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Broncos game at New England may now be battle of backup QBs

Patriots star QB Cam Newton reportedly tests positive for COVID-19. Broncos’ Brett Rypien is in line for a second NFL start if Lock rests his shoulder another week.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Denver.

DENVER — Backup quarterbacks could well be featured in the Broncos-Patriots game next Sunday in Foxboro, Mass.

That's if there is no further virus outbreak with the New England football team and the game goes on as scheduled.

The Patriots are unlikely to have Cam Newton play against the Broncos because the star quarterback has tested positive for coronavirus, according to multiple reports. Standard protocol is a minimum two-week quarantine for COVID-19 patients.

The Patriots' backup quarterbacks are veteran Brian Hoyer and second-year player Jarrett Stidham.

RELATED: New England Patriots QB Cam Newton tests positive COVID-19, per reports

The Broncos, meanwhile, will prepare as if second-year quarterback Brett Rypien will get his second NFL start while also monitoring Drew Lock’s strained right throwing shoulder.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Friday that Lock was “50-50” to play against New England, although he also said the team’s No. 1 quarterback has yet to test his shoulder by throwing a football.

Lock suffered a strained right rotator cuff two weeks ago, early in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss at Pittsburgh.

Before alarms traveled throughout the NFL on Saturday morning after the revelation that Newton had tested positive for COVID-19, the Broncos had warned their players and coaches to take extra precautions against the virus during their four-day break.

In a group text message, players and coaches were reminded to wear masks and maintain social distancing during their long weekend break, especially in light of the recent virus outbreaks around the league.

The Broncos got their first win of the season by defeating the New York Jets, 37-28, on Thursday night. Players were excused until Tuesday, when they were to report back to UCHealth Training Center for preparations.

RELATED: Bronco notes: Rypien to start at New England if Lock can’t play

RELATED: Rypien plays well, then he doesn't, then he does: Broncos beat Jets 37-28

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