more plays here and there, and maybe it's a different ball game." It should also be noted Driskel was once touted as the top prep QB prospect, but he not a regular starter in most cases. For the 49ers, he had to compete with Christian Ponder for the third-string slot after an injury to Thad Lewis. During his time with the Bengals, he came in as a relief player after an injury to Andy Dalton. He was the starter for the team's last five games. His stats read: Passed for 764 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. With the Lions, He threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown in the 35–27 loss against the Dallas Cowboys.
Up against an intimidating side like the Bucs, Driskel will think back to his comments after signing for the Broncos — "I don't know if there's a certain way to describe it. I always try to play within the system. You try to do what's practiced. You try to just be efficient and move the chains. Sometimes things don't play out on the field like they're practiced or like they're drawn up. You try to extend plays and that's where you see a lot of big plays ... I'm an athletic guy who's willing to use all the gifts that I have and be effective."
Effective he must be as the Bucs after going down in their first game bounced back in emphatic fashion to register a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers. It sure looks like all's well within the camp as Brady and coach Arians managed to pull off a comfortable win. With the Broncos yet to add open their points account, Driskel will have to give it his all for Denver to stand a chance. It's isn't an easy task as they hav an injury-ridden roster at the moment. Pass-rusher Von Miller and WR Courtland Sutton are also injured with the latter ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. An update on Lock's injury was provided by Vic Fangio, the coach who also outlined they would look to Driskel to do Lock's job. "I don't think it's a wholesale change in the offense, it might look different to others," Fangio said. "But it's stuff we've been practicing and have had in that maybe we'll lean on more with Jeff in there."
Driskel will take on the Bucs and follow it up with another game against the New York Jets on Thursday, October 1.