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Broncos will keep quarterback Blake Bortles away from team facility in case of future COVID outbreak

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have been dealing with their own COVID-19 outbreaks over the past week, but it was the Denver Broncos that got the short end of the stick on Sunday. After Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the three other quarterbacks on Denver’s roster were deemed high risk, close contacts, and ruled ineligible for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints less than 24 hours before kickoff. The Broncos are hoping they never have to deal with that scenario again, and are taking extra steps to ensure they will always have a quarterback readily available.

Earlier this week, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio reportedly told the media that the team didn’t have a plan to isolate one of their quarterbacks to keep at least one signal-caller safe, but on Wednesday, the Broncos appeared to have changed their minds. According to NFL.com, Fangio told reporters that the Broncos will now start to limit Blake Bortles‘ exposure to teammates, and he will not come to the team facility for their mid-week activities. In short, he will serve as Denver’s reserve quarterback in case the Broncos’ other quarterbacks are deemed close contacts again at some time this season.

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Without a quarterback, the Broncos fell to the Saints by a score of 31-3. Denver elevated practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who had played a bit of quarterback during his college days at Wake Forest, but he struggled. Hinton completed just 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards and threw two interceptions, as the Broncos recorded just 112 yards of total offense.

According to Mike Klis of 9News, the Broncos exhausted virtually every avenue when it came to trying to find a new quarterback for last Sunday. Offensive quality control coach Rob Calabrese ran the offense at practice on Saturday, and the team inquired of the league if they could sign Calabrese or another offensive assistant coach who played quarterback in college to their active roster to suit up on Sunday. The league reportedly rejected the idea. 

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The Broncos had to experience first-hand what it was like to take the field without a quarterback, and it’s something they never want to have to do again. Maybe other teams should consider keeping one of their quarterbacks at home as well. 


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