The Denver Broncos appear set to get their starting quarterback back, with the surprising bye week playing to their advantage. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio revealed Thursday Drew Lock is on track to make his return for Sunday’s showdown against the New England Patriots, but he stopped short of guaranteeing it. Lock hasn’t played since Week 2 when he suffered a shoulder injury. 

“He definitely could start on Sunday as he looks now,” Fangio said Thursday. “We’ll hold off on making that final. He had a good practice today, so we’ll see how it goes. There were no setbacks.”

Lock was a full participant in practice as the Broncos get set to return to the field for the first time since October 1 — a span of 18 days. The second-year quarterback has only played one full game this season before going down the second week of the year. In his only full start, Lock completed 66.7% of his passes for 216 yards and a touchdown in a 16-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans. 

The Broncos had Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien make starts while Lock was out, going 1-1 in his absence. While Rypien had his moments as a starter, Lock admitted he felt bad letting his backups down as they had to fill in on short notice. 

“It was way harder than it was last year,” Lock said of his injury, via the Broncos website. “As much as you want to say we prep during the week for guys who aren’t playing, you hate to put a backup quarterback in a bad spot like that. You take all the reps all of training camp and throughout the week — and then whether it was Jeff [Driskel] or Brett [Rypien] — they had minimal reps compared to what I had, and I put them both in tough spots. 

“They had to come back and learn game plans and sometimes run plays that they hadn’t ran all training camp because I was the one taking the reps. That hurt me and then even for the rest of the team, we had built chemistry throughout training camp and I feel like I kind of took that away from us by making the dumb decision and not just taking the sack.”

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