Josh Johnson separates himself in Denver Broncos backup QB race in preseason Week 1

Denver Broncos, Josh Johnson - Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Josh Johnson - Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Which Denver Broncos quarterback won the day in the first preseason game, against the Dallas Cowboys?

The Denver Broncos are holding a competition for the backup quarterback spot during the preseason. The competition is between journeyman Josh Johnson and former undrafted free agent Brett Rypien.

Rypien has been on the team since 2019 and has started just one game. He has two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Johnson was signed this offseason after spending time with 13 NFL teams since 2008, some during multiple stints. He also spent time in the UFL and AAF, both of which no longer exist.

I would imagine that the Broncos won’t know who will be the backup to Russell Wilson until after the third preseason game. However, with a couple of good performances by one of these players, the decision could be made after two.

There were a couple of plays that were covered nicely by the Cowboys defense, including a fourth quarter screen that was swallowed up. On screens, there’s typically just one target on the play and the Cowboys did a nice job taking it away.

Denver Broncos backup Josh Johnson won the day against the Cowboys

Josh Johnson had a rough start to the day. While he went 16 of 23 for 172 yards and two touchdowns, some of the passes looked pretty awful. Even some of the completions looked off target.

That being said, Johnson did lead the team to two touchdowns, one to Kendall Hinton and the other to Seth Williams.

Johnson found a groove and got comfortable in the pocket. His favorite target seemed to be rookie Brandon Johnson, who had four receptions for 64 yards.

At the end of the day, if all goes well for the Denver Broncos in 2022, there will not be a sighting of anybody at quarterback other than Russell Wilson. That being said, it appears, at least for now, Josh Johnson has outplayed Rypien and has won the backup quarterback race through the first week of the preseason.

At one point in the first half, Johnson completed 12 consecutive passes. That’s tremendous efficiency and something that could ultimately be a decider when the coaching staff meets to decide who will back up Russell Wilson.

I don’t necessarily think that Rypien played bad—I just think that Johnson played better as he continued to get some playing experience. Johnson was the guy that led the team to two touchdown throws, which is a major win for him.

The competition continues next Saturday at the Buffalo Bills.