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Lock trending toward starting Sunday, but Fangio not yet ready for final call

Brett Rypien is ready just in case, but if Lock proves healthy these next two days he would be in position to start.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock and Brett Rypien join running backs LeVante Bellamy, Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, left right, during the NFL football team's practice Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It’s unusual for such bromides, but it appears the Broncos’ starting quarterback for the game Sunday is Drew Lock’s job to lose.

Lock has soreness in his oblique/ribs area but tests did not reveal any breaks or other structural damage. He didn’t practice Wednesday because of the soreness while backup Brett Rypien took all the reps. Lock and Rypien split the snaps Thursday, although sources said Lock took most of the red zone reps.

The Broncos play the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High in what will be Denver’s last home game with a limited crowd in attendance. Lock is trending toward starting, although head coach Vic Fangio wants a little more evidence of recovery before making a final determination.

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“We’re going to practice Drew today again -- give Brett some reps -- but see exactly where Drew is so we can make a good decision hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow as to who will be the starter,’’ Fangio said in his Zoom media conference.

Lock and tight end Noah Fant, who also has sore ribs, will be listed as questionable. Special teams linebacker Joe Jones (calf) is out. Demar Dotson, back from his groin injury this week, will return at starting right tackle with Calvin Anderson serving as the backup swing tackle. Offensive tackle Jake Rodgers (shoulder) was going to be out, but was upgraded to questionable. 

Elijah Wilkinson, who started the first three games at right tackle before suffering a hairline fracture in his upper shin area, will not be activated from injured reserve, nor will fullback Andrew Beck, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

During the Broncos' practice Friday, starting right guard Graham Glasgow went down early with a calf injury and starting nose tackle DeShawn Williams suffered an ankle injury. Both are listed as questionable to play Sunday, but that may be an optimistic listing as it's never good to suffer an injury two days before a game.

Austin Schlottmann would start at right guard if Glasgow can't play. Sylvester Williams and rookie McTelvin Agim would fill Williams' role with Darius Kilgo a possible call-up from the practice squad. 

The injury update of the week, though, pertains to Lock, who will be under the watchful eye of Fangio during practice Friday.

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“Throwing and operating without showing any effects of the injury,’’ Fangio said. “And also when he comes in the following day, how he feels. To me that’s the big thing there, is he throwing it accurately, is he throwing it on time, is his motion altered at all?

“He was a little sore this morning but that was to be expected because he hadn’t done much since the game Sunday. But didn’t see too much of the altering of his delivery.’’

Injury aside, Lock has struggled since returning last month from a shoulder strain as he’s thrown 10 interceptions in his last five games.