Head Coach Vic Fangio told the media today after practice that most of the starters will not play at all in the upcoming preseason game against the Rams on Saturday night.
“Most of the guys that you’re referring to as starters will not play in the game,” coach Fangio said today. “It’s our fourth game, not our third. I just feel like that it’s the best thing to do for our team right now.”
This is notable because the third preseason game is typically the closest to a real NFL game you get in the preseason, which is why it is referred to as the “dress rehearsal” game.
Traditionally, teams will play their starters for the majority of the first half, or at least through first quarter. Last season, Denver’s then starting QB Case Keenum played 33 snaps in the team’s third preseason game.
This year, Denver’s new starting QB Joe Flacco won’t play a single snap. When asked if he would prefer to play in the game, Flacco defaulted to the coaches decision and that the offense would be fine.
“Listen, I think we’re football players. We all love to play the game,” Flacco said. “That’s up to the coaches. We’ve been in camp for a little while now, so I think the good thing about it for us is that we’ve had plenty of reps against our guys and a whole extra week of work. I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest deal in the world.”
The Broncos aren’t the only team bucking tradition this year. Their opponent for the game, the Rams, will not be playing their starters either, and the Bears and Colts have both decided to rest their starters for their upcoming game as well.
While I do think it is unfortunate that Denver won’t be getting as many live reps as possible with a new offensive system, quarterback, and re-worked offensive line, the injury risk outweighs the miniscule reward of a few extra snaps.
Normally, this would be great news for the young QBs on the team and a perfect opportunity to get them reps, but unfortunately Drew Lock will not be able to take advantage due to the hand injury he suffered in Monday night’s preseason game.
Coach Fangio said Kevin Hogan will get the majority of the reps at quarterback on Saturday night, so watch at your own risk.