ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the first time since Pittsburgh's Bud Dupree smashed him into the turf on Sept. 20, Broncos quarterback Drew Lock threw a football during media viewing of practice.
He passed the initial test, firing darts from 10-20 yards from the pocket and rolling right. Lock also improvised a sidearm throw while hustling to finish a drill after the horn, and he fired a few extra passes to receiver Dionte Spencer before team drills started. Lock, pictured above from video footage shot by Denver7's Jeff Howe, was hoping to participate in a few of those reps.
So is he clear to start against the Patriots? Not exactly.
Context and the calendar matter. Lock was fourth during the drills, following Brett Rypien, Jeff Driskel and Blake Bortles. Rypien is preparing to start, and was made available to the media on Wednesday — the typical place for the starter.
Rypien said he "is ready for everything. This is Drew Lock's team. I am getting an opportunity. And if he comes back, I will get an opportunity to help him."
The second issue for Lock: practice and healing time. Would Lock be ready after, hypothetically, one full practice this week? That seems unlikely given that the typical recovery time for pitchers with this same injury is a month. That timetable would put Lock back on the field next Sunday at home against the Dolphins. However, Lock has not been ruled out.
"Drew is going to practice on limited basis and see how he does," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "Based on that and next few days, we will decide."
Rypien has earned high marks for his preparation and ability to make in-game adjustments after mistakes. He admitted he will benefit from a full week of practice if, as expected, he makes his second consecutive start. The Broncos, typical for all NFL teams with a Thursday night game, conducted only walkthroughs last week.
"It will definitely help," Rypien said. "I’m going about it like I’m going to play on Sunday. Obviously there is some uncertainty around Drew now. (With first start), I thought there was a lot more good than bad.”
It’s a season of big sports events airing this fall on Denver7. Check out our upcoming schedule:
- Oct. 9: NBA Finals Game 5 on Denver7
- Oct. 11: NBA Finals Game 6 on Denver7
- Oct. 13: NBA Finals Game 7 on Denver7