ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Vic Fangio wasn’t exactly nice to his quarterbacks for getting clipped by the NFL for breaking COVID protocols.
The Broncos head coach laid stern blame for the team’s 31-3 offensive fiasco against the Saints squarely on his four quarterbacks. Jeff Driskel wound up testing positive for the virus while Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were banished for five days as close contacts.
Fangio could have shown more empathy for his quarterbacks – especially since he was fined $100,000 and got the Broncos’ organization fined another $250,000 for not wearing his mask while coaching during a week 2 game at Pittsburgh.
Then again who says football coaches have to be nice?
“Anything that Coach Vic says it's not … my jurisdiction to really get upset with him,’’ said Lock, the quarterback starter. “He's my boss. He's the leader of this team and whatever he says goes. I feel like we were taking a little bit of leadership by coming in and getting ready by ourselves and doing that by ourselves on a day (Tuesday) where everyone else is at home. So, I feel like that shows leadership. But, again, we didn't do the right thing. We didn't have them on the whole time we were in there. That's just the point of the matter is they felt like it was off for the amount of time to be able to keep us out of the game. That's what it is, and we've got to be better.”
Lock was miserable as he watched the Broncos’ debacle from home. His replacement, Kendall Hinton, is a receiver who was called up from the practice squad and had little chance at succeeding. He had just one completion – a screen pass – in 9 pass attempts and threw two interceptions.
“Watching it was a gut-wrenching feeling the whole time,’’ Lock said. “It was tough. It was really tough. It wasn't something that I enjoyed doing. I would much rather have been out there on the field helping my teammates out. It hurt my heart, hurt my soul, and it's time to move on and get to Kansas City and get out there and do what I love and that's play football.”
Up next for Lock is the Kansas City Chiefs before a national primetime audience on Sunday night (KUSA-9NEWS) at Arrowhead Stadium. He has not played well in two starts against his hometown team, throwing 0 touchdowns against 3 interceptions for a 54.3 passer rating while losing the two games by 23-3 at Arrowhead last year in a snowstorm, and 43-16 earlier this season at Empower Field at Mile High.
“If we just keep the ball in our hands and take what they give us, I think we can have a better outing this time to make the difference in the scoreboard,’’ said Lock. “Our biggest focus is taking care of the ball this week and like I said, doing our job one play at a time.”
Parks, Shelby return
Will Parks is back in Denver after the safety was claimed off waivers Wednesday from Philadelphia. Parks was a Broncos’ sixth-round draft pick in 2016 and played four seasons with the Broncos. He will replace cornerback Bryce Callahan, who is going on injured reserve – and therefore will miss at least three games – with a foot injury.
Parks will not be able to finish his COVID testing in time for the Broncos’ game Sunday at Kansas City. Broncos’ defensive lineman Shelby Harris was also activated from the COVID list after missing four consecutive games, first as a close contact and then following a positive test.