ENGLEWOOD – Vic Fangio has been around the NFL long enough to understand the buzz swirling around his rookie quarterback. What he doesn’t get is the Buzz about Drew Lock.
After Lock won his first start against the Chargers two weeks ago, his teammates razzed the rookie, nicknaming him “Buzz Lightyear” because the large white wristband he wore to help him remember the play calls resembled the Disney icon’s forearm laser beam.
At center Connor McGovern’s suggestion, Lock impersonated Lightyear firing his laser beam after each of the three touchdown passes he threw in the Broncos’ 38-24 win at Houston on Sunday.
“It blew up on Twitter to where the offensive line was like, ‘We should shoot the laser after you score a touchdown,’” Lock said. “All right, you want to do it, we’ll do it. We fully embraced it.”
Asked for his thoughts on Lock’s Lightyear imitation, Fangio, 61, professed ignorance about the cultural reference.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Fangio said. “I mean, I know it has something to do with Drew, but honest to God, I don’t know what the parallel is there.”
Fangio said he hasn’t seen any of the Toy Story blockbusters.
“No, I can’t tell you the last movie I’ve seen.”
Maybe he’ll check it out sometime to see what all the fuss is about.
“Sometimes, something silly can be a rallying cry for some people. Obviously, it helps you guys write an article or two or it gives you something to talk about it,” Fangio said at his Monday news conference. “But then when you do not have such a good performance, then I’m sure Buzz Light-lear. What’s his name? Buzz ... will be made fun of. So, everything has its shelf life.”
Lock, 23, was born a year after the original Toy Story hit theaters in November 1995.
“I love that movie, all four of them,” Lock said. “The first one’s the best, the fourth one’s kind of sad.”
How old was Lock when the first movie came out?
“It was – when did it come out, ‘95? I wasn’t born yet,” said Lock, who was born in 1996. “Buzz is older than me. We’ve got to bring back some legends sometimes.”
Lock is the first Broncos rookie QB to win his first two starts since John Elway in 1983, and Lock is the only rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first road start.
“Overall, he’s had a good two-week start to his career,” Fangio said while cautioning it’s too small of a sample size to prognosticate what it all means for the future.
“I don’t know, it’s two games. Who’s long term right now?” Fangio said. “He’s doing good. He’s done well for two games, that’s about all it is.”
WHAT’S WORKINGSafety Kareem Jackson has proven a rare free agency hit in Denver. He had a half-dozen memorable plays in his return to Houston, where he played his first nine seasons. Among them were a tone-setting hit, a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown and an interception.
WHAT NEEDS HELPThe Broncos’ health. OLB Von Miller is slowed by a sprained left knee and rookie DE Dre’Mont Jones sustained a high ankle sprain a week after DE Derek Wolfe went on IR with a dislocated left elbow.
STOCK UPOLB Jeramiah Attaochu, a sixth-year pro signed by Denver on Oct. 1 after he spent training camp with the Chiefs, got his first two sacks of the season on Sunday.
STOCK DOWNLT Garett Bolles was whistled for his 43rd penalty in his 44th start, and this was a new one: an illegal block in the back, which negated Phillip Lindsay’s 12-yard touchdown catch. Although the Broncos scored two plays later to go up 7-0, Bolles’ infraction marked the third consecutive season he’s committed a penalty that wiped away a touchdown.
INJURIESJones’ high ankle sprain that could keep him out for a couple of weeks, and rookie TE Noah Fant, who caught four passes for 113 yards, has a bruised foot and a sore hip. RT Ja’Wuan Jones played 31 snaps in his first action since Oct. 27 at Indianapolis, when he aggravated a right knee injury.
KEY NUMBER10 – receivers who caught passes from Lock. The last time the Broncos had that many pass catchers was Oct. 30, 2017, in a 29-19 loss at Kansas City in which Trevor Siemian completed 19 of 36 passes for 198 yards.
NEXT STEPSThe Broncos have to prepare Lock for his homecoming game and for Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who will surely see how two very good defensive coordinators failed to rattle the rookie. The Chargers’ Gus Bradley didn’t blitz Lock and the Texans’ Romeo Crennel stubbornly stuck with man defense that allowed Lock to get clean looks at his targets all day.