When Peyton Manning called it a career, we knew he would leave behind a sizable void at the Denver Broncos quarterback position that would not be easily filled. As we get closer to the first preseason game against Chicago, all the coaches, thus far, have been reluctant to name a starter.
It might be early, but it is concerning that none of the signal-callers have been able to distance themselves enough to be named the starter Week 1 against Carolina. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison shed light on the issue after Sunday’s practice.
“I think we are going to get a clear picture when we open [the first preseason game]," he said. "We are just going to take our time, let that thing sort out. I think we have plenty of patience. Let’s let them play some games, let’s let them lead. Game experience is big. Obviously Mark’s got the upper hand on that. Let them go out there and play. The installation is just a part of us. We’re trying to progress it, so we don’t want to overload them. We try to teach in concept so they get a good feel and a grasp so we can move on.”
When asked about second-year QB Trevor Siemian, Coach Dennison pointed out some of the improvements he has seen since his rookie year.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1692274-broncos-2016-training-cam... “There is some confidence," Dennison said. "He’s not afraid to throw the ball in tight windows. Last year he was a little hesitant to do that, but most young guys are. I think he’s confident in what he is doing and he’s confident in the guys. He’s got the guys’ confidence too. When he goes out in the huddle, they all know what he’s doing.”
Dennison, in fine coach-speak form, did well to not tip his hat too much to any of his trio of quarterbacks. However, it is significant when head coach Gary Kubiak highlighted the performance of veteran Mark Sanchez at the end of practice on Sunday,
“You are out there playing all day long and when everybody is worn out, the quarterback has to step up and make plays," Kubiak said. 'He did that at the end of practice. He made some great plays, great throws.”
Coach Kubiak also made mention of rookie Paxton Lynch.
“He’s just better every day. Every day we are out here, he tends to make some big plays and do some good things. He struggles at times, but you are just seeing a guy get more and more confident. That’s part of being a young player. I really liked the way we practiced today.”
Unfortunately, both Sanchez and Lynch came back from their day off to struggle on Wednesday—Day 6 of camp. Neither player has taken control of the competition. For that to happen, both players must be more consistent.
“We’ve had some good days. We’ve had some real good days," Kubiak said following Wednesday's practice. "It just wasn’t as good as it needed to be today. As long as I’ve been doing this, it’s the way it works. You just have to keep going and try to be consistent. That’s what we’re working towards.”
The odds are Mark Sanchez will be the starter, once the season gets under way. What is a bit concerning is that all three guys have played well at times, but not so well that the coaching staff is letting one of them settle into the role of starter. It could be a detriment to the offense as a whole, and creates the concern that the Broncos will be playing musical chairs at QB when the games begin to count.
Each player has the opportunity to be one under center on Sundays. Sanchez has had the most NFL success—by far. But on the flip-side, Lynch and Siemian combine for one collective pro season under their respective belts.
Siemian has the most experience in the Kubiak’s scheme and shows the most familiarity with the offense. Lynch’s raw talent is undeniable and it becomes more apparent each day that he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback.
But with those pluses also come the minuses. Sanchez wasn’t able to be supplant the marginal quarterbacks in Philadelphia—Nick Foles and Sam Bradford. Siemian’s draft pedigree would indicate that the front office and coaches think of him more as a backup than a starter.
Lynch may have a great future in the league ahead of him, but the question is whether the coaches are going to be willing to let him make his inevitable mistakes, when the team as a whole is still in a Super Bowl-winning window.
There is an old coaching adage that says “if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any”. The Denver Broncos may very well have three players who could be suiting up for them and seeing the field this year.
Take from that whatever connotation you will.
While each player brings his own strengths and weaknesses to the team, it might behoove Coach Kubiak and company to determine who the starter is going to be sooner rather than later.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
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