ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Aaron Rodgers saga could have been worse.
He could have continued to sulk, skipped training camp with the Packers and thereby continued the tantalizing possibility he would become a Bronco by the start of the regular season.
Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater could have carried on with their Great Quarterback Competition That Might Not Have Mattered, as they did during their offseason practices. Instead, Rodgers settled his differences with the Packers enough to show up and play for them. So now Drew and Teddy get to compete for the starting quarterback position when it really counts – camp and preseason -- and they can do so without performing beneath the Aaron Rodgers cloud.
“I think all the noise that was going on in the offseason, I’m sure they read and heard about,’’ said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio during a sit-down, pre-training camp interview with 9NEWS on Tuesday. “But it was in the offseason and I think they were totally engaged and focused on what was going on in their own lives here. But I do think that’s disappeared now, and as we get closer to the season, they’re probably glad it’s over with. But I don’t think it bothered them too much in the offseason.”
So how involved were the Broncos in potential Rodgers’ trade talks in case, you know, the Packers did make Rodgers available for trade?
“I would just say we can’t speak on that,’’ general manager George Paton told 9NEWS. “He is on another team. I’ve said this before, we look at everything. Every position. We’re always going to be looking out there, we’re going to be in every trade. We’re going to be in every discussion.
“And I’ve said all along we like our quarterbacks. We’re going to go to battle with our quarterbacks. We’re having a great competition with Drew and Teddy. They’re doing all the right things so we’re comfortable with those guys and excited for those guys to get out here and compete and help us.”
Drew Lock is the incumbent with 18 career starts the past two seasons. He is young and talented and mistake-prone. Teddy Bridgewater is older, more experienced, but the newcomer. He is conservative in playing style, without a strong arm, but he gets it there and he is not mistake-prone.
“I just thought we were really young in the quarterback room’’ Paton said when asked by 9NEWS why he acquired Bridgewater in a trade from Carolina. “Drew is young and Ryp (Brett Rypien) is young. And I just felt they needed a veteran presence, a guy who could play.
“And everyone kind of forgets about Teddy. Two years ago he was 5-0 for New Orleans. He got paid over $20 million a year, $30-something million guaranteed. There were teams last year who thought he could be a potential franchise guy. Earlier in his career with Minnesota, we thought he was going to be a franchise guy but he’s a pro, he’s very accurate. He moves the team. Very sharp. So we felt for the value we got for Teddy it was a no-brainer.”
Fangio said Lock would get the first, first-team snap Wednesday when training camp officially opens, but it will work to be 50-50 reps through camp and at least the first two preseason games at Minnesota and at Seattle.
Are the rest of the Broncos players glad that even though they didn’t get Rodgers, at least they know for certain it’s Lock or Bridgewater competing without the threat of Rodgers?
“You know, the entire time that everything was going on, Drew and Teddy were our guys,’’ said receiver Courtland Sutton. “I never worried about who could’ve been here, who could’ve not been here. The guys that were here were working their butts off … Drew and Teddy are our guys and going into camp they’re the ones who are going to battle it out for that quarterback position. I know myself and the rest of the offense and the rest of the team are all looking forward to seeing who comes out on the other side. I’m happy for the Packers and what they have going on.’’
And then Sutton stopped. Suddenly. That’s enough about Aaron Rodgers.