Broncos News: Royce Freeman may start at quarterback against Saints

Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Royce Freeman may be the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback on Sunday.

Yes, you heard that right. The Denver Broncos do not have a quarterback on the roster eligible to play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 12. Third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and on Saturday, the team’s remaining quarterbacks, Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and practice squad QB Blake Bortles were all pulled from the practice field due to concerns over contact tracing.

The Broncos tried to work with the league to get at least one of their quarterbacks cleared to play, but the decision was made that all the quarterbacks have been deemed ineligible.

So who lines up under center for the Broncos?

That could really end up being anyone at this point, but as Mike Klis of 9News tweeted out, third-string running back Royce Freeman may be an option.

Freeman serves as the team’s emergency quarterback, but no one ever expects that player to ever have to take snaps. On Sunday, not only will Freeman (or whoever gets the call at  QB)  have to take snaps, they will be taking all of the snaps.

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Pat Shurmur will certainly have his work cut out for him in terms of coming up with an offensive gameplan for this one. The Broncos could run some Wildcat with Freeman or even Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon, but throwing the ball is going to be quite difficult.

To make matters worse, the Saints currently rank No. 2 in the league in rush defense, giving up just over 74 yards per game on  the ground.

This is an extraordinary set of bad  circumstances for the Broncos, who apparently only had a choice between finding an emergency QB or forfeiting the game.

One other option would be Kendall Hinton, an undrafted wide receiver out of Wake  Forest who is on the team’s practice squad. He was a quarterback in high school and during the early part of his college career before being converted to wide receiver for his senior season.

He threw for 1,504 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions during that time. Those are not great numbers, but he’s probably a better option than Freeman.