Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) talks with quarterback Brett Rypien (4) in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos CEO: Team must take stronger virus precautions

Denver Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis called on players and staff to increase their vigilance amid the COVID-19 surge, days after his team was forced to play without an established quarterback because of the virus.

“As we enter the final month of this unprecedented season, we must do even more with the COVID-19 spike around the league and community,” said Ellis, who himself tested positive for the virus in early November. “I met with [general manager] John Elway and [coach] Vic Fangio virtually on Monday afternoon, and together we outlined what needs to be done to step it up.”

The Broncos lost 31-3 on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints with practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback. Starter Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad member Blake Bortles were forced to quarantine after they were ruled to have had close contact with quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for the virus last Thursday, and were unavailable against the Saints.

The quarterbacks reportedly were not wearing masks as required when they were together, and Lock apologized for letting his guard down.

“We share the disappointment of our fans for the challenging and unique situation our team faced at the last minute this weekend,” Ellis said. “While it’s easy to point fingers, all of us must take responsibility and work together to prevent it from happening again.”

Multiple outlets reported that Lock, Rypien and Bortles were negative in the latest round of testing and can return to practice Wednesday.

Earlier, the NFL fined Fangio $100,000 and the Broncos $250,000 for failure to follow mask protocols on the sideline in September.

Despite his disappointment, Ellis said he recognized the challenges all team personnel have endured.

“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of our staff to create a safe environment for everyone, led by our medical, facilities and compliance efforts.” Ellis said. “It’s especially important to recognize the discipline and sacrifices of the players – and their families – this year.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 17, 2019;  Honolulu, HI, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Blake Bortles (5) during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Aloha Stadium.The Cowboys defeated the Rams 14-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: QB Bortles joins banged-up Broncos

Blake Bortles is joining the Denver Broncos as a backup to Jeff Driskel at quarterback.

Bortles, according to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver, was in the COVID-19 testing protocol at team headquarters on Tuesday. He cannot officially sign a contract until he meets all testing specifications and might not be on the field with the team until Friday.

Driskel entered Denver’s Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers following a shoulder injury to starter Drew Lock. Lock has a rotator cuff injury that could keep him out “3, 4, 5 weeks,” coach Vic Fangio said Monday.

Driskel was sacked six times, but completed 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns with one interception last week.

The Broncos host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 before visiting the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

Lock’s earliest anticipated return is Oct. 11 at New England.

Bortles, 28, spent six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the third overall pick in the 2014 draft.

In 2019, he was signed to be the backup to Jared Goff with the Rams. He served as Los Angeles’ No. 2 quarterback last season and attempted only two passes.

–Field Level Media

Aug 17, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) looks on during training camp at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Fournette: First time in my life, I really have a QB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette complimented his new quarterback and likely distanced himself from all of his previous ones with one comment on Tuesday.

“For the first time in my life, I really have a quarterback,” Fournette told reporters Tuesday.

While that’s nice to hear for Tom Brady, one must consider the feelings of current Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew as well as former teammates Blake Bortles, Nick Foles and Cody Kessler.

Admittedly, Minshew is entering just his second season. However, Bortles guided the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 campaign. Heck, Foles was the Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles just weeks later.

Then again, Brady’s resume includes six Super Bowl titles, three NFL MVP awards and 14 Pro Bowl selections among a litany of other honors.

As for Fournette, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians was asked on Tuesday how big of a role the running back would have in the offense during the team’s season opener against the New Orleans Saints.

“He’ll have a solid role in this plan,” Arians said of Sunday’s game. “He’s a very bright guy – (he) picked it up pretty quick today. Obviously, he can’t do everything, but he’ll have a solid role in the plan for the week.”

Fournette, 25, set career-high totals in rushing yards (1,152), receptions (76) and receiving yards (522) in 2019. He was limited to just three rushing touchdowns while routinely facing stacked boxes, however.

