Broncos place injured QB Joe Flacco on IR

Brandon Allen, Joe Flacco

In this Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco (5) hangs his head as back-up quarterback Brandon Allen looks on during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Denver. It took Allen four seasons and three different teams to get his shot at starting in the NFL. The fourth-year pro is taking over with Flacco sidelined by a herniated disk in his neck. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Joe Flacco’s Denver debut lasted half a season.

The Broncos placed the veteran quarterback they acquired from Baltimore on injured reserve Friday and promoted rookie QB Brett Rypien from their practice squad to back up new starter Brandon Allen.

Coach Vic Fangio said even though Flacco doesn’t need surgery on the herniated disk in his neck, he requires six weeks of rest.

“At best it was six weeks where he could do nothing — when I say nothing, absolutely nothing — he would need probably two weeks to get back and a good chance that it would be eight of doing nothing and then another week or two to get ready,” Fangio said. “You guys can do the math, so it became an easy decision.”

Fangio said Flacco “was not happy about it, obviously. He’s kind of surprised because he really doesn’t feel that bad. The doctors are surprised he’s not feeling worse based upon the MRI and the tests. He’s frustrated and down a little bit, but he’s a pro.”

Flacco has continued to attend meetings and tutor Allen and Rypien and he could return to watch practice next week, Fangio said.

Flacco threw for 1,822 yards with six touchdown throws and five interceptions for the Broncos (2-6), who acquired him for a fifth-round pick from Baltimore, where he spent his first 11 seasons and was the Super Bowl MVP after the 2012 season after beating Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road.

The notoriously immobile quarterback was sacked 26 times behind Denver’s porous offensive line, including a career-high eight against Kansas City two weeks ago and three Sunday at Indianapolis, after which his neck was so stiff he couldn’t turn his head.

The Broncos also placed ILB Corey Nelson (biceps) on IR and promoted ILB Josh Watson from their practice squad.

Fangio said moving Flacco to IR doesn’t change the timetable for rookie Drew Lock, who has been on IR since spraining his right thumb in the preseason.

GM John Elway said Lock will return to practice on Week 11, triggering a 21-day clock to either activate him to the 53-man roster or put him back on IR for the remainder of the year.

Elway didn’t want to clear him to practice this week because next week’s bye counts in the three-week evaluation window.

Flacco said he was pleased with Allen’s week of practice, his first with the starters since the Broncos claimed him off waivers from the Rams on Sept. 1.

“I think pretty good,” Fangio said. “I’m anxious to see him play.”

Notes: WR Emmanuel Sanders, whom the Broncos traded to San Francisco last week for a pair of 2020 draft choices, had a good game Thursday night with seven catches for 127 yards and a TD in the 49ers’ 28-25 win over Arizona. Asked if he was surprised, Fangio said, “No. That’s why we got a third and a fourth for him.”


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