ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In an injury-riddled season that has led to a major slump on offense, the Denver Broncos (0-3) will start their third different quarterback in four weeks when Brett Rypien opens the game behind center Thursday night against the New York Jets.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio told the team Tuesday morning that Rypien, who played on the Broncos’ final drive in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, would start against the Jets. Rypien said Fangio informed him of the decision Monday.
Fangio also said there is a chance Jeff Driskel, who started the Buccaneers game, would play in some situations against the Jets.
“We’ll just see how the game unfolds,” Fangio said. “We may change it up a few times.”
Drew Lock started Denver’s first two games, but suffered a right (throwing) shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is expected to miss at least another two games.
Rypien, nephew of longtime NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster last week. He will be the ninth different quarterback to start a game for the Broncos since the start of the 2017 season.
The Broncos also signed Blake Bortles, a 2014 first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, last week, but Fangio said Monday it was “unrealistic” to expect him to be an option to start against the Jets.
Rypien entered Sunday’s game in relief of Driskel with 9 minutes, 56 seconds remaining. He completed his first eight passes but his last attempt was intercepted in the end zone when he tried to squeeze a throw in to Jerry Jeudy. Rypien finished the game 8-of-9 for 53 yards.
Fangio said he liked how Rypien got the ball out quickly on a day when the Broncos struggled with Buccaneers’ pass rush.
“He played pretty good in there,” Fangio said. “… We want to see if that can continue.”
Added offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur: “He executes well, he’s quick-minded, he gets the ball out quickly.”
When asked what attributes he has that have helped him the most in his time with the team, Rypien said, “I think fast and get the ball out.”
The move comes with the Broncos’ offense struggling. The team has surrendered 13 sacks (all in the past two games), tied for second-most allowed in the league.
The Broncos are also ranked 30th in scoring in the league (15 points per game) and 29th in both total offense (289.3 yards per game) as well as third-down conversions (34.2%). Their quarterbacks have just four touchdown passes this season (one by Lock, three by Driskel).
Rypien, who came to the Broncos as an undrafted rookie in 2019, spent most of last season on the practice squad and was initially signed to it again after this year’s training camp when the Broncos kept two quarterbacks on the roster in Lock and Driskel.
“It was good to get in there for a drive [last Sunday],” Rypien said. “Hopefully that can carry over to this Thursday.”
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