Going into the off-season, one of the biggest discussions was just what would the Denver Broncos do at quarterback. After winning the Super Bowl in February 2016, Peyton Manning retired and that left the position open. The heir-apparent Brock Osweiler wanted too much money and bolted for the Houston Texans, leaving the team with Trevor Siemian and their first round pick Paxton Lynch from Memphis. Siemian was a 7th round pick out of Northwestern the year before. The two young quartebacks competed with Siemian getting the starting nod over the rookie and the team ended the season 9-7, missing the playoffs. Siemian started 14 of the 16 games in 2016 while Lynch started 2 and played in a third.
Going into this off-season, there was a lot of talk about the position again. Neither quarterback stepped up enough to lockdown the position and there was a lot of talk about the team signing Tony Romo once he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. Except Romo wasn’t released, he retired for a chair in the booth. General Manager John Elway, a former Super Bowl winning quarterback himself, didn’t see anyone else out there better than what he already had on the team and they went into the pre-season with Siemian battling Lynch again.
That battle has come to an end, at least for now, as new head coach Van Joseph announced they had a clear-cut winner:
We decided on making Trevor Siemian our quarterback. Both guys competed hard. Both guys wanted the job. We’re pleased with both guys, but overall the operation of the entire offense, decision-making, ball placement, was more consistent with Trevor. That’s why he won the job.
In their final chance to get the coaches attention, the second pre-season game against the San Francisco 49ers, Lynch started and went 9-of-13 for 39 yards plus 27 yards rushing while Siemian came near the end of the first half and went 8-of-11 for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Joseph talked about the game and how each quarterback played:
I saw Paxton make some plays with his legs, which he should. He’s an athlete. And Trevor, he was solid. He was Trevor. He made good decisions, his ball placement was on point tonight, he controlled the huddle. So I was pleased with Trevor.
Other reports from that game referred to Lynch as having looked overwhelmed and uncomfortable while Siemian appeared to be in good control of the offense. The decision to go with Siemian came a week earlier this year than last when former head coach Gary Kubiak named Siemian the starter after the third pre-season game over Lynch and quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Siemian played most of 2016 with a shoulder injury that he had surgically repaired in the off-season. The team is hoping his play will improve and with their defense mostly intact, that they can get back to the playoffs. How this will play out for Lynch on the other hand becomes interesting. How many more chances will the Broncos give him before looking for a different quarterback of the future?