Broncos make the prudent call, resting Russell Wilson and starting Brett Rypien

Oct 22, 2022, 10:56 AM
Brett Rypien...
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In the end, the Broncos decided to cross their fingers and let ‘er Ryp.

They will give Brett Rypien the starting assignment Sunday, giving Russell Wilson time to rest the hamstring that he injured Monday night against the New York Jets.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news Saturday morning.

“Obviously, this is what you dream of to do in the NFL,” Rypien said Friday. “You want to play and you want to get opportunities. So, if it does happen, great. If not, I’ll be there supporting Russ, and supporting everybody else.”

The Broncos will re-evaluate the state of Wilson’s hamstring in the coming days to decide whether he plays in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week. The tricky nature of hamstring injuries means that the prudent call could be to rest him next week and target the Nov. 13 game after the bye at Tennessee. But undoubtedly, Wilson will push to play.

As Cecil Lammey and I noted on Orange and Blue Today, this was the wise call.

Wilson struggled to move during the open periods of practice we watched Thursday and Friday. During a toss pitch-bootleg drill Thursday, Wilson only executed the pitch part of it rather than proceed with the boot-action part of the exercise. Wilson also appeared labored in stretching and in his attempts to jog.

Denver is also expected to elevate Josh Johnson from the practice squad to back up Rypien Sunday.

Wilson practiced on a limited basis throughout the week, but did not receive his usual complement of repetitions. Rypien picked up the slack. This is a marked change from usual protocol; typically Rypien receives only a “couple” of first-team snaps each week. Further, as he noted Friday, those snaps are usually runs.

This will be Rypien’s second career regular-season start. Coincidentally, his first start came against the Jets — in Week 4 of 2020. It was a duel of previously winless teams that the Broncos won, 37-28.

In that Thursday Night Football appearance, he threw a pair of touchdown passes — including an early strike to Jerry Jeudy — but also had three interceptions. Two of the picks came in the fourth quarter in a four-pass span. But he rallied and eventually delivered a key block on a game-winning Melvin Gordon touchdown run.

Rypien got that opportunity as the No. 3 quarterback. Jeff Driskel came in for Drew Lock in Week 2 of 2020 at Pittsburgh. Driskel played well as he filled in during that loss to the Steelers, but struggled seven days later against Tampa Bay. Rypien relieved the beleaguered Driskel in the fourth quarter and although he threw an interception, the Broncos moved the ball well enough to convince then-coach Vic Fangio to give him his first career start.

So, now, the greatest winning percentage for a Broncos starting QB is on the line. The Broncos are a perfect 1.000 in Rypien’s only start.

And in the meantime, Wilson will rest and wait.


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Broncos make the prudent call, resting Russell Wilson and starting Brett Rypien