Drew Lock provided the Broncos “kind of loot” that Justin Simmons never felt before

Justin Simmons was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round in 2016. Despite his rare talent and excellence as a player, he arrived in Denver at the start of an era of unprecedented failure and loss as the team attempted to rebuild after winning Super Bowl 50.

Outside of his rookie season in which the Broncos finished 9-7 in Gary Kubiak’s senior year as head coach, Simmons experienced some dark moments in the organizational canon and a revolving door of failed quarterback acquisitions, none of which could be established as more than just a temporary band aid.

However, the Broncos feel they finally ‘bounced off the bottom’, to use GM John Elway’s vernacular, and one big reason for that is the appearance of QB Drew Lock. Lock, a 2019 second-round pick, was inserted as a starter in Week 13 of last season after spending 11 weeks on the club’s injured reserve list.

Lock would go on to lead the Broncos to a 4-1 finish on the stretch, capturing the heart of the Broncos Country and captivating the locker room. In a recent meeting with Adam Lefkoe of the Bleacher Report, Simmons explained what excited him so much about the 2020 season and revealed a unique feeling he received from Lock that no Broncos QB had given him thus far in his career.

“That’s probably what I’m most excited about this season,” Simmons told Lefkoe. “I know everyone says so, but he has, even in the locker room, behind the cameras and behind closed doors, he has that feeling of confidence, but he’s not arrogant. He’s like the ‘look and follow’ loot guy that it’s something that I felt like the last two years we’ve been there that we might not have had. I haven’t even gotten into systems and all of those things. But I guess I really haven’t felt that. “

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When describing Lock, that S word is the one most commonly used by his teammates. What exactly does ‘loot’ mean?

Obviously, the word is derived from ‘arrogance’, which means ‘walking or behaving in a very safe and typically arrogant or aggressive manner’. “Swag” means something like “a bold self-confidence in style or manner.”

For a team that had been roaming the QB desert for three and a half years, suffering unprecedented depredations from losing double-digit games two seasons in a row, Lock’s loot was like mana from heaven. A lifeline for Broncos players just looking to keep their heads above water.

That kind of aggressive trust can have an inspiring and stimulating effect on people. It is contagious, especially when accompanied by results.

Lock’s results in the rankings matched the loot he was putting off, and as you can see, even the oldest Broncos team leaders couldn’t help but be affected and influenced by him. The Broncos’ bronze certainly was, as evidenced by the team’s offseason maneuvers to build the nest around Lock and store weapons.

“I am excited for Drew because he closed the year off on the right foot and I am excited for the year to begin, especially with the weapons he has,” Simmons told Lefkoe. “I’m just excited.”

With a rebuilt inside offensive line, an embarrassment of richness in wide receiver and tight end positions, and a Pro Bowl duo in running back, Lock, as they say, will be charged to endure this hunt. Combined with the timely arrival of revered OC QB developers Pat Shurmur and QBs coach Mike Shula, all the stars appear to be lining up for Lock to head to Year 2.

It will be fun to see how it unfolds for the Broncos in 2020, which earned the twelfth calendar strength in the NFL. Simmons, meanwhile, is fast approaching the July 15 deadline to accept a multi-year deal before being forced to play the 2020 season on the franchise tag.

Elway has never failed to get a player with a franchise tag to sign a multi-year extension before the summer deadline, but until the deal is done, it’s something to monitor. Training camp is slated to begin less than two weeks later, on July 28, and from there, the whirlwind of the NFL season will start in earnest, barring some unforeseen setbacks.

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.