Playing without an experienced quarterback got ugly fast for the Broncos.
Denver was forced to play wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who started three years at quarterback for Wake Forest, under center after all of its experienced signal-callers were ruled out for Sunday’s game under the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Hinton went 0-for-7 passing with an interception in the first half and left the Broncos trailing the Saints 17-0 at the break in Denver. The Broncos had just 37 yards of offense in the first half and saw the drive prior to the interception end in a fumble.
The Broncos are in this predicament because backup quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday and starting quarterback Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad member Blake Bortles were reportedly deemed to be in close contact without masks and high risk. They were all ruled ineligible to play.
Denver was unable to sign a late replacement because of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. The team even tried to activate offensive quality control coach Rob Calabrese to play quarterback but were denied by the league. Calabrese played wide receiver/quarterback for the Central Florida Knights in 2012.