Fournette has rushed for 2,631 yards with 17 touchdowns and has 134 catches for 1,009 yards and two scores since being selected by the Jaguars with the fourth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Seven From Sunday - Week 17

NFL Week 5 Football Props: Jaguars vs. Chiefs

Last week, the Chiefs played from behind for the first time this season, bringing into question their ability to play with their backs against the wall. Down 10 with just under 13 left in the 4th quarter, Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs on 2 impressive touchdown drives, converting on multiple 3rd down conversions (including a left handed pass to Tyreek Hill). Getting the ball back with 1:39, Denver put together an impressive drive but were unable to punch it in. Kansas City Faithful were certainly happy that their young quarterback was able to remain calm and composed when faced with a 10 point 4th-quarter deficit. Keep in mind, this was Mahomes worst performance of the season and yet he still tossed for over 300 yards and 1 touchdown (and ran one in from 8 yards out).

The Jacksonville Jaguars are also putting together a nice season, losing only to their divisional rivals the Titans. They aren’t getting the attention that the Rams and Chiefs are seeing, but their commanding win over New England in week 2 certainly keeps them on everyone’s radar. Jalen Ramsey is considered by many to be the best corner in football, and his matchup this week with Tyreek Hill has been anticipated by everyone. Can the rest of their defense keep up with all of Kansas City’s offensive weapons?

The props below are available to BET NOW if you live in the state of New Jersey.

If you live in New Jersey and want to open a legal sports betting account, click here.

Jaguars vs. Chiefs Props


5 college reunions that could happen in the NFL Draft

1) Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota
I imagine the Roseman/Kelly saga involved a conversation like this:
Roseman: Chip, where are the results?
Kelly: I just need the right guys! I told you, I need Oregon guys in the draft, and what do you give me?
Roseman: I did! I drafted Josh Huff and Taylor Hart!
Kelly: Yeah, no. I meant ALL Oregon guys. Give them all to me. They’re the only ones who truly understand me. Just let me do it next year.
This is the obvious one getting all the press, but Kelly’s love for Mariota (and many of his former players at Oregon) is well documented. With the 20th pick, it’s definitely a long-shot, but if Kelly isn’t sold on his current personnel, some of those pieces would be very attractive to some of the Top 5 teams. I’m looking at you Jags (McCoy?) and Titans (Foles?). Throw in a 3rd or a 4th, and it’s a deal. I don’t even like the Eagles, but it would be awesome to see Kelly’s offense take even 80% of the form it had in Oregon.
2) Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker
If you put 2013 Bridgewater with 2014 Parker (who put up comparable numbers to his 2013 stats in half the games), I think Louisville has a better run than they did. Still, they were impressive together. Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman has already talked with Parker, and despite saying Bridgewater has nothing to do with it, it has to be tempting.
Look at these highlights. They’re like one singular mind, always knowing exactly where to place and find the ball.

3) Blake Bortles and Breshad Perriman
This would be a tough one to pull off. It would be insane to take him with the third pick with the other needs in Jacksonville (RB, OT, CB, etc..) and he might not last until the second round, but Perriman was Bortles favorite deep ball target at UCF. A trade down, or a trade back into the mid-to-late first might be worth it.
4) Teddy Bridgewater and Amari Cooper
This reunion is less talked about that Parker/Bridgewater, but the one that makes more sense for the Vikings. They played together at Miami Northwestern. Cooper is almost “uncoverable” in medium routes, an area where the Vikings were lacking in 2014. Parker is more of a deep threat. It comes down to whether Minnesota is convinced that Jarius Wright and/or Charles Johnson can become the primary long-ball target.
5) Jeremy Hill and Connor Neighbors
This is my sleeper pick. Hill had an impressive rookie year in Cincinnati averaging 5.1 yards per carry behind a sub-par line. The fullback is a dying breed in the NFL, and one I’d love to see resurrected. Watch this (at :46) or any number of Hill’s LSU highlights, and you’ll see Neighbors frequently paving the way. He’ll be available in the 6th or 7th round, so what have you got to lose?
Follow me on Twitter @erikoehler