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Broncos news: WR Kendall Hinton expected to start at QB in Week 12

Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; A Denver Broncos helmet on the ground before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos news: Denver Broncos wide receiver Kendall Hinton could be starting at quarterback in Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Before Sunday’s game, quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, Blake Bortles and Jeff Driskel were all ruled ineligible to play against the Saints. As a result, unable to sign a quarterback before the game, Denver will likely be turning to a receiver to start under center.

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Broncos news: Denver to be without all four quarterbacks on Sunday

Problems first arose for the Denver Broncos on Thursday, when Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19. Things got much worse for the team on Saturday when the NFL finished doing contact tracing.

The NFL used security footage from inside the team’s facility to determine that Lock, Rypien and Bortles weren’t wearing masks, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. They were then sent home immediately and the league has ruled them ineligible to play against the Saints.

After being deemed “high-risk” close contacts, all three quarterbacks must go five consecutive days with a negative COVID-19 test before they have a chance to return to action. As a result, even postponing the game wouldn’t provide Denver with enough time to bring in another quarterback.

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As part of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, any player that signs with a team can’t practice or play for them until going through a six-day entry testing process. So, barring the NFL granting the Broncos an exemption to league rules, Denver is without many options.

While some speculated former high school quarterback Royce Freeman would draw the start, that doesn’t appear to be the team’s plan. According to KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright, Denver is expected to promote wide receiver Kendall Hinton off the practice squad on Sunday morning to start at quarterback in Week 12.

Hinton played quarterback for four seasons at Wake Forest. Across 22 games, he completed 53% of his passes with 1,504 passing yards, an 8/7 TD/INT ratio and a 108.3 quarterback rating. The Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft.

Before playing at Wake Forest, the 6-foot quarterback starred at Southern Durham High School. A three-star recruit in the 2014 class, he posted some impressive numbers at the varsity level. Hinton had a 64/7 TD/INT ratio with 6,790 passing yards and a 128.2 quarterback rating in 28 games for SDHS.

Expect the Broncos to use a significantly run-heavy attack against the Saints on Sunday. Unfortunately for Denver, New Orleans is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game (74.3) this season. Things could get ugly for the Broncos.