Mark Sanchez, Paxton Lynch

In the preseason quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez, Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, it seems that the Denver Broncos will be going with the veteran in the group, which isn’t that surprising.

Heading into training camp, Gary Kubiak said what every coach says when there’s no clear #1 at the quarterback position at the start of a season: Everyone has a chance to be the starter. But that hardly ever applies. Russell Wilson coming from behind in the depth chart to start for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 is an example that there is equality, but most of the time, naturally, a head coach has his preferred started in mind already.

And it does make sense. Lynch, a rookie, the 26th overall pick in the draft after playing for three seasons in Memphis, was someone the Broncos really wanted, moving up five spots to land him, knowing there were quite a few teams interested in him. Siemian is in his second NFL season, managing to stick on the roster despite being a 7th round pick in 2015, his only appearance for the team being a “taking a knee” play at the end of a first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. The former Northwestern quarterback has a Super Bowl ring, but he was always going to be the third choice.

And then there’s Sanchez, who seems to have gotten worse as his career grows longer. He played backup for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, starting in two games (both losses), coming after a 2014 season in which he had the same role, only got to play 8 games this time and not do too poorly. He’s no longer a joke, like he became during his final season on the New York Jets, but he’s not someone most teams in the NFL would choose to start for them. The Broncos are hoping that with the right kind of cocoon enveloping him, Sanchez can avoid the mistakes that have pushed him down the NFL’s pecking order, at least until they feel Lynch is ready to start.

However, the Broncos fell into a weird, uncomfortable situation. Peyton Manning retired, and Brock Osweiler, hurt by the team not keeping him as their starter in the playoffs, ran off and signed with the Houston Texans, leaving the Broncos in a rough spot. Now, with a very unimpressive, or mostly untested gallery of quarterbacks, they’ll try and prove that a great defense (that might have gotten a bit worse compared to last season) can carry a team with an even worse quarterback situation than last season. After winning a Super Bowl that way, why not believe in that unit to carry the team again?

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