NFL Forces Broncos to Play Without QB Against Saints

All four of Denver's quarterbacks were deemed ineligible to play due to COVID-19 concerns

NFL Forces Broncos to Play Without QB Against Saints
Kendall Hinton of the. Broncos walks off the field with Garett Bolles following an interception.
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After all four of Denver’s actual quarterbacks were deemed ineligible to play against the New Orleans Saints due to COVID-19 concerns, the Broncos turned to wide receiver Kendall Hinton as their starting QB on Sunday.

Predictably, it did not go well.

Hinton, an undrafted rookie who played some quarterback in college but tried to make the team as a wide receiver, went 1-for-9 for 13 yards with a sack, two interceptions and a passer rating of zero as Denver fell to New Orleans 31-3.

Held to a single third-down conversion by the Saints, Denver became the first team with more interceptions than conversions in a game since the Chargers on September 20, 1998.

Despite the sub-par performance, it is difficult to blame Hinton for the loss as he only found out he was going to be starting for Denver hours before kickoff. In fact, the Broncos wanted to use offensive quality control coach Ron Calabrese, a former college quarterback, as their starter but were denied by the league. So, coach Vic Fangio turned to Hinton.

“He did everything he could,” Fangio said. “He was excited for the opportunity. We had about a two, three, four-hour window to get him ready, which isn’t a lot, obviously. … That’s a big, big ask and it just didn’t work out.”

Prior to playing Hinton at QB, the Broncos did ask the NFL to postpone the game. But, that request was denied.

“I would not say this is how I planned it out in my dreams, but it usually doesn’t work out how you want it,” Hinton said. “So, just getting this opportunity and this experience has been amazing.”

Denver’s top three quarterbacks, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, were pulled off the practice field and sent home on Saturday after the NFL deemed them high-risk close contacts of fourth potential starter Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving.

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