Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco is expected to land on injured reserve with a neck injury, according to 9News, but any roster decision is pending a second medical opinion.
NFL Network reported Tuesday that Flacco would seek a second opinion but is likely to miss up to six weeks. That would force the Broncos to make a roster move.
Losing Flacco this week leaves Brandon Allen, scheduled to make his first NFL start on Sunday, and practice squad rookie Brett Rypien as the lone quarterbacks on the depth chart.
Second-round pick Drew Lock (thumb) has not returned to practice since being placed on IR prior to the start of the season. But head coach Vic Fangio said Lock’s thumb is healed. He could be part of the equation going forward, but Fangio did not want to insert the rookie into the lineup without practice reps.
Flacco said he had a stiff and sore neck but felt it was routine football-type soreness until further tests revealed a disc issue.
Allen will make his NFL debut this weekend against the visiting Cleveland Browns. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“Joe’s not going to play this week,” Fangio said. “He’s got a disc or neck injury and he’ll definitely miss this week. Then we’ll re-evaluate after the bye and see where it’s at.”
The Broncos acquired Allen before the season after he was waived by the Los Angeles Rams.
Fangio said a decision on Sunday’s backup would be made later this week.
Broncos president John Elway said last week that Lock was not ready to take over the starting job from Flacco.
“I will say this: The most important thing for a young quarterback is not to put him out there before he’s ready,” Elway said on KOA radio on Wednesday, via The Athletic. “So that is the most important thing and if he’s not ready, we’re not going to put him out there. That is the key thing.
“And as you know dealing with quarterbacks, it’s a very tough thing because if you don’t put him in a situation where he has a chance to be successful and he’s not successful, the whole roof will cave in. So we have to make sure that Drew is ready when he does get in there, if he does get in there.”
Lock, who was the 42nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has been sidelined with an ailing thumb on his throwing hand.
The 22-year-old Lock won a camp battle with Kevin Hogan to back up Flacco, but he was injured in the fourth preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. The team released Hogan and signed Allen to back up Flacco.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)