And just like that, Joe Flacco is no longer the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback. In the wake of Flacco's neck injury, Brandon Allen has been vaulted into the starter's role.
For a third-year player who will take his first regular-season snap on Sunday, it'll be a big adjustment, needless to say. Suddenly going from catching Flacco passes to Allen will also take some getting used to for No. 1 wide receiver Courtland Sutton.
On Wednesday, Sutton revealed what the biggest adjustment will be working with Allen at QB now.
“Timing. Timing is the biggest key," Sutton said. "Joe and I have been working on timing since OTAs, so that’s a lot of time to get a lot of reps, lot of routes on air, a lot of seven-on-seven and a lot of in practice good-on-good reps. It’s a lot of stuff that Brandon and I and the rest of receivers are going to have to learn with him moving forward at a really quick pace, but you know we’re excited for it. I know he’s ready for it as well.”
For all the criticism Flacco took in his eight games as a starter, he found a way to feed the ball to his top wideout. Flacco and Sutton developed a solid rapport and chemistry and it took hundreds of hours and thousands of reps to establish it.
Sutton and all the Broncos' tight ends and receivers will be starting from square one with Allen this week, but so long as the new starting QB understands the offense and can conduct it like a symphony, the ball will get spread around to where it's supposed to go.
Sutton isn't the only first-team Bronco to make a public show of faith in Allen. Phillip Lindsay is bullish on Allen taking the reins.
“First of all, Brandon is a very intelligent dude," Lindsay said on Wednesday. "I was very shocked and surprised when he first got here how well he got the terminology so fast and how confident and calm he is. I’m excited to see what he has to offer. I think he’s going to move around a lot and I think he’s going to take shots and stuff. Nothing changes. We have to find ways to win the game. For us, we’re going to have to run the ball, we’re going to have to find ways to make first downs and make explosive plays.”
It'll be nice to see a Broncos QB back there with some mobility, as Allen has. The new starting QB can really endear himself to the fanbase with a win at home vs. the Cleveland Browns but also by making the type of splash plays that were pitifully few and far between with Flacco.
“He’s got a nice release," head coach Vic Fangio said of Allen. "I think he’s got better arm strength than people will give him credit for initially looking at him. I think he’s got a good feel for the game. I don’t think the game will be too big for him. I think he’s got a chance to go out there and perform well. He hasn’t taken a snap in an NFL regular-season game, but has had some in preseason, played a lot in college and I think he’ll do fine.”