Just a Quarterback Away
Another season, another post-Peyton Manning quarterback dilemma in Denver. The Broncos have turned over every rock under the sun trying to solve the position since a decrepit Manning brought them a Lombardi Trophy in 2015, but they have failed time and time again. Last year's quarterback turmoil was a special brand of misery, though. The universe dug deep to make sure that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the Broncos quarterback room.
The Broncos cycled through a number of backup quarterbacks at both ends of the season. Some of that quarterback juggling was run-of-the-mill injury stuff. Drew Lock injured his hand early in the season, giving way to Jeff Driskel playing out most of the Week 2 match against Pittsburgh and starting the following week against Tampa Bay. Then Driskel suffered an injury late against Tampa Bay, giving the keys to Brett Rypien for the next five or so quarters. Rypien won his start against the Jets despite throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, though that still left Denver at 1-3 to start the year. Lock returned by Week 5, but that was not the end of Denver's quarterback woes. As it turns out, a bad quarterback is still better than no quarterback at all.
Late in November, Driskel tested positive for COVID. Due to failure to follow mask protocols, the entire quarterback depth chart was deemed ineligible just one day before hosting the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos were left scrambling for anything that even sort of resembled a passer. They found practice squad wideout Kendall Hinton, who played quarterback at Wake Forest for three seasons before transitioning to wide receiver. Hinton's start went about as poorly as everyone assumed it would—he finished 1-of-9 for 13 yards with two interceptions in a 31-3 loss. Hinton only even played about half of the team's snaps, leaving the other half to be Wildcat snaps to running back Phillip Lindsay.
On the frustration meter, however, one game where an emergency quarterback lives down to expectations doesn't quite match an entire season where a potential franchise...