There's no doubt the Broncos hold some responsibility for their lack of COVID-19 precautions earlier this week.
Broncos safety Kareem Jackson acknowledged that his teammates made a mistake by not following the NFL's COVID-19 protocols, but he also thinks the league went too far in making them play on Sunday. Jackson told ESPN reporters that he believes the NFL was making an example out of his team by forcing them to play with no quarterback this afternoon.
"I feel like maybe [the game] could have been moved, but at the same time, maybe the league was making an example of us as far as maybe not doing the things we needed to do in that particular room, that quarterback room,'' Jackson said. "Obviously, the guys didn't follow their protocols, and for [the NFL] to see that, I guess they felt like they had to make an example, so at the end of [the] day, it is what it is."
Reserve quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for the virus on Thursday. After that, the QB situation continued to deteriorate. Starter Drew Lock and backups Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were all deemed high-risk, close contacts after maskless interaction with Driskel in the QB room.
Jackson noted his teammate's mistakes, but was still frustrated by the decision.
"Obviously, it's our guys' fault for not wearing their masks, but at least maybe move the game to the next day or whenever so we're given a fighting chance,'' Jackson added. "[It's] obviously disappointing. I'm not sure why it wasn't moved. I have no clue ... as a competitor, [it 's] definitely frustrating.''
The Denver front office made multiple appeals to have the game moved to Monday night -- they were all denied. This rescheduling would've allowed all three quarterbacks enough time to complete the required five-day quarantine period for high-risk, close contacts.
If the NFL was indeed trying to punish Denver, they got the result they wanted today.
The Broncos were absolutely routed by the Saints with a score of 31-3. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who got the start at QB today, was 1/9 for 13 yards and two interceptions.
Denver will have a tough bounce-back game next week when they travel into Kansas City to take on the 10-1 Chiefs.