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Broncos Head Into Sunday With No Eligible QBs As NFL COVID-19 Freak Show Intensifies

James Murphy
by in NFL on
  • The NFL has had a terrible week dealing with the fallout of the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As a result of positive COVID-19 tests and accompanying contact tracing the Denver Broncos enter Sunday with none of the QBs on the roster eligible to play.
  • For now at least, the game is still scheduled to be played and the Broncos have indicated that they won’t forfeit.

At some point in the not too distant future it would be nice if I could actually write an article without some reference to COVID-19. I get that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the biggest story in the world at the moment and has a significant impact on everything–including sports. It’s difficult to write an article on anything without at least a passing reference to COVID-19. This week, however, has been ‘all COVID all the time’ in both the NFL and college football.

It’s hard to say who had a worse week relative to the coronavirus–the NFL or college football. The NFL has had to kick the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game originally scheduled for Thanksgiving back a few days in hopes that they’ll be able to play despite a COVID-19 surge in the Ravens’ camp. Among the Ravens on the reserve/COVID-19 list is the league’s reigning MVP Lamar Jackson but that might be the least of their worries as the team now has a total of 18 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They’re at the point where you can make a compelling case that they’ll be unable to put a competitive team on the field but pending further notice the NFL still has the game on the schedule for Tuesday night. The league has announced that Baltimore’s game against Dallas scheduled for Thursday, December 3 has been postponed.

The Ravens will likely play both of their upcoming games without starting quarterback Lamar Jackson but it could be worse. Ask the Denver Broncos–all four of the quarterbacks on their roster are OUT for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints due to COVID-19 related issues. Take a look at this injury report:

And check out the Broncos’ depth chart at QB:

The Broncos are fortunate they have practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton as an option at QB. He’s not only a damn good athlete but played quarterback for several years in college at Wake Forest. He’s also very fast for a QB and that will likely play a big part in the Broncos gameplan. Denver’s emergency quarterback is running back Royce Freeman who might get some snaps under center.

That is if the game gets played at all. It’s a bad look for the NFL to force a team to play without a quarterback. A few Broncos’ players have pointed that out on Twitter as well as a perceived double standard for game postponements:

Some players found humor in the situation:

So what does the NFL betting marketplace think of the Broncos’ chances without a legit NFL quarterback on the roster? Here’s the line history from the Westgate Superbook–check out the line on the game before and after the ‘we ain’t got no quarterbacks’ announcement:

I’d like to think that the NFL will step in and postpone or cancel the game. Maybe they were hoping that Denver would forfeit and make that decision for them. When the Las Vegas Raiders faced the possibility to playing without any starting offensive linemen a few weeks ago word on the street was that if that scenario played out the game would be postponed. Hard to imagine that same criteria wouldn’t apply to the quarterback position. The more run this gets in the sports media the more pressure the league will be under to intervene, if for no other reason than to give the appearance of not having different standards for different teams relative to cancellations.

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