Joe Flacco’s season is officially over.
The Denver Broncos placed Flacco on injured reserve with a herniated disk in his neck, the team announced on Friday afternoon. Flacco, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Friday, likely doesn’t need surgery for his neck injury, but that he’ll be extremely limited for the next six weeks at least.
And with only eight games left on their schedule, Fangio said they just ran out of time.
“At best, it was a six-week [span] where he could do nothing, and when I say nothing, [I mean] absolutely nothing,” Fangio said, via the Broncos.. “So he would need probably two weeks to get back and with the chance of it being eight [weeks] of doing nothing, and another week or two to get ready, you guys can kind of do the match. It kind of became an easy decision.”
Flacco, who the Broncos traded for in March, has thrown for 1,822 yards and six touchdowns while completing more than 65 percent of his passes so far this season. He has led Denver to just a 2-6 record and struggled to get the offense moving in recent weeks, however, and has been sacked 26 times — the third-most in the league.
The 34-year-old, who is in his 12th season in the NFL, didn’t take the season-ending news well.
“He’s not happy about it, obviously,” Fangio said, via the Broncos. “He’s kind of surprised, because he really doesn’t feel that bad. The doctors are surprised he’s not feeling worse based on the MRIs and the tests, etc. So he’s frustrated [and] down a little bit.”
Who is next in Denver?
The Broncos announced earlier in the week that Flacco wouldn’t be available on Sunday in their matchup against the Cleveland Browns, leading the way for Brandon Allen to start in his place.
Allen, who will mark the Broncos’ sixth starting quarterback since 2017, has yet to take an NFL snap.
“I don’t know if surprised is the right word — I’ve obviously worked for it,” Allen said earlier this week, via ESPN. “It has taken it a while. You never want to see a starter go down, so we’re feeling for Joe right now, but this is the opportunity you work for.”
Allen was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and has spent time with the Los Angeles Rams before the Broncos picked him up off waivers in September. He has been Flacco’s backup ever since, as rookie quarterback Drew Lock is on injured reserve with a thumb injury.
Rookie Brett Rypien, who signed with the team after going undrafted, will backup Allen on Sunday.
While Allen has yet to officially play in a real NFL game, the 27-year-old said he already has a good handle on Denver’s offense.
“[I’m] very comfortable,” Allen said this week, via ESPN. “It’s a very similar offense from where I came from. Even when I first got here I was fairly comfortable. Here and there every week there’s a couple plays they give me just to be able to get in with the first O.”
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