Broncos bring on QB Brandon Allen as Drew Lock’s rookie season interrupted by injury

Brandon Allen. Credit: Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports.
Brandon Allen. Credit: Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports.

“The waiting is the hardest part,” Tom Petty.

For Denver Broncos fans hoping that Drew Lock was the next heir apparent to John Elway and Peyton Manning, waiting to see Lock play will be a possible long time.

Lock was placed on the Injured Reserve Monday afternoon, effectively ending his season. Well, not certainly. He could end up returning to the team in the middle of the season, if the Broncos decide to designate him to return.

Either way, Lock was already a long shot to take snaps this regular season because Joe Flacco is the unquestioned starter. And now, with Lock missing so much time under center, it decreases the likelihood he plays at all this season.

in Game 3 of the preseason, Lock rolled out, was tripped by a defender and fell awkwardly on his throwing hand while trying to throw the ball. He immediately got up and yelled in pain, shaking his hand before throwing one more pass and being pulled out of the game.

Denver brought in Kevin Hogan to compete with Lock for the No. 2 position, as well as undrafted free agent Brett Rypien; neither were good enough and the Broncos signed Brandon Allen to be that backup to Flacco.

Allen is a third-year quarterback from Arkansas who was drafted in the sixth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016. After being waived by Jacksonville in 2017, the Los Angeles Rams picked him up where he stayed until he was cut by the Rams recently and then signed by Denver on Sunday.

There’s hope Allen can be ready to play immediately if needed because the Rams and Broncos offenses are said to be somewhat alike.

“A lot of the concepts are very similar,” Allen said on Monday. “Terminology-wise, I just have to learn that which will be fine. As far as reads and things I think I’ll be able to pick that up pretty quickly because of the similarities.”

That’s a huge bit of praise for new Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who Allen said he’s, “Obviously a smart guy.”

So is Sean McVay, the head coach of the Rams and one of the most brilliant offensive minds in the NFL today. What did Allen pick up from McVay in his time in LA?

“I think really my knowledge of football in general probably progressed the most,” Allen explained on Monday. “Just being around him and his style of offense and obviously spreading through the league has been helpful for me.”

It’s not just having the tutelage of McVay which helped Allen progress, but practicing against Wade Phillips’ defense helped him adapt quickly as well.

“I think the defense that they had in L.A. with all the different looks and all that, you’re able to go through progressions a lot faster, seek coverages a lot quicker and I think that really helped me out,” Allen said.

For the Broncos, Joe Flacco was always Plan A at quarterback, even if they did take Lock in the second round. Vic Fangio’s been saying all training camp long about how unready the rookie is to play at the NFL level, and now with a new backup in Allen, Denver must make sure Flacco remains healthy if they want a shot at making the playoffs and ending that three-year drought.

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