ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Quarterback Joe Flacco will not play in Sunday’s game against the Browns with a herniated disc in his neck, Head Coach Vic Fangio announced Monday.
“He’ll definitely miss this week, and then we’ll reevaluate after the bye and see where it’s at,” Fangio said.
Brandon Allen will start in Flacco’s place, and the Broncos will determine this week whether to activate Drew Lock from injured reserve or promote Brett Rypien from the practice squad to serve as Allen’s backup.
The CBS telecast showed trainers working on Flacco’s neck during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, and Flacco said after the game that he’d been dealing with “a little strain” for a couple of weeks.
Fangio said he wasn’t sure if a hit Flacco took on the Broncos’ final offensive snap aggravated the injury. He also said the Broncos did not consider removing Flacco from the game.
“Nobody ever came to me and said that was a possibility,” Fangio said.
Fangio did not rule out Flacco having surgery to repair the issue.
“I think right at this minute, they don’t think so,” Fangio said of potential surgery. “But those things are fluid.”
Fangio also said the Broncos could “possibly” place Flacco on injured reserve at some point in the future.
“We’re still gathering the information,” Fangio said.
In Flacco’s absence, the Broncos will turn to Allen, who will take the first regular-season snaps of his career.
Fangio said Allen “hasn’t gotten a lot” of first-team reps during the season, estimating his work at about 15 to 20 percent.
“I’ve seen him a lot on the scout team and, when he’s been in there, a little bit on offense,” Fangio said. “I think the guy’s got a little something to him, and we’ll devise a plan for him.”
The carryover from the Rams’ offense — where Allen spent the last two seasons — has helped him adjust, Fangio said.
Allen completed 44-of-69 passes for 431 yards and a 63.1 quarterback rating in the 2019 preseason.
The decision whether Lock will back up Allen, meanwhile, depends on if “he’s ready.”
“He hasn’t done anything in a huddle or a practice since, what was it?” Fangio said. “The second or third preseason game [is when] he got hurt? That’s a long time ago. We want to make sure he’s ready before we put him out there.”
Lock suffered a thumb injury against the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 19 and has not practiced since. Fangio said he thinks Lock will “be fine” in regards to the thumb injury.
“I think he’s pretty good,” Fangio said.
Although the Broncos have not yet started the clock on Lock’s designated practice window, he is eligible to return in time for this weekend’s game. Players who are eligible to return from injured reserve must sit out eight weeks. Lock was placed on IR ahead of the team’s Week 1 game against the Raiders.
Without Flacco, the Broncos’ goal will remain the same against the Browns.
“We’re just going to move forward like we would if we were 3-5,” Fangio said when asked how the team moves ahead at 2-6. “We’re going to get ready for the Cleveland Browns. We’re going to work hard all week, going to have a good week of preparation like these guys have and we’re going to show up on Sunday and put our best foot forward trying to get a win.”