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Why Drew Lock has impressed the Broncos this offseason

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Okwuegbunam-Lock combo will prove lethal for Broncos (0:58)

The SEC For Now crew explains how TE Albert Okwuegbunam reuniting with former Mizzou teammate Drew Lock in Denver is the perfect situation for both players. (0:58)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos believe quarterback Drew Lock has made the most of the team's virtual offseason program.

But the bottom line following an offseason of work canceled by the coronavirus pandemic is that the Broncos won't know for sure until he does some work on the field.

"He's just continued that upward trend throughout the offseason," is the progress report coach Vic Fangio gave in recent days. "I think he's done a great job learning the new offense. He's done a great job with [offensive coordinator] Pat [Shurmur] and [quarterbacks coach] Mike Shula and dealing with them on a daily basis with the Zoom meetings. I know he's leading workouts with the players locally here where some of them get together and try and run the routes and the new concepts we're teaching. He's ready to go. He's chomping at the bit and all is good on that front right now."

It has to be. The Broncos pushed in all of their chips on Lock this offseason. They made a significant commitment in free agency and the draft, hoping to give Lock a chance to revitalize an offense that struggled to even find neutral last season.

The numbers are well-worn: The Broncos finished 28th or worse in the league's rankings in many of the significant categories, including total offense, scoring and third-down conversions on the way to nine games when they scored 16 or fewer points.

The plan to pump things up around Lock had been in place. But then the pandemic arrived and Lock, instead of walking the halls inside the Broncos' suburban Denver complex or working on the practice field, spent much of his offseason at his parents' house just outside Kansas City. He, like the rest of the Broncos, has spent the offseason program in a virtual-only format since the players are not allowed to be in the facility.

In recent weeks Lock has done some on-field work on his own in the Denver area with several other Broncos, including wide receiver Courtland Sutton, rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, tight end Noah Fant, and guard Dalton Risner. They are running plays and working through things from the new offense Lock has seen in the Zoom meetings.

Last Thursday, Shurmur joked: "There's a rumor that he's working with the players by himself. That's a rumor that I heard. Also, along with that rumor, I heard it's going well."

The Broncos went 4-1 in the five games Lock started last year. He completed 64% of his passes and had seven touchdowns to go with three interceptions. His teammates have praised his work ethic and his toughness. He carries himself with responsibility and youthful enthusiasm still intertwined.

"The dude plays with -- he has so much swag and so much heart and so much want to learn," Sutton said. "Y'all have heard all the stuff about him being around Peyton [Manning]. ... That should show a lot about his character and about his drive and about his want to be successful reaching out to one of the greats to do it. I'm excited. I know there's a lot of promise. I know I'm not the only one excited about Drew."

Last season most of Lock's five opponents were content to dial back the rush some to see if he would be patient against their coverage looks. Now Lock must be ready to adjust to what defensive coordinators have planned for him after their own review of his play. That figures to include a bigger variety of rush concepts.

Also, expect for Lock to throw deep more often. Shurmur has echoed Fangio's desire for far more downfield pop in the Broncos' offense as they try to stress defenses more overall.

"I think with this offense there's definitely more of the possibility on just regular downs, not actually full play-action, [to] throw deep," Lock said earlier this offseason. "There's more opportunity for us to press the ball downfield ... just giving me options to change a curl route to a go route if we get man -- just certain things like that to where I think we'll be able to press the ball downfield a little more than what he did last year."

"If the rumor is true that he's throwing to our players, I think he's learning something there," Shurmur said. "We'll just try to put it all together here come July."