Joe Flacco is treating his Denver Broncos debut for what it is.
A glorified scrimmage.
“You just want to go get your feet wet a little bit,” Flacco told reporters Tuesday. “You want to feel live action again, bodies flying around you, guys getting hit and taking care of the football. Most importantly you want to go out there and you want to move the ball. And you want to gain confidence as a group that you can go out there and do it when it counts.”
Flacco, who sat out Denver’s preseason-opener, will start against the Seahawks and “play some” Thursday night in Seattle, per head coach Vic Fangio.
“It’s kind of depends upon how the plays go,” Fangio said. “If we get a short series or long series, that’s kind of fluid.”
Flacco is expected to have most of his supporting cast in tow for the few series he’s on the field. The offense is aiming for collective improvement following an uneven showing in the Hall of Fame Game, when the Broncos eked past the Falcons, 14-10.
For Flacco, personally, this represents the first action since his injury-shortened 2018 campaign with the Baltimore Ravens in which he was Wally Pipp’d by then-rookie Lamar Jackson.
New team. New colors. Same old Joe.
“At this point, it doesn’t really feel any different than it’s been the last 10 years,” Flacco said. “I think your rookie years is obviously a little different than any of the others. But at this point I am used to being here. I am used to being in this uniform. These are my teammates and I am just excited about doing it.”
Once Flacco exits the game, likely in the first quarter, he’ll give way to fellow veteran Kevin Hogan, who has a tenuous grip on the No. 2 job. Following Hogan will be ballyhooed rookie Drew Lock and perhaps undrafted free agent (and clear No. 4 QB) Brett Rypien, if time allows.
Lock is slated to receive the lion’s share of reps — “a lot,” claimed Fangio — but consequently has the most to prove after appearing skittish and frenetic against Atlanta, completing seven of 11 passes for 34 scoreless yards.
His objective remains the same: Master the basics.
“Just operate,” Fangio said. “One thing you got to remember about him, he hardly has ever been under center in his life. He’s hardly ever had to call a play in his life—a formation and checks. Once he gets through that, I think the other stuff will come easier and quicker. He is learning a new offense, how an offense operates, and when he becomes more of quarterback in those regards and feels comfortable where it becomes second nature, the other stuff will start.”
Who’s In, Who’s Out
Inactive reports are not released for exhibition contests, but the Broncos have already ruled out cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot), inside linebacker Josey Jewell (oblique) and right guard Ronald Leary (Achilles’). This, on top of injured or recovering players: ILBs Todd Davis (calf) and Joe Jones (triceps), and tight ends Jake Butt (knee) and Bug Howard (ankle).
TE Jeff Heuerman, battling a minor shoulder injury, will be a game-time decision.
Right tackle Ja’Wuan James, who didn’t play against the Falcons, will be active, Fangio said.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL.