Where Did QB Trevor Siemian Show Improvement In Denver's Week 3 Victory?

Trevor Siemian broke out with a 312-yard, four-touchdown performance on the road in Cincinnati. What exactly did Siemian do to improve so drastically on the stat sheet?

The Denver Broncos most recent win over the Cincinnati Bengals held the first true test for quarterback Trevor Siemian.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... Facing his first time playing in hostile territory, Simian would have the opportunity to answer the speculation on how he would handle adversity in his first appearance in an opponent’s backyard. 

For fans and pundits alike, it is still hard to fathom that Siemian was making just his third start in the league and doing it, no less, for the defending Super Bowl Champions. Siemian does do things well. He throws the ball with a crisp, tight spiral and is very even-keeled — but could he answer the criticisms that have surrounded him during his short tenure as Denver’s starter?

The answer was a resounding, yes! Let's take a look at some of the ways Trevor Siemian showed improvement in Week 3. 

Footwork

In his first couple of games, Siemian didn't show the type of footwork you would want to see out of a NFL signal-caller. The Broncos have done a good job of keeping him upright, only allowing three sacks up to Sunday's game, but with pass rushers like Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, Siemian’s footwork would have to be on point.

After a brief opening series where the offense went three-&-out, the Bengals used a surprisingly effective rushing attack to dash to a quick 7-0 lead. In his next series, Siemian would avoid another short series with a four-yard scramble on third down, stepping up in the pocket and using his legs to move the chains.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1710670-watch-dt-sanders-evaluate... The Broncos would have to settle for a field goal on the drive but Siemian used his legs to avoid the rush on more than one occasion, sliding well in the pocket and sensing the oncoming Bengals rush.

On the 3rd-&-5 play that would see Siemian hook up with Emmanuel Sanders for a long score, Siemian showed improvement again with his feet. He took the snap and positioned himself just slightly enough to get a better throwing window, stepping into the throw to put enough arc and distance on the ball.

This was a big step forward in cleaning up his game — something that he wasn’t doing and something that resulted in a crucial interception against Carolina in the opener. 

Going Downfield 

Up until this week, Siemian had attempted just two passes where the ball traveled for 20 yards or more. The fact that he was unable to exploit the secondaries of Carolina and Indianapolis, which aren't upper echelon units, was worrisome.

Combine with that the fact that he didn't complete either of those passes and it creates concern that the coaching staff didn’t trust Siemian to go deep, or that he simply didn't have the ability to.

Three passes stand out in the Cincinnati win. The first being the long touchdown pass to Sanders.

It was a slightly under-thrown ball but what was more impressive on the play was that Siemian was able to hold the safety in the middle of the field with his eyes and keep him from helping cornerback Adam Jones in coverage, which led to the one-on-one matchup that Sanders ended up exploiting. It was a risky pass to attempt on a 3rd-&-5 but Siemian executed the call to a 'T'.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1711010-3-film-takeaways-broncos-... The Broncos would go ahead by five to start the fourth quarter and get the ball back with a little over six minutes left to play. In these situations, it’s been the M.O. of Coach Gary Kubiak to play it close to the vest and eat some time off the clock with the run game, letting the defense close out the ballgame. Not this time.

Siemian would play-action on first down deep in Bronco territory and connect with a wide open Jeff Heuerman over the middle for 29 yards, pushing the ball close to midfield. Kubiak opened up the playbook.

It was a welcome change in play-calling for Kubiak to not run on first down and it served its purpose beautifully in getting the tight end over the middle for a big gain. Siemian did his part by putting the ball on the money, hitting his target in stride. 

Coach Kubiak again showed great confidence in his young QB as he aired it out on 3rd -&-11 — this time hitting Demaryius Thomas on a 55-yard score that essentially ended the game, sending the Broncos home a winner. After the game, C.J. Anderson reflected on the play, saying that Siemian told Thomas in the huddle that if he was matched up on the cornerback with no safety help, he was going to get him the ball. 

Showing Up On The Road

Siemian has a well-documented demeanor. He rarely gets rattled and remains cool under pressure. Facing his first game on the road, he would have to overcome the inability by the Denver offense to run the ball (something that has been his security blanket), move past the loss of his starting right tackle and tight end, and play behind a patchwork offensive line that would see some players go down early on. 

Despite having the odds stacked against him, Siemian came alive in the second half, completing all nine of his passes on the go-ahead drive. Siemian also showed for the third time this season that the moment never got too big for him late in the game and made the plays that he needed to when it mattered the most. 

It’s too early to say what the ceiling is for Siemian. After just three starts, it would be unfair to even attempt it. 

There are still aspects of his game I would like to see him improve, like not staring down receivers, and showing more accuracy on his shorter throws. One of the biggest questions going into this season revolved around whether Trevor Siemian would be adequate enough to quarterback the Defending Champs. Could he keep them rolling?

If he keeps playing like he did on Sunday, he will go a long way in proving people wrong. And perhaps establish himself as the type of player many of us didn’t think he could be — a very good quarterback. 

Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.

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