Speaking to reporters following his team's 31–3 loss to the Saints on Sunday, Broncos coach Vic Fangio expressed his disappointment about the position his team was in heading into the game. Denver was forced to play with practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback after every quarterback on its roster was ruled out as a high-risk close contact.
Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, and fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were all ineligible to play after coming into contact with Driskel without wearing their masks.
"I was disappointed on a couple of levels, that our quarterbacks put us in this position, that our quarterbacks put the league in this position, we count on them to be the leaders of this team, so that's disappointing," Fangio said, according to Brandon Krisztal of KOA Radio Denver.
Fangio said that the quarterbacks met at the team's facility during an off-day on Tuesday to study film. The group "got lax with their masks" and failed to adequately keep their distance from each other.
Denver was alerted on Saturday, the day before the game, that it would not have its quarterbacks available. After unsuccessfully appealing to the league to postpone the game, the Broncos opted to go with Hinton. Hinton hadn't been able to take practice reps at the position and had never played in an NFL game before, though he did spend multiple seasons playing quarterback at Wake Forest.
The results went about as most would expect. Hinton was 1-for-9 for 13 yards and two interceptions, as the Broncos only mustered 112 yards of total offense.
"I can easily say that was the most eventful 24 hours of my life, but when I got the call there was pure excitement," Hinton said, per the team's postgame transcript. "Of course, there was nerves and disbelief, but the encouragement the team gave me and guys just keeping me up the whole time. ...
"Coming in I knew that I had no idea what the speed of the game was like. I'm familiar with our concepts but it's a lot different from quarterback. So, coming in we knew it'd be a tough situation for sure. That was a challenge that I wanted to take on."