BRONCOS

Brett Rypien has a chance to seize Broncos’ backup QB spot

Aug 24, 2022, 6:50 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm
Brett Rypien...
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Why is Brett Rypien starting for the Broncos in their preseason finale this Saturday?

Because, as Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett asserted Wednesday, he earned it.

“I think ‘Ryp’ has earned an opportunity to be able to go the first half,” Hackett said. “I think he had a really good game last week. He’s improved, and again, we’re looking for consistency from that position.”

Throughout training camp, Rypien was usually the third quarterback up behind Russell Wilson and Josh Johnson. Still, Hackett consistently noted that it was a competition between Rypien and Johnson to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Wilson.

Johnson started the last two preseason games.

Statistically speaking, the two QBs come out in similar places.

  • PASSER RATING: Johnson 96.3, Rypien 95.3
  • YARDS PER ATTEMPT: Rypien 6.9, Johnson 6.2
  • OFFENSIVE POINTS PER POSSESSION LED: Johnson 2.30, Rypien 1.29
  • NET YARDS PER POSSESSION LED: Rypien 46.0, Johnson 31.7
  • TOUCHDOWN DRIVES LED: Johnson 1 every 5 series; Rypien 1 every 7 series

“It’s not saying that Josh hasn’t done good, because he has done a fine job,” Hackett said. “We just want to be sure that we get both those guys because they have been working so hard and pushing each other.

“Their competition is a great one. We want to make sure that the guys that deserve that opportunity get it.”

But the reality is, overall roster-building considerations likely mean that there is room for just one on the 53-man roster. Granted, relaxed rules mean that the No. 3 quarterback could easily end up on the 16-player practice squad. Johnson was on the New York Jets’ practice squad last year; Rypien has Broncos practice-squad stints in each of the last three seasons.

But Rypien is trying to keep his focus on his play, not the job status.

“I think I just want to get better, honestly,” he said. ” That’s the only thing that I’m thinking of, is how can I somehow get better this week and go out there and play like it’s my last game ever.

“And really, that’s the mentality I think that you take into every single day. I think if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the NFL, it’s that you can’t take any of it for granted out here. I’m working my butt off every single day to try to be the best player I can possibly be, so that when I go out on Saturday, it’s going to be the same thing.”

One thing that he feels will help is his familiarity with the concepts being installed.

“Ultimately, the footwork and everything that I’ve been working on has really come from Coach Hackett and [passing-game coordinator Klint] Kubiak, and back to really what I was doing moreso my rookie year with Rich Scangarello and being in this West Coast-style offense,” Rypien said.

“It’s really a timing-and-rhythm based offense. It’s something that I’m very comfortable with, and it’s been a great thing to be a part of.”

And Rypien certainly looked comfortable last Saturday in Buffalo, when he went 22-of-26 for 191 yards and a touchdown. At one point, Rypien completed 15 consecutive passes.

Another day like that, and he might find himself as Wilson’s top understudy.

***

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