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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — If the Mile High City wasn’t feeling good enough one day after the Broncos’ first win of the season, Vic Fangio gave Broncos Country an extra jolt of optimism on Friday.
There is a chance starting quarterback Drew Lock returns for the Broncos Week 5 game against the New England Patriots on Oct. 11.
“Drew is, I think, 50-50 to make it this week and I’m being totally honest with that statement,” Fangio said Friday afternoon. “We’ll see how he progresses here by Tuesday, by Wednesday and see where he’s at.”
If Lock does return next week, he will only have missed two starts after leaving Week 2’s game early after suffereing a “bad bruise” on his throwing shoulder. The Broncos decided not to put Lock on the injured reserve in hopes that he would miss less than three weeks. If he’s back for the Patriots game, their bet would have paid off.
Lock, however, has not thrown a football yet since suffering the injury, but he has “thrown some light balls,” according to Fangio. With no structural damange to Lock’s shoulder, the requirements for Fangio to let Drew play are simple.
“I just need to see a healthy quarterback,” Fangio stated. “I’m not going to put him out there unless he’s healthy, can throw without hesitation, without altering his delivery and he’s very confident and healthy that he can go out there and play normal.”
If Lock doesn’t meet those requirements in just over a week, Brett Rypien will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback for a second-straight week.
“I thought Brett’s play was good, in light of everything,” Fangio said, evaluating Rypien’s first NFL start where the Broncos dropped a season-high 37 points. “I was surpised with the interceptions, particularly the first one. That was a bad decision on his part to even try and fit that ball in there. There was nowhere for it to be fit. I’m surpised he made that decision.”
“But I also loved some of the throws he made — downfield, the touchdown pass to Tim, managed the operation good. We went from giving up 12, 13, 14 sacks in the two previous games to none and he defineitly played a part in that,” Fangio continued. “Overall, very pleased with his play, not pleased with three interceptions, obviously, but if he has to play this coming week in New England, I think he’ll be even better for it.”
Along with Rypien and Lock, the Broncos also have Jeff Driskel — who started in Week 3 before being benched for Rypien — and Blake Bortles on the 53-man roster. Fangio stated the team will continue to carry four quarterbacks until Lock is healthy.
“If Drew can’t dress, and you’re down to two and one of your quarterbacks gets COVID or something, you can’t go into a game with one quarterback,” Fangio said, explaining his decision to keep four quarterbacks. “We’re tied to four right now becuase one of them is hurt. We’ll see how the backup position plays itself out in the next couple weeks. Again, a lot of that will be based on Drew’s availability or not available.”
A lot rides on Drew Lock’s health moving forward. But there’s a 50-50 chance the Broncos will get their starting quarterback back for their next game.