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The Denver Broncos‘ quarterback options were limited Sunday, to say the least.

Kendall Hinton, a practice squad receiver, was listed as the starter. However, running back Phillip Lindsay took the opening snap of the game. On the Broncos’ first drive, Lindsay, Hinton and running back Royce Freeman all took snaps at quarterback.

The Broncos’ three eligible quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were each deemed to be high-risk COVID-19 close contacts and none of the three dressed for Sunday’s game due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. Lock, the starting QB, apologized on Sunday for his actions. The Broncos tried to sign an offensive quality control coach to the active roster and start him at QB, but the leagued nixed that idea.

That’s how Hinton, an undrafted rookie from Wake Forest, got the start. With Drew Brees injured, the New Orleans Saints again started Taysom Hill, who threw for 233 yards and rushed for two scores last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Both teams struggled on offense. The output from both starting QBs led to some bizarre numbers.

Here’s a look at some of the numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

Hinton started the game 0 for 7 passing with an interception. He didn’t complete his first pass until the third quarter. Hill completed just two passes in the first quarter. It was the lowest combined number of completions since Week 14 of the 2017 season when the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills combined for one completion. At halftime, the Saints and Broncos combined for one yard passing.

That number is the Broncos’ worst performance in the first half since Tim Tebow went 0-for-4 in Week 10 of the 2011 season. Oddly enough, the Broncos won that game and Tebow completed just two passes.

The Broncos didn’t help Hinton much. Five of his seven passes were thrown 15-plus yards downfield, and he had no screen passes. He was also pressured on five of his seven attempts.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hinton’s seven straight incompletions to start his career represents the second-longest streak by a player to make his debut over the past 40 years. Only player with a longer run? Punter Jeff Feagles, who had 8 consecutive incompletions to begin his career. His streak lasted his entire career.

While Hill’s passing numbers were paltry (9-for-16, 78 yards), he was effective running the ball. He scored two rushing touchdowns Sunday making him the sixth QB since 1950 to have multiple rushing scores in consecutive weeks. Others on that list: Cam Newton, Kordell Stewart, Eric Hipple, Otto Graham and Johnny Lujack. However, Hill’s success, and the performance of running back Latavius Murray, angered many fantasy football players who likely drafted Saints running back Alvin Kamara very highly for their teams.

This was the Saints’ first game with four rushing scores since 2017 when they had six in a game against the Buffalo Bills.

For Hinton and the Broncos’ offense, there was no bright spot. Hinton finished 1-for-9 for 13 yards with two interceptions. The Broncos are the first team since the 1998 San Diego Chargers to have a game with more interceptions than completions. They are the only two teams in the past 45 years to have such an ignominious accomplishment.

The last team to finish a game with just one completion was the 2005 San Francisco 49ers who went 1-for-13 against the Chicago Bears in a game played with 25 mph wind gusts.

There was a lot of reaction to this game as well.

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Hamstring forces Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence out of team drills on first day of minicamp



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are being extra careful when it comes to Trevor Lawrence‘s hamstring.

The tightness that limited Lawrence last week in OTAs reemerged during the first day of mandatory minicamp on Monday, forcing the Jaguars to keep him out of team drills. Coach Urban Meyer said that’s likely to happen on Tuesday as well.

“Our trainers and Schotty [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] are being a little cautious because right now when you’re a month out, you yank a hamstring now you’re going to miss the early part of the training camp,” Meyer said. “That’s that one muscle that, you guys have all seen it like I have, you pull a hamstring at this point you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning so we’re being somewhat conservative on it.

“But he actually could play a game if he had to.”

Lawrence did some work off to the side while the rest of the team did their stretches and warm-ups, but he did participate in individual drills and 7-on-7 sessions. He did not participate in 11-on-11 drills.

Lawrence said he would rather be practicing fully, but understands the Jaguars’ approach.

“It’s been about a week and trying to work it back to full capacity and yeah, it’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good,” Lawrence said. “I’m just trying to not have any more setbacks, so taking it slow. Got some good reps today. So start getting more and more each day this week and kind of work back into it.”

The Jaguars have one more day of mandatory minicamp and then break until training camp starts in late July.

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Madden NFL 22 teases cover athletes with goats



The Madden NFL 22 game cover will be released later this week. The day when we see which superstar nabs the cover is another big date on the NFL’s offseason calendar.

To promote this year’s cover release, EA Sports is teasing the identity of the athlete with literal goats. Former cover athlete Peyton Hillis interacts with the animals and reacts to the cover.

The video seems to promise two GOAT (greatest of all time) athletes. Given his Super Bowl win last season and his untouchable status as the NFL’s greatest QB, it’s safe to assume that Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady will be one of the athletes featured.

But who could join him? Could it be Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who lost to Brady in Super Bowl LV? Maybe it’s a former or current Brady collaborator. Whomever it is, the ungulate ad men in the video aren’t saying.

Who do you think will be joining Brady?

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WR Jamison Crowder agrees to pay cut to remain with New York Jets, source says



FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the team’s leading receiver the last two seasons, avoided the possibility of being released by agreeing to a pay cut, a source confirmed Monday.

Crowder was due to make a non-guaranteed $10 million in base pay for 2021, the final year of a three-year, $28.5 million contract. Details of the renegotiated contract weren’t immediately available, but the new deal is expected to significantly lower his $11.4 million cap charge.

The Jets are among the league leaders in cap space (about $27 million), but they approached Crowder recently about a reduction. Crowder, who turns 28 on Thursday, skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason as the two sides haggled over the contract. NFL Network first reported the agreement.

The Jets’ mandatory minicamp starts Tuesday, and Crowder is expected to attend.

Coach Robert Saleh was optimistic that a deal would get done, saying 10 days ago that “Jamison’s definitely got a role here and we’re excited to have him.”

After signing receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency, and drafting Elijah Moore in the second round, the Jets had the leverage in talks with Crowder. He led the team with 59 catches and 699 yards in 2020, but his production was down because he missed four games due to leg injuries. The Jets also finished 32nd in total offense for the second straight year.

Even though Crowder is back, it will be interesting to see if his role diminishes in the regular season. Moore, selected 34th overall, has impressed the coaches in offseason practices. Like Crowder, he’s a slot receiver.

In another contract-relation development, safety Marcus Maye reported to the facility Monday ahead of the minicamp. Maye, who signed his franchise-tag tender ($10.6 million) earlier in the offseason, skipped the voluntary practices as the two sides attempt to negotiate a long-term deal. The deadline is July 15. If they can’t agree to a deal, Maye will play the 2021 season for the amount of the tender.

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