As Drew Lock resumes practicing, Brett Rypien’s ready to step up again for Broncos in New England

As Drew Lock practiced Wednesday for the first time since hurting his right shoulder in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss in Pittsburgh, backup quarterback Brett Rypien kept his perspective in check as Denver prepares for New England.

While the mid-week tea leaves point to Rypien getting the start Sunday — something coach Vic Fangio said will happen if Lock’s not yet healthy enough to play — the second-year undrafted pro said he understands his role in trying to get the Broncos (1-3) back on track at Gillette Stadium.

“This is Drew Lock’s team, and Drew Lock has been the leader of this franchise for the past year, and he’s done an unbelievable job of that,” Rypien said. “From my standpoint, I have to go out to do what I can to help him, and help his team win. If that means playing this week and helping our team win this week, that’s all I’m focused on.”

Lock was limited in Wednesday’s practice and Fangio said “we’ll see if we can build it from there” in terms of Lock’s availability against the Patriots.

“Based on all (his throwing Wednesday) and how he does the next few days, we’ll decide,” Fangio said.

While Lock’s status remains up in the air for Sunday, Rypien is taking advantage of an extended week of practice after leading the Broncos to a win in his first NFL start last Thursday — albeit one achieved in spite of his three interceptions. The latter two of those picks allowed the Jets back in the game in the second half.

Rypien threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-31 passing against the Jets.

“(Settling in) is about getting full-speed reps with these guys — being able to run the plays, feeling the timing out of routes, being able to be in the huddle for a full week,” Rypien said. “That will all definitely be helpful.”

The former Boise State star, who holds Mountain West records for passing yardage, completions and 300-yard passing games, said he saw “a lot more good than bad” after reviewing film of his performance against the Jets. He also pledged to tone down his gaffes should he get another start — and should the NFL proceed with the game as scheduled amid recent COVID-19 positive tests within the Patriots organization — Sunday in New England.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for (those interceptions),” Rypien said. “From that standpoint, I know those are easy things for me to clean up, because I’ve never been that type of player throughout my entire career to make dumb mistakes like that.”

Fangio said Rypien will “be even better for it” if he faces a Patriots defense Sunday that may be missing top cornerback Stephon Gilmore due to a positive virus test.

Linebacker Bradley Chubb put the quarterback in the same scrappy, overlooked category as Tim Patrick. The wideout logged his first career 100-yard receiving game against the Jets, with a number of clutch third-down receptions from Rypien.

“Those are guys that no one really talks about, but when they’re handed an opportunity, they step up and they shine,” Chubb said. “Of course (Rypien) had the interceptions, but that’s going to come with (the growth) — we didn’t even have practice reps last week, it was all walk-throughs. So for him to go out there and do what he did on a short amount of time, and engineer drives… We just have to keep that momentum going, keep that team camaraderie going and hopefully (Rypien) can lead the way.”


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