ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On the heels of the Broncos’ Week 12 loss to the Saints in which Denver did not have any of its four quarterbacks available, President and CEO Joe Ellis released a statement Tuesday that commended the team’s efforts against New Orleans and stressed the need for collective responsibility over the final stretch of the season.
“We share the disappointment of our fans for the challenging and unique situation our team faced at the last minute this weekend,” Ellis said. “While it’s easy to point fingers, all of us must take responsibility and work together to prevent it from happening again.”
The Broncos learned late Saturday that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles would be ineligible for Sunday’s game against New Orleans and would need to be placed on the league’s Reserve/COVID-19 list as high-risk close contacts. Quarterback Jeff Driskel was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week.
Head Coach Vic Fangio later disclosed that the four quarterbacks watched film on Tuesday and were “lax” at times with their mask usage and social distancing.
Practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton was elevated from the practice squad on game day and attempted nine passes for the Broncos, who otherwise ran plays in which they snapped the ball directly to a running back.
Denver fell 31-3 to the 9-2 Saints.
Despite the loss, Ellis said Sunday’s game against New Orleans was yet another example of the Broncos facing adversity.
“Throughout this season, I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of our staff to create a safe environment for everyone, led by our medical, facilities and compliance efforts,” Ellis said. “It’s especially important to recognize the discipline and sacrifices of the players — and their families — this year.
“The players have stuck together and done a tremendous job facing adversity with a positive mindset. That was never more clear than on Sunday against the Saints.”
Ellis said he met virtually with Fangio and President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway on Monday to improve the team’s COVID-19 protocols as the Broncos move toward their final five games of the 2020 season.
“As we enter the final month of this unprecedented season, we must do even more with the COVID-19 spike around the league and community,” Ellis said. “I met with John Elway and Vic Fangio virtually on Monday afternoon, and together we outlined what needs to be done to step it up.
“It’s a team effort — players, coaches and staff. We will learn from this and be ready for the challenge of facing the Chiefs in front of a national audience on ‘Sunday Night Football.'”