Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has thrown for 6,144 yards and 53 touchdowns in the state of Florida. To be perfectly accurate, however, those numbers have been stagnant since 2010, Siemian's senior year of high school.
This Sunday, when the Broncos travel south to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Siemian will try to build on those numbers for the first time since turning 18.
The ongoing football story of Trevor John Siemian began at Olympia High School in Orlando, where he excelled as quarterback of the Olympia Titans, as well as shortstop, third baseman, and oufielder on the baseball team. In addition to being voted "Mr. Olympia" his senior year, the future-Broncos quarterback accumulated a 3.9 GPA over his four years in high school.
Despite being a talented two-sport athlete, Siemian's hose of an arm, natural athleticism, and academic prowess gravitated him to a number of upstanding football programs, including Colorado State, Harvard, Duke, Rutgers, Syracuse, and his eventual alma mater, Northwestern.
Siemian's college career was unconventional at best. During his sophomore and junior year, Northwestern's head coach, Pat Fitzgerald, schemed up a two-quarterback system in which Siemian would split time with the highly-elusive Kain Colter, who spent this past training camp with the Buffalo Bills as a wide receiver. He wasn't a full-time starter until he became a senior.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1711397-film-room-studying-shane-... On Nov. 15, 2014, Siemian experienced his greatest moment as a college athlete when he led his Wildcats into hostile South Bend, Indiana. Down 11 to Notre Dame halfway through the fourth quarter, Siemian led a final Northwestern charge, running for a touchdown, converting a two-point conversion, and engineering a quick drive to set up a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
Come overtime, a 41-yard field goal gave Northwestern their signature win of the season, defeating the Fighting Irish on national television. Siemian put together one of his best overall performances as a Wildcat, completing 30 of his 48 attempts to go along with one touchdown pass and one touchdown run. It was the high point of a college career that had begun to exhibit professional ambition.
A week later, he tore his ACL.
Fast forward to the present day. Siemian is coming off of an unprecedented 300-yard, four touchdown performance in his first road start and is now preparing for a hot, humid outing in his home state against the 1-2 Bucs.
Tampa Bay's quarterback, Jameis Winston, was the first overall selection of the 2015 NFL Draft after a decorated career with Florida State. Two days and 249 picks later, the Broncos made Siemian the seventh and final quarterback taken in the draft.
While Winston has started all 19 games since the beginning of the 2015 season, Siemian is coming off just his third. This season, Winston has fired eight touchdown passes in just three games, but has also thrown six interceptions, including five in their last two losses.
It's not an apples-to-apples comparison when you consider the surrounding cast, but Siemian has won all three of his starts, thrown five touchdowns to three picks and owns a passer rating 14.9 points higher than that of Winston. Additionally, both quarterbacks are fresh off of four-touchdown games.
If Siemian can pull off another road victory on Sunday in Tampa, the former seventh-rounder will have defeated the last three quarterbacks taken first overall (Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Winston) in just his first four starts, excluding Jared Goff. The chance to become known as an NFL dragon slayer awaits on late Sunday afternoon.
Of course, the conversation about the Broncos' starter has changed drastically since this last Sunday.
Before Week 3 in Cincinnati, Siemian was widely considered to be a passenger of a quarterback, just along for the ride in the run-oriented and defense-reliant Broncos machine.
After his third start, a game that netted him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Siemian is no longer a passenger — he's the captain of the ship.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1710609-siemian-makes-history-in-... Siemian's big day in the jungle put the rest of the league on high alert. The Broncos offense has transitioned from tight quarters to open pastures; it can score anywhere on the field.
With 41 and 55-yard touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, Siemian has uncovered the deep game and should now force defenses to refrain from stacking the box and, ideally, create more spacious running lanes for C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker to slip through.
Essentially, it's the offense that Gary Kubiak has envisioned since he took the job in January of 2015. The stretch-run, bootleg offense just isn't nearly as lethal as it can be without without the threat of the occasional long ball.
Kubiak had it in spades with John Elway in the late 1990's, he developed it within Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson during his time in Houston, and it was certainly a factor with bazooka-armed, ambiguously-elite quarterback Joe Flacco in his 2014 season with Baltimore.
Now, don't go expecting an all-out aerial attack from Trevor Siemian and the Broncos. It's really just the threat, the possibility, even the inkling that the offense could go up top at any moment to any one of their more-than-capable receivers that forces defenses to be honest. It's not a privilege the Broncos enjoyed in Peyton Manning's farewell season a year ago, but it appears to be on its way back.
To maintain that respect from defenses, Denver's offense has to prove that Week 3 at the Bengals was more trend than aberration. There's countless one-week wonders; sustained success is the only way to earn your place in the NFL.
That means Siemian will have to throw a few more immaculate spirals that cut through Tampa's heavy, humid air and find their way into the hands of Sanders, Thomas, and the rest of the receiving corps. And for a second straight week, Siemian will have to avoid allowing the offense to sputter and settle for field goals and instead, find the end zone.
No need to worry, though. He's already done it 53 times.
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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.