Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, Blake Bortles and Jeff Driskel will be permanently branded The Heedless Horsemen.
In dramatic lore, as Grantland Rice wrote, the four horsemen were death, destruction, pestilence and famine. With the Broncos their names are reckless, careless, thoughtless and Dopey.
Three of the Forsaken Quarterbacks are back. So what? Now what?
Welcome home, Buckos.
At Dove Valley on Wednesday you won’t be able to throw a stone without hitting a quarterback. Broncos headquarters should be changed to Quarterback Alley.
The Broncos have more quarterbacks than a bank has vice presidents. Go to any branch and ask to speak to the VP, and everybody in the place raises their hands.
Go to Broncos practice this week and ask to see a QB, and a dozen guys will shout: “Who, me?”
For an NFL team that didn’t have a drop to drink or a quarterback to play Sunday, the Broncos could do a remake of “Oceans 12.’’
On the payroll of the franchise are current and former pro and college quarterbacks John Elway, Rob Calabrese, Mike Shula, Justin Rascati, Chris Beake, Scott DiStefano, Lock, Rypien, Driskel, Bortles, Kyle Shurmur and, lest we forget, Kendall Hinton.
Novelist Leon Uris, who once covered a Broncos Super Bowl, penned the novel QB VII. His sequel about the Broncos would be titled “QB XII’’.
The Broncos were the laughingstocks of the AFL in the 1960s. From 1961-64 they rolled through eight starting quarterbacks and 40 defeats. The first starter, Frank Tripucka, began the team’s inaugural training camp as an assistant coach. In 1963 the Broncos changed four starting quarterbacks eight times in 14 games.
In 2020 the Broncos have played four quarterbacks. Should they ride to workouts with masks over red noses in a clown car?
From 2016-2020 the Broncos have played 10 quarterbacks and opened the last game with a running back taking snaps.
The Broncos have lost 44 of their past 71 games. Glory days are long gone. A franchise that played in eight Super Bowls and celebrated three-time champs between 1977 and 2015 has returned to being chumps.
This season is reminiscent of when Tripucka, Mickey Slaughter, John McCormick and Don Breaux took turns and won two games. At least, each completed more than one pass and scored more than three points in every game in 1963.
In the six home games of 2020 the Broncos have permitted 161 points and scored only 94, winning just two. The stadium’s name should be switched to Ineffectual Field @Sink Hole Stadium.
The Broncos never have sunk lower than the past week.
The team’s four quarterbacks, who decided to watch films on the team’s off day Tuesday at a meeting room in the field house, chose not to constantly wear masks and distance themselves from each other.
In addition to the tapes of the Saints, there was video evidence of the gathering. Driskel tested positive the next day; the others tested negative. All four were determined guilty of violating NFL COVID-19 rules.
As coach Vic Fangio said after Sunday’s thrashing by the Saints, the quarterbacks were supposed to be leaders of the team. They breached the trust and possibly cost the Broncos a victory and any remaining chance at a playoff position.
Sure, the league might have devised a plan to delay the game and let a couple of the quarterbacks play. But it didn’t, and the QBs will have a scarlet, not orange, letter on their foreheads. They will be fined by the league and the team, and the Broncos likely will be punished a half mil or more and lose a draft pick. Expensive lesson learned.
Lock’s mother defended her son on social media Monday, as if the embarrassment weren’t enough for a man who turned 25 last month, is assumed to be an adult and will be the quarterback for the rest of the season, but who knows about beyond.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones chimed in Tuesday with another churlish claim comparing his team playing a seventh-round draft choice at quarterback was similar to the Broncos’ lost cause of using an undrafted wide receiver, who last was a third-string college quarterback in 2018.
Lock, Rypien and Bortles were cleared by a test Tuesday and will be on the field Wednesday.
The Chiefs are amused.