ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Friday that quarterback Drew Lock has a “50-50” chance to start Oct. 11 against the host New England Patriots, but if Lock isn’t ready to play as he recovers from a shoulder injury Brett Rypien will start.

Rypien made his first career start Thursday night in the Broncos’ 37-28 win over the New York Jets. It was the second game Lock missed since suffering a right (throwing) shoulder injury in the first quarter of the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Drew is, I think, 50-50 to make it this week and I’m being totally honest with that statement,” Fangio said. “We’ll see how he progresses here by Tuesday, by Wednesday, and see where he’s at.”

Later when asked if Rypien would get the start against the Patriots if Lock wasn’t yet ready to play, Fangio simply said: “Yes.”

The Broncos will return to practice Tuesday. And either quarterback will be making his first start against a Bill Belichick-coached defense.

Rypien finished 19-of-31 passing for 242 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions against the Jets. While the interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Pierre Desir, were an issue, Fangio said Rypien handled himself well overall in the game.

Fangio pointed out the Broncos’ ability to push the ball down the field as Rypien had more completions over 30 yards — three — than the Broncos had in their first three games combined. Rypien’s downfield work included a 48-yard touchdown to rookie Jerry Jeudy in the first quarter — a leaping Jeudy snatched the ball away from Desir on the play — and a 31-yard completion to Tim Patrick with 3:08 to play to put the Broncos in position for a field goal that gave them a 30-28 lead.

Lock has not practiced since he suffered the injury and Fangio said Friday that Lock has done some throwing in recent days, but not with a football. Fangio has consistently made it clear he wants to see a normal, uninhibited throwing motion from Lock, in practice, before the second-year quarterback plays again in a game.

“I just need to see a healthy quarterback,” Fangio said. “I’m not going to put him out there unless he’s healthy, can throw without hesitation, without altering his delivery, and that he’s confident and healthy and he can go out there and play normal.”

Fangio also said the Broncos will continue to carry four quarterbacks on the roster while Lock is recovering given the COVID-19 concerns league-wide. Jeff Driskel and Blake Bortles, who was signed two weeks ago, are the other two.



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