The Denver Broncos are riding high, coming of their first win of the season after beating the New York Jets 37-28 on Thursday Night Football. The game featured the first career start of Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, who played admirably despite several rookie-type mistakes.
Rypien is the third quarterback to start for Denver since the 2020 season opened. That wasn't the plan, obviously. The plan was Drew Lock.
Alas, just two series into the Broncos' Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh, Lock was hit from behind and driven into the turn where he suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder. He hasn't played, or thrown (ostensibly), since.
The timetable for Lock was 2-6 weeks. The Broncos felt he could be back for Week 5 at the New England Patriots and so the decision was to refrain from placing him on injured reserve, which would require he miss at least three games.
With two games now having passed under the bridge, the Broncos sit at 1-3. This team gets a mini-bye of sorts by virtue of playing on Thursday night, going 10 days between games. That being said, is there any chance Lock could play next week?
"Drew is, I think, 50-50 to make it this week and I'm being totally honest with that statement," Fangio said on Friday. "We'll see how he progresses here by Tuesday, by Wednesday, see where he's at."
If Lock is a no-go against the Patriots, Fangio confirmed that Rypien would get the start again. Honestly, Fangio's even odds on Lock's availability for Week 5 surprised me as I figured we'd hear something like, 'It's too soon to say'.
However, Fangio's revelation showcases that as encouraging as Rypien's debut start was, the Broncos are counting the seconds until Lock can get back out on the grass and resume his duties as the starting quarterback. The team had some high hopes for Lock entering 2020 and even though he's missed the last two-and-a-half games, much of that optimism remains within Dove Valley.
By virtue of all the team's injuries and three losses in the first quarter of the season, Denver's optimism for 2020 has likely been tempered but getting a more long-term evaluation on Lock is still very much in the cards. Rypien's tenacity and smart brand of quarterbacking was refreshing but the Broncos offense is still missing that swagger.
Lock can deliver that in spades.