While plenty of NFL teams have dealt with issues stemming from COVID-19 this season, none quite stacks up to the Denver Broncos this past weekend. After the team’s entire quarterback room was sidelined this weekend, the team had to call up practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, a former quarterback who switched positions while at Wake Forest, to play the position this weekend.
Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Because the rest of the quarterback room was around with without wearing masks, all were sidelined until they could be confirmed as negative, which meant none were available last weekend.
There has been some significant pushback on the decision by the NFL to have the game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday played as scheduled, especially considering the situation that is playing out the same time with the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. After a major outbreak, the Ravens’ game was pushed from Thursday night to Sunday, and then Tuesday, and is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. While the Broncos’ situation was isolated to the quarterback room, the Ravens is roster-wide, which accounts for the differing approaches, even if it left the Broncos without anyone experienced at the most important position in sports.
Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles have all since been cleared to return to action for Broncos, which has reaggravated some Broncos fans, even though it is obviously good news. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy defended the league’s decision to sideline the quarterbacks and move forward with the game, citing examples on other teams were high-risk contacts did test positive.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy to 9News (2/2): "The medical professionals are concerned for the health of players and personnel.
"Going to make the same decision every time."#9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) December 1, 2020
Obviously the health of the players comes first. Of course, it rings a bit hollow coming from the NFL, when you see the league working so hard to play the Steelers-Ravens this week, and reshuffle huge sections of the schedule throughout the year, rather than adding a Week 18 and postponing the playoffs.
Drew Lock is being thrown back into the fire, after what had to be a very frustrating few days. The Denver Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.