Denver Broncos: Top 10 things that have defined 2020

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos quarterback. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos quarterback. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
9 of 10
Kendall Hinton, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

2. COVID-19 impact on the season

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, not just professional sports teams.

The NFL has taken its own approach to dealing with the pandemic, largely working around it, but the Denver Broncos have certainly been significantly impacted by it.

Initially, the Broncos had to deal with the loss of starting right tackle and prized 2019 free agent Ja’Wuan James, who opted out of the 2020 season completely due to concerns over the pandemic and inherent injury risks with the lack of offseason preparation.

The loss of James sent the Broncos into somewhat of a scramble at right tackle as Elijah Wilkinson was also recovering from offseason surgery.

The opt-out of James aside, the Broncos’ young offense was obviously limited to organizing their own workouts where it was even possible as many states limited gatherings to just a small handful of people, if you were allowed in public at all, over the offseason months.

The team’s “OTAs” happened over Zoom calls. Training camp was expedited and the players barely had any time on task learning a new offense while many were simultaneously finding their footing in the NFL.

Over the course of the season, the Broncos’ gameday roster has been substantially impacted by COVID rules and protocols as well.

Shelby Harris missed four games on the COVID/reserve list. Other players missed a game or multiple games, but there was no more significant event than all four of the Broncos’ quarterbacks being declared ineligible for the team’s contest at home against the New Orleans Saints, which forced the Broncos to use practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton as their top quarterback for a game.

Everyone knew there was a possibility this kind of thing could happen, but obviously it was a really disappointing piece of the Broncos’ 2020 season and, unfortunately, one of the things people will remember the most about it.