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Bronco notes: Lock a midweek winner, if Sundays remain a challenge

Will Parks the Thomas Wolfe of NFL defensive backs. Carolina's Rhule is solving Vic Fangio's red zone defense.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks at the scoreboard in the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Drew Lock owns Wednesdays.

Whether he was good or bad the previous game, whether he won or lost, the Broncos’ quarterback nails it during his weekly, hump day media conference.

Lock is respectful to all inquisitors. He doesn’t get flustered by negative-laced questions. And he always seems to have the right answer.

Like when he was asked about his biggest challenge this season.

“We live in a world where everyone wants everything really fast,’’ Lock said. “Everyone wants it right now, and we get that with our phones. You want to click on an app, it’s going to pop up instantly. It’s the same thing in football. You want greatness really, really fast. I want it. Trust me, I want to be great as bad as the people at home watching the game want me to be great. I want it more than they want it.”

Wonderful. Like when he was asked on where he needs to show improvement in the final four games of the season, starting with the Carolina Panthers this Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

“I’m just focused on winning games, regardless of how that gets done,’’ he said. “If that means I throw for 100 yards and we win, so be it.’’

Perfect. Like when he was asked if he needs to more often throw to the receiver open underneath rather than try to make the big, if risky throw down field.

“I think I need to take better care of the football, for sure. That’s number one,’’ he said. “I like extending plays, but I have to be better on when to extend it, and when I do extend it, see if this is the throw that really going to help us stay on the field and keep progressing, or if it’s going to be a risky one that might get us off the field. You have to take risks in this game as a quarterback and you have to keep your aggressive nature. I will, but part of it is realizing when it’s time to make those throws and letting the game come to us in the beginning.’’

Insightful as Lock is on Wednesdays, he needs to be better on Sundays. He is 3-6 with 9 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions and ranks 32nd among the 32 quarterbacks who qualify for the passing title.

Parks returns

Thomas Wolfe could have sympathized with Will Parks. You Can’t Go Home Again.

Parks tried, signing up with his hometown Philadelphia Eagles after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos. But Parks didn’t make it to the fourth quarter of the season when he was waived by the Eagles – and claimed by the Broncos.

“The emotions have been high and low,’’ Parks said. “Obviously, I was home, so I was closer to a lot of family for the first time in the last eight or nine years or something like that. I definitely took advantage of that. Obviously, being released, whoever wants to be released from any team? That’s a sign of them not wanting to use you.’’

Parks figures to jump from the waiver wire to the Broncos’ secondary as a slot corner this Sunday at Carolina. There’s not much choice. The Broncos have lost their top three corners to injury – Bryce Callahan (foot), Essang Bassey (knee) – and suspension – A.J. Bouye.

“I never left the (Denver defense) group chat, they never kicked me out of the group chat and stuff like that,’’ Parks said. “They always sent me like little clips of my film from last year. So, just that 'we need you' kind of feeling, that's awesome.”

Rhule of thumb

The Denver D ranks second in red zone defense by allowing touchdowns on 47.7 percent of possessions inside its own 20 yard line this season while Carolina’s offense ranks 26th in red zone efficiency with a 55 % rate. And since Vic Fangio became the Broncos' head coach in 2019, Denver's D is No. 1 overall in red-zone territory (43.3 percent).

"They have the ability to put pressure on the quarterback, which to me, is what makes or breaks teams in the NFL,’’ Carolina head coach Matt Rhule said on a conference call with members of the Denver media Wednesday. “It's an outstanding situational defense. They are No. [2] in the NFL right now in red zone defense. So, that's really been our Achilles heel—scoring touchdowns as opposed to field goals. To me, the real battle of this game will be what happens when we're down in the red zone versus Coach Fangio's defense."

RELATED: Klis' Mike Drop podcast: A missed opportunity in K.C., Bouye suspended, 1-on-1 with Sam Martin and a date with the Panthers and Christian McCaffrey

RELATED: A.J. Bouye slapped with 6-game suspension

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