Despite Joe Flacco enduring a rough Thursday night against the Chiefs, the Broncos as of now do not have a viable alternative at quarterback. Their depth chart, however, could return to full strength soon.
Drew Lock will practice next week, Vic Fangio said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). The second-round rookie has been out since midway through Denver’s preseason slate with a sprained right thumb. He can come off IR in Week 9.
Interestingly, two other players on the Broncos’ IR list — Theo Riddick and wideout Tim Patrick — will join Lock in returning to practice. IR rules stipulate the Broncos can only activate one of them, so either Riddick or Patrick will end up on season-ending IR soon.
Flacco lost his Ravens job to a rookie last season, with Lamar Jackson usurping him while the longtime Baltimore starter was out with injury. Flacco fared poorly in the Broncos’ latest nationally televised spot, pointing to another benching at some point in this season’s second half.
It would stand to reason the 2-5 Broncos will want to give Lock time down the stretch. While the University of Missouri product did not have a strong preseason, the Broncos’ worst start in two decades points them toward evaluation mode. Determining if Lock is a realistic future starter will be key for a team that could still consider taking another quarterback in the 2020 draft.
Since Patrick landed on IR after the Broncos’ Week 1 game, he cannot return to action until Week 9. Patrick showed some promise as a rookie, catching 23 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. This season’s Broncos offense has not featured much in the passing game beyond Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders, with DaeSean Hamilton playing a more limited role.
Riddick chose the Broncos over interest from the Saints and other teams but went down during Denver’s preseason slate. A shoulder fracture shelved Riddick, but the longtime Lions passing-down back will have a chance to begin his age-28 season soon.
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