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Peter King: For The Broncos To Win, Trevor Siemian Needs To Play 10 Percent Better

Could a 10 percent increase in productivity really mean the difference between Trevor Siemian leading the Broncos to the playoffs and missing out?

Not since the days of Jake Plummer vs. Jay Cutler has Broncos Country been as divided on the play of their starting quarterback. As the Denver Broncos march on to a pivotal division matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, the focus once again falls on the play of second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Tuesday, in an appearance on 104.3 The Fan, MMQB's Peter King spoke with Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans, giving his thoughts on Siemian’s play through 10 games and assessing where the Broncos are going with the young quarterback at the helm.

“In my opinion, I think they’re going to be good enough on defense down the stretch," King said, "and I think Siemian’s got to be 10 percent better if this team is going to go far in January.”

With the bye week giving much needed rest to players like Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe, the defense will be closer to resembling the 2015 model that carried Denver to a historic win in Super Bowl 50, rather than the unit that was gashed for chunks of yards at a time in losses to the Raiders and Falcons.

That doesn’t mean that Siemian can afford to regress in his own development — he will need to play a bigger role if the team hopes to play well during these next six games. 10 percent is a curious number for King to give as the ceiling for Siemian’s play to improve but it actually shows a huge step in improvement. The difference between a B- and a A- is 10%. In baseball, a guy that hits .200 isn’t’ someone that sticks around the big leagues, but a .300 hitter isn’t long to look for work in the majors for any number of teams.

Siemian’s play is the subject of intense scrutiny from analysts to fans alike and it's created a strong delineation in the fan base — those that think that Siemian is nothing more than a backup-caliber talent, handed the job of out necessity and others who believe he is a little-known, late-round gem that has played as well as could be hoped.

Often times, things get sorted and filed too quickly into opinions that are either black or white and this is true of the overall assessment of Siemian.

Does Siemian make inexperienced mistakes? Yes.

From being limited in what he is able to diagnose reading coverage, to simply staring down receivers, its apparent for many to see. On the other hand, has he handled going from afterthought to starter in a matter of months as good as could be hoped? That too is a yes.

His accuracy could be better, but that critique could apply to any number of quarterbacks outside of Rodgers, Brees and Brady. Does he show the toughness needed to be viewed as the leader of the offense? When he’s willing to take a shot to deliver a ball, or play through a nagging shoulder injury, that answer is also yes.

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From Head Coach Gary Kubiak to Peter King, the persistent thought about Siemian’s play is that it can get markedly better. That notion is becoming harder to dismiss as “coach speak” when several people in the football world concur that we haven’t seen Siemian’s full potential yet.

In the cut-throat business of football, many coaches will let on that they are willing to work with a player who shows the type of potential to be a real contributor on a football team, while at the same time discarding the ones that don’t.

So long as the coaching staff continues to go with Siemian, and not rookie Paxton Lynch, or even veteran Austin Davis, they must believe that he gives the Broncos the best chance to win. Could completing one more pass per quarter, or getting a touchdown out of a scoring drive instead of a field goal be more desirable?

Sure. At the very least, the coaching staff, along with outside pundits, are thinking the same thing. However, King's comments also reveal the belief that we aren’t witnessing the floor of Siemian’s potential either.

For those who've been vocally critical of Siemian’s performance as of late, its imperative to try an avoid constant cynicism and temper the scrutiny with praise for if/when he does well.

King added to his thoughts on Siemian and where he figures the Broncos to end the year.

“I think, overall, the Broncos have gotten incredible play out of Trevor Siemian. I mean, who would have thought that Trevor Siemian would have been a competent quarterback for 10 games? I think its remarkable what he has given them to this point.”

Many a fan hopes for a 10 percent improvement from their starting quarterback. The good news is that many think Trevor Siemian is capable of delivering on that kind of return.

For Denver fans, far and wide, any kind of improvement would be a welcome one, no matter how big, as the hopes of a return trip to the playoffs hinges on the issue. 

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

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