Broncos Bolster Backfield With These Two Additions

Getty The Denver Broncos signed practice squad quarterback Brett Rypien to the active roster after opposing teams expressed interest in signing him away.

Not all recent Denver Broncos roster moves have been bad news, as the team announced that help and depth has arrived via their own practice squad and a key returnee from short-term IR.

Popular backup quarterback Brett Rypien was added to the active 53-man roster, September 28, while running back Mike Boone was designated for return off the injured reserve list, September 29. Boone, the former Minnesota Viking who came to Denver via free agency in 2021, can return to the Broncos’ active roster any time over the next three weeks.

The re-addition of Boone, who is eligible to begin practicing again, will be especially promising for the Broncos (3-0), as it’ll add depth to an already-talented backfield, but also bolster a sagging special teams unit.

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The team now has a 21-day window in which to move the speedy running back to their active 53-man roster.

Ryp-ed From the Texans

According to Chad Jensen, founder of Mile High Huddle, he tweeted that Rypien was actually provided a choice by general manager George Paton.

That’s saying a lot about what a great organization the Broncos are, the loyalty Rypien has for the only franchise for which he’s ever played, and maybe also a bit telling that the Texans are a car-wreck right now. Rypien would’ve been added to the Texans’ roster and with their current instability at the quarterback position, the former Boise State University star may have found his way onto the field in actual NFL regular-season action.

Mike Klis, of Denver 9News, first reported that Rypien was presented with the decision, September 28, and ultimately decided to stick with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and the very talented weapons that Denver has been nurturing.

The Broncos made room for Rypien’s addition by making a corresponding roster move. The team placed special teams linebacker Jonas Griffith on short-term IR with a hamstring injury. Denver will have to make a similar transaction once Boone is ready to return to the active 53-man roster.

Injuries have ravaged a once robust Broncos’ roster lately, but by keeping Rypien and soon re-adding Boone, the team will sport one of the deepest quarterbacks and running backs rooms in the league.

There’s little chance Rypien will see the field in Denver — and if he does, that means the wheels have fallen off. But with another intelligent guy with a live arm on the roster, and a guy the team rallied behind in his first, and only, career start, the Broncos are building quality depth at the game’s most important position.

Rypien was pressed into action in Denver’s 2020 Week 4 road game at the New York Jets, after then-starting quarterback Drew Lock was injured in a Week 2 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers, and backup Jeff Driskel was awful in relief. Rypien, nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Rypien, went into New Jersey and helped beat the Jets. It was a special evening for Rypien, as he gave head coach Vic Fangio his first win of the season, Shurmur his first victory as Broncos’ offensive coordinator, and wideout Jerry Jeudy his first-career touchdown reception.

Regardless if his role is only practice-related and helping break down film with starter Teddy Bridgewater and Lock, Rypien sticking around is a benefit to all parties involved.

A Boone to the Team

Boone’s role will be more defined once he’s activated. Denver is ranked near the bottom of the league in special teams, but by having Boone back in the lineup, the speedy back should help rejuvenate a sagging coverage unit.

He logged 482 special teams snaps in three seasons with the Vikings, but as an added bonus, the shifty Boone can also serve as a change-of-pace runner for the Broncos. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams are No. 1 and 1A in the backfield timeshare, but Boone can also be a nice changeup as a runner and a weapon out the backfield as a receiving option. During his Vikings stint, Boone accumulated 78 total touches for 407 yards from scrimmage, and four touchdowns.

His career-defining moment to date was a stellar performance against the Chicago Bears, Week 17 of the 2019 season, when he carried the call 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown.

So, whatever his role, Broncos Country should count on a little bit of everything from their third-string running back.

Follow Tony Williams on Twitter: @TBone8
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