Broncos backups have ‘incredible opportunity’ facing Bills starters

Good morning, Country of the Broncos!

Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Thursday that most of his starters will play on Saturday when they host the Broncos, and they will play “a healthy amount.”

But new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett isn’t taking the bait.

After practice Thursday, Hackett was asked if he would consider starting against the Bills, as they planned to put Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Von Miller and the rest in the game possibly for a few quarters.

“No, it’s about our team. Our team and our team only,” he said. “The only time it will affect the type of things we do is during the season.”

Hackett has made it abundantly clear that he is not a fan of preseason games and would rather test his 22 starters in solid work during practice week.

“You know me, I don’t like preseason,” he said Tuesday. “That’s just my philosophy… In the end, we want to be smart with the guys. It’s a 17-game season.”

Hackett also revealed Thursday that Josh Johnson would be the starting quarterback on Saturday, putting to rest any wild notions that fans might see Russell Wilson in the preseason.

“Both guys have done really well,” Hackett said, noting Johnson’s good play against Dallas last week. “It wasn’t too big for him. I think he’s gotten out of here and done a good job. [He] It had a couple of things that need improvement, but it’s everyone. Everyone has to improve. I do, those guys do and you just want to keep seeing those guys fight and have healthy competition because ‘Ryp’ (QB Brett Rypien) has done a good job. The idea is who can we get more consistent? We want to be sure that we are not losing the ball, we are making smart decisions and moving the chains.”

When reporters tried to ask about other potential starters who would see some playing time, asking if “any player who didn’t play the Cowboys could play the Bills,” Hackett was similarly coy.

“You know my philosophy [is that] it’s risk-reward,” he said. “I know everyone likes those things, but in the end, I want to do what’s right for the team.”

With the first-team offense and defense exchanging some good drives during Thursday’s workout, the coach is likely to use the next two weekends just for the guys trying to prove themselves.

And what better way to do that than by playing against the starters?

“That’s the best evaluation you can possibly get. We want to see who can go out there and play against the best in the league,” Hackett said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for those guys to step up and show what they can do.”

Broncos/NFL News

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