DENVER – The "Drew Lock" dilemma hangs over the Denver Broncos like the snowstorm that engulfed the city Tuesday.
His teammates have their own assessment of the rookie quarterback and his readiness to suit up. They're behind him – should he get the call. But they're also behind Brandon Allen – should he still be the starter Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Broncos (3-8) have until Dec. 3 to activate Lock off injured reserve or the second-round draft pick will be shelved for the season.
Coach Vic Fangio has revealed little when asked about Lock, who bruised his thumb in the preseason and returned to practice about two weeks ago. All options remain on the table, Fangio said.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. would like to see Lock play – when the time is right, of course.
"I know everybody in Broncos Country is calling for him to play, but it's up to Coach and (John) Elway," Harris said on a conference call as about a foot of snow fell around the Mile High City. "I've talked to Drew. Drew thinks he's ready, so that's good right there coming from the player."
Lock, a second-round draft pick out of Missouri and a Lee’s Summit High School graduate, hurt the thumb on his throwing hand in a preseason game against San Francisco on Aug. 19. His last toss in a game that counted was at Missouri when the Tigers lost to Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, 2018.
The big question: How ready is Lock?
"The only person who can answer that is probably Drew, honestly," receiver Tim Patrick said. "Of course we have faith in him, but he has to have faith in himself to be ready to go out there and play."
So, does Lock have faith in himself?
"Look at you. You think you're slick," Patrick said, laughing. "Of course, he has faith in himself. He was a second-round draft pick."
Fangio's options remain the same: He could stick with Allen, who went 3 of 14 for 4 yards in the second half at Buffalo last weekend in finishing 10 of 25 for 82 yards passing with an interception. Allen fell to 1-2 in three starts since Joe Flacco suffered a season-ending neck injury.
Fangio could also turn to Brett Rypien, the rookie backup out of Boise State.
Or Fangio could unleash Lock.
"His confidence is through the roof," Patrick said. "He's going to be a baller for sure."
The Broncos have plenty of issues to sort out besides at QB. That's why Fangio alluded to his players being part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Harris' take on that sort of tone: "It means just be a professional. He wants to see guys be professionals, handle their business like men, go out there and play with pride and try to win. That's what we've got to do."
No letdown, either.
"It'll be easy to see who quits and who's going to be the problem if that does happen," Harris said. "But I don't see that happening with anybody on our team."
That goes ditto for safety Justin Simmons, who's turning in a Pro Bowl-caliber season.
"At this point it's trying to play and dig deep for something bigger than personal accolades and trying to finish off the season on the right foot with my guys," Simmons said. "Trying to scrap a few wins to close it out."
Notes: Harris was largely responsible for holding Chargers receiver Keenan Allen to four catches for 18 yards in Week 5. It led to Allen's dismissive comments about Harris. On Tuesday, Harris downplayed it. "Everybody is going to be tuning in on our matchup, but it's about the team," Harris said. "We've got to go out there and prepare as a team." ... Patrick said his sore shoulder is healing steadily. "It gets better every week," Patrick said.