A third preseason game without Mark Sanchez playing, with Paxton Lynch having his weakest appearance thus far, and Trevor Siemian making his second consecutive start, it looks like head coach Gary Kubiak knows who his starting quarterback is going to be in the 2016 NFL season, although that doesn’t mean that person will be the starting quarterback when the season is over.
Remember last season? Peyton Manning was the starter, got benched for Brock Osweiler and then returned in the final game of the season instead of Osweiler, leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory, riding one of the best defenses in NFL history. So is Siemian, who suddenly looks like the favorite to start, doesn’t fill that capacity, let’s say, in week 17, don’t act surprised: The Broncos are once again counting on their defense to carry them not the guy who is playing under center.
To me, the approach seems to be “who is going to f*** up the least next season?” The Broncos might already have the answer to that question based on the preseason games, and don’t even need the 4th one to make a decision. When preseason began, Mark Sanchez was the player to beat, but a good performance by Paxton Lynch, and relative consistency from Siemian has possibly changed the outlook. Kubiak says the decision to pick the starter for the season opener against the Carolina Panthers will be made this week.
I’ve got a lot invested and a lot of work that I can make some decisions off of now. I’ll do that. Does that mean I’m going to do it Sunday or Monday? I don’t know. I’ve got enough going on that I can make a decision. I, obviously, thought about it all week long. I sat down with Mark this morning, before breakfast. I said, ‘Mark, I’m going to play Paxton in the second [half], and if things go the way I think, and Trevor plays as long as I think he’s going to play, then I’m not going to put you in there with four or five minutes to play.’ Bottom line: I’ve got a lot to go on on Mark. He’s played a lot of football. I need to see the other two kids play.
Lynch has mostly played third teams during the preseason, while Kubiak didn’t need another look at how Sanchez was going to do. Getting a better gauge of what Siemian can do against starters was probably the main thing he was looking at while the Broncos were beating the Los Angeles Rams 17-9, improving to 2-1 this preseason. He has a passer rating of 63.02 which isn’t very impressive, but the Broncos seem to like what they’re seeing from the 7th round pick in 2015 out of Northwestern, especially when it comes to his calm and poise.
If Siemian actually wins the preseason quarterback race for the #1 slot, it’s probably one of the more surprising conclusions to a training camp quarterback battle in the last few years, as he beats both the veteran starter and exciting rookie for the job, from the unlikely position of being the inhouse third string QB at best.