ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — And then there were 9.
Nine quarterbacks who have started a game for the Denver Broncos since Peyton Manning retired after the team’s Super Bowl 50 victory to cap the 2015 season.
Brett Rypien, an undrafted second-year player from Boise State, will become the 9th. Broncos coach Vic Fangio named Rypien as his starting quarterback for their game Thursday night against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
“We’ve had a year and second training camp and couple weeks with Brett here,'' Fangio said on his Zoom media conference Tuesday. "We just think he deserves a chance to see how he can do here as a starter, albeit with a short week of preparation and take a look at Brett that way.”
Both teams are 0-3 so it’s considered a must win for the Broncos as the consequences of losing would mean the embarrassment of having the NFL’s worst record.
“No matter who were playing right now we definitely need a win,'' Rypien said in his first-ever starting QB Zoom call. "The focus for me this week is to try and get better these next two days. We’re not going to be able to get a lot of reps full speed with the guys, but it’s the mental reps, making sure I’m dialed on protections, different things like that. If we do that hopefully we can get the ball moving on Thursday night.’’
Rypien replaces Jeff Driskel, who started Sunday against Tampa Bay, but was pulled in the fourth quarter with the Broncos trailing 28-10. Fangio said Driskel could also play in the game against the Jets.
Rypien started 8 for 8 in his NFL debut Sunday against Tampa Bay, before his lone series finished with a fourth-down interception in the end zone.
Driskel played well when he had time, but he took 11 sacks in six quarters of play the previous two games.
The nephew of former Washington Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, Brett was a four-year starter at Boise State, throwing for 30 touchdowns against 7 interceptions as a senior.
Despite his pedigree and background, Rypien has had people say he wasn't big enough or didn't have a strong enough arm to play in the NFL. Something inside him said to give it a try, anyway.
"I haven’t really tried to pay attention to people that believe in me – I do pay attention to people who believe in me but the people who don’t believe in me, it is what it is,'' Rypien said. "I can’t do anything about that. I just have to go out there and prove people wrong.
"I’ve played this position for a long time. I played four years in high school, I played four years in college. I’ve seen a lot of games. I’ve seen a lot of reps, and a lot of defenses. I think that’s probably my best quality is being able to understand defenses and think fast and get the ball out.”
Rypien is first getting his chance because the Broncos’ No. 1 quarterback, Drew Lock, will miss his second consecutive game with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The Broncos signed veteran Blake Bortles, a former four-year starter for Jacksonville, last week but he’s had less than a week of practice with the team.
The Broncos’ 9 starting quarterbacks, in order, since Manning retired: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, Lock, Driskel and Rypien.
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