Sports Herbert, Lock like throwing deep but only one is successful
No 'Thursday Night Football' NFL game for Week 6. Here's why.
The Bills were supposed to be hosting the Chiefs on "Thursday Night Football" for NFL Week 6, but COVID-related schedule changes pushed it to Monday.Except this week, there is no Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes showdown on "Thursday Night Football.
DENVER — A throwback to the “Air Coryell” days could be coming Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Denver Broncos.
Drew Lock and Justin Herbert both love throwing deep.
It’s worked out well for the Chargers (2-4) and their rising rookie quarterback but not so much for the Broncos (2-4) and their scuffling second-year passer.
Herbert is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes over 20 yards (from the line of scrimmage) with six. Half of them came last week against Jacksonville in Herbert’s first career win.
Herbert has completed nine of his past 18 deep throws for 411 yards and six TDs with one interception.
Broncos' Lock, Lindsay active vs. Patriots
The Denver Broncos will get quarterback Drew Lock and running back Phillip Lindsay back from injury, as both players are active for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. The 23-year-old passer will be making his first appearance since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2. Lindsay, meanwhile, hasn't suited up since the Broncos' season-opening game. Lock and Lindsay were listed as questionable heading into the matchup, but they both participated fully in practice this week.The Broncos have dealt with inconsistent quarterback play during Lock's absence, relying on Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien.
“He has a big arm,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “So yeah, we’ve thrown the ball downfield a few more times this year. We want a vertical passing game. And, you know, he has provided that.”
The Broncos want one, too, but Lock hasn’t been nearly as precise or productive as Herbert on the long ball.
Lock is just 4 for 19 on deep passes this season after going 3 for 11 last year, about the only red flag from his December audition when he won four of his five starts after spending three months on IR.
Lock’s first career TD pass covered 26 yards, but since then he hasn’t had any touchdowns on deep passes.
“We feel we can take those deep shots,” Lock said after the Broncos dialed up a slew of deep throws at New England two weeks ago but settled for six field goals in an 18-12 win.
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Afterward, Lock spoke glowingly of offensive co-ordinator Pat Shurmur's aggressive vertical-based offence. But the Broncos overdid it last week in a blowout loss to the Chiefs when Lock bypassed plenty of open receivers underneath to keep throwing deep into coverage.
"I think there is a fine line there,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “You want to be aggressive if you think you have a chance for the downfield throw, but by no means can we disregard or ignore or not read it out at times and find the open guy that may be short or intermediate.”
Lock promises to get better at surveying the field and not locking onto the receiver sprinting downfield.
“There’s a fine line between taking what the defence gives you and then when they don’t give you what you want, trying to make a play,” Lock said. “I can make the plays when they’re there, but I’ve just got to get a little better judgment on when it’s time to make that play or say, ‘You know what, they got us.'”
Chargers rested but still banged up coming off bye week
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Anthony Lynn and the Los Angeles Chargers are rested and ready to go after their bye week. As for the team's health, that's another matter. The Chargers had some of their injured starters return to the practice field Wednesday as preparations ramp up for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but this remains a banged up team that is looking to snap a four-game losing streak. “There are a couple starters we may get back (this week) but mostly guys are still healing,” Lynn said. Lynn is hoping defensive end Melvin Ingram and defensive tackle Justin Jones can return this week.
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Lock has just one touchdown pass with four interceptions in four starts this season, and in the three games he's started and finished in 2020, he's averaged just 219 passing yards.
Herbert’s 308.4 yards per game lead the AFC and he’s thrown for 12 touchdowns with three interceptions. In his past three starts, he’s thrown 10 TD passes with only one interception.
Other subplots Sunday when the Chargers try to snap a seven-game skid against the AFC West:
Broncos RB Melvin Gordon III, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Denver after five seasons with the Chargers, said he’ll be even-keeled when he faces the team that drafted him in the first round in 2015.
“I’m just going to take it like I do every week,” Gordon said. “Obviously it’s going to be cool to go up against some of the guys that I built a great relationship with over the years. But you know it’s no different than any other team.”
The Broncos’ blunders on special teams include a blocked punt, a dropped punt that resulted in a safety and last week a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We’ve had too many negative plays in the kicking game this year,” Fangio said. “We’ve got to do a better job of covering. Guys have to be able to beat the blocks in space one-on-one and we’ve got to come off blocks. There’s no doubt about that. Our special teams play overall and the coverage unit hasn’t been good enough.”
STUCK IN NEUTRAL
Los Angeles’ running game has struggled since running back Austin Ekeler’s hamstring injury on Oct. 4. Chargers running backs were averaging 4.4 yards per carry the first three games, but that has slipped to 2.9 in the past three. They also led the league in October with 16.1% of their carries going for no gain or negative yards. To get Justin Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley going, the Chargers tried to use more jet sweeps with wide receivers against Jacksonville.
Both teams are dealing with a player testing positive for the coronavirus. The Chargers placed guard Ryan Groy on the league’s COVID-19 reserve list Thursday and cancelled practice. The Broncos cancelled Friday’s workout after learning of a positive test from starting right guard Graham Glasgow.
Denver O-line coach Mike Munchak has been out since Wednesday because of COVID-19 concerns, although coach Vic Fangio wouldn’t say if Munchak or somebody close to him was infected.
AP Sports Writer Joe Reedy contributed.
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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press
NFL trade deadline: What moves should all 32 teams make? .
The NFL trade deadline marks a final window to bring on impact players, shed salaries or stock up on picks. But what should each team do?► COVID-19: If you're looking to get a difference-maker into your building, it makes sense to pull the trigger on a deal well before Nov. 3. New players must undergo virus protocols while onboarding to a new team and likely wouldn't be eligible to play in Week 9 if moved on deadline day. The Ravens wisely snatched DE Yannick Ngakoue during their bye week. Similarly, by signing Antonio Brown well before his eight-game suspension ends, the Bucs could have him in uniform Nov. 8.