The Denver Broncos went with practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, which led to a 31-3 loss. However, the Broncos wanted one of their assistant coaches to be under center instead of Hilton. According to ESPN, Denver was looking to have offensive quality control coach Rob Calabrese start at quarterback. However, the team's request was denied by the NFL, stating a coach could not be activated to the active roster.
The reason the Broncos were short on quarterbacks is all of their eligible signal-callers - Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles - were deemed to be high-risk COVID-19 close contacts after Jeff Driskel tested positive for the virus on Thursday and then placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list that day. Hinton played quarterback at Wake Forest for three years but was put in a near-impossible situation this past weekend as he had to learn a new position in less than a day. He finished the game against the Saints with 13 yards and two interceptions while completing just one of his nine passes.
"He did everything he could," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said after the loss. "He was excited for the opportunity. We had about a two-, three-, four-hour window to get him ready, which isn't a lot obviously. He was excited for it. We were excited for him; his teammates were excited for him. That's a big, big ask, and it just didn't work out." Hinton also spoke to reporters after the game and revealed what the weekend was like for him.
"I can easily say that was the most eventful 24 hours of my life, but when I got the call there was pure excitement," Hinton said. "Of course, there was nerves and disbelief, but the encouragement the team gave me and guys just keeping me up the whole time, they made it a lot easier for me."
Calabrese was hired by the Broncos in 2019 after spending three years at Wagner College as the school's offensive coordinator, running backs coach and assistant special teams coach. He played quarterback at wide receiver at Central Florida and finished his career with 1,276 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 494 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns from 2008-12.