Former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was expected to be the trusted veteran that could lead the Denver Broncos back to the postseason when he arrived via trade, but he will no longer be available to play due to injury. He has been sidelined by a herniated disk in his neck, which he aggravated during the loss to the Indianapolis Colts. According to ESPN, this injury will keep him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season.
Following last Sunday's loss in which Flacco criticized his team's playcalling in the final minutes of the game, the veteran QB met with team doctors and other physicians in an effort to determine the best plan for his neck injury. The consensus, as it turns out, was that he would likely miss six weeks of time while recovering.
Sitting at 2-6 with only eight games remaining on the schedule, the Broncos decided to place Flacco in Injured Reserve, officially ending his 2019 season.
"At best, it was a six-week [span] where he could do nothing, and when I say nothing, absolutely nothing, so he would need probably two weeks to get back and with the chance of it being eight [weeks] of doing nothing, and another week or two to get ready, you guys can kind of do the math," Fangio said to reporters. "It kind of became an easy decision."
Without Flacco in the lineup, the Broncos will temporarily forge ahead with a former sixth-round pick in Brandon Allen taking the starting reps. Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns will be his first start in the NFL after originally entering the league in 2016. He will also be the sixth different starting QB for the Broncos since the 2017 season.
Rookie Brett Rypien, who spent the offseason with the Broncos, was recently activated from the practice squad. He will serve as Allen's backup during Sunday's game. This duo will continue to lead the Broncos offense while rookie Drew Lock recovers from a thumb injury on IR. He will be eligible to practice in week 11, which would give the Broncos three weeks to decide whether to add him to the active roster or to leave him on IR for the remainder of his season.
Flacco started all eight of the Broncos' games and threw for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. However, he was also sacked 26 times in eight starts, which is the third-most in the NFL. Only Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals have been sacked more.
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