Three of the four quarterbacks can return to practice and prepare for Sunday's game.
Three-quarters of the Denver Broncos QB team are back in the saddle, as of Tuesday, after being sidelined (literally) since last week. Starter Drew Lock and back-ups Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles all tested negative for COVID-19, clearing the way for them to return to practice on Wednesday and prepare to take on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
The entire quarterback team was put into a five-day quarantine after reserve quarterback Driskel tested positive for the virus on Thanksgiving Day (he was reportedly asymptomatic but won't be eligible to play until Dec. 5, provided he tests negative). Surveillance video found that in the quarterback film sessions prior, masks weren't always worn or not work properly. Because of that, the NFL benched the entire crew as "high-risk close contacts."
Under the NFL/NFLPA's COVID protocol, an individual who is a high-risk close contact must receive negative test results on five consecutive days to be removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
This put the whole Broncos offense in a bind during Sunday's game against the Saints, a game that the NFL would not postpone despite the lack of quarterbacks. This drew backlash as other teams have been allowed to postpone games in the face of COVID-19 outbreaks. The NFL's position was that those teams had a widespread outbreak throughout the squad, increasing the risk of transmission, whereas the Broncos only had a handful of possible virus exposures. The NFL didn't care that the handful was the entire quarterback team.
After a mad scramble, the Broncos brought in Kendall Hinton, a practice squad wide receiver and former Wake Forest quarterback, to fill the gaping hole at the helm of the offense. All things considered, Hinton stepped into a position he hasn't played in years without having taken any snaps with the team prior to game day and held his own. Despite the defeat on Sunday, Denver and the whole league has shown nothing but respect for Hinton and his valiant efforts in a pretty impossible situation. He has since been put back on the practice squad.
There was a game today.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 29, 2020
The final score is what it is.
Undrafted rookie WIDE RECEIVER @Kendall_Hinton2 came off the practice squad, had zero practice reps and competed in his first NFL game as the Broncos’ QUARTERBACK—an unprecedented situation.
He deserves all the respect. pic.twitter.com/C4UpkPTZBQ
While many fans and those in the pro football community felt the NFL threw Denver under the bus by refusing to postpone the game, Head Coach Vic Fangio placed the responsibility for the debacle square on the shoulders of the quarterback team.
"We count on them to be the leaders of the team and leaders of the offense and those guys made a mistake and that is disappointing," he said during the after-game conference.
As long as Drew Lock continues to test negative for COVID-19, he will be the starting quarterback against the Chiefs as the Broncos try to get back on track.
What did you think about the NFL's decision not to cancel the Saints game? How do you think the Broncos will fare this weekend against the Chiefs? Let us know in the comments.