Can Trevor Siemian Be the Future at QB for the Denver Broncos?

We all have opinions on the matter, and so does Will Keys.

There has never been a quarterback situation that has polarized fans of the Denver Broncos like the current one with Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. It's completely unprecedented. 

Well, actually, except for Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler last year. Or Manning and Tim Tebow. Or Tebow and Kyle Orton. Or Orton and Chris Simms. Or Jay Cutler and Jake Plummer. You get the idea. It's really not that unprecedented at all. In fact, it's more uncommon that for the Broncos not to have a polarizing situation at quarterback. Unless there's a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback at the helm, as was the case with Manning and John Elway a decade and a half before him, there's going to be a good amount of second-guessing.

Throw in the advent of social media, particularly Twitter, and there's essentially a 100 percent chance that naysayers and apologists of the incumbent quarterback (who both just want to see the team succeed) will be at each other's throats over the matter.

Right now, it's Siemian who's caught in the crossfire. It seems as though half of the population of Earth likes what they see, and the other half has seen enough. Or, in many cases, they made up their minds before they saw anything at all, as football fans tend to do. Pedigree over production.

Like him or not, Siemian is in the unenviable position of replacing a legend. Even with a sub-par (to say the absolute least) season a year ago, Manning led the team to a victory in Super Bowl 50, both physically and emotionally. Imagine how high the standards would be if Manning had hung up the cleats after his record-breaking 2013 season of 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards.

Manning was the only player that came close to filling Elway's shoes after his retirement, and now the specter of both Manning and Elway hangs over whichever quarterback is under center for the Broncos. Trevor Siemian earned the right to start at quarterback this season. It's not accurate to call him a backup who just so happens to be starting. He didn't win by default, he outplayed both Lynch and Mark Sanchez (two quarterbacks with first-round pedigrees) in the preseason and training camp and rightfully won the job. No one calls Blake Bortles a backup who beat out Chad Henne for the starting job; he's a starter and so is Siemian.

There is--empirically speaking--zero doubt that Siemian is the best quarterback on the roster right now. While Paxton Lynch flashed his endless talent in his first appearance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his first two full starts proved that he isn't ready to be a starting quarterback yet. And by no means does that make him a bust.

Lost in the talk of Lynch transitioning from the spread offense to the pro-style offense is the fact that the man was playing against Conference USA opponents one calendar year ago. That, combined with the total shift in offensive philosophy makes for a pretty intense learning curve, which makes it unfair to label him anything after two and a half starts.

Regardless of Lynch's readiness, or the lack thereof, the backup quarterback is almost always going to be the most popular guy in town. Perhaps since Kurt Warner replaced the injured Trent Green prior to the 1999 season and led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory, NFL fans have romanticized the backup quarterback as the team's potential savior.

Of course, that case is the anomaly. Unless a team has an incredible investment tied up in a quarterback and almost has to start them just to see what return they'll get (see Texans, Houston) the best quarterback is on the field.

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We know with certainty that there is no investment in Siemian that's forcing Gary Kubiak to start him every week, when healthy. He was the 33rd pick of the 7th round in 2015, and he's being paid $538,195 this season, which is the lowest salary of the three quarterbacks on the roster (Lynch makes over $1.7 million).

This season, there have been times when Siemian has thrown mind-numbing interceptions that you would expect a seventh-round quarterback to play, but there's also been times when he's looked like the future, flashing plays where he traverses the width of the field before throwing a laser in the end zone that make you lift up your glasses like motivational speaker Matt Foley and ask, "Hey Dad, I can't see too good, is that Joe Montana over there?"

And that's precisely the trajectory of a young quarterback. They are all inconsistent.

In fact, let's look at how he stacks up to other notable quarterbacks through their first twelve games:

• Trevor Siemian (7-5): 3,012 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 7.2 Y/A (yards per attempt)
• Peyton Manning (2-10): 2,810 yards, 19 TDs, 23 INTs, 6.3 Y/A
• Tom Brady (9-3): 2,491 yards, 16 TDs, 10 INTs, 7.0 Y/A
• Russell Wilson (7-5): 2,344 yards, 19 TDs, 8 INTs, 7.5 Y/A
• Carson Palmer: (6-6): 2,695 yards, 16 TDs, 17 INTs, 6.8 Y/A

Note: I used this set of quarterbacks because two were picked first overall, two were mid-to-late-round picks, two started from day one, and two started in their second season.

Not so bad after all. In fact, he fits right in with those other quarterbacks. They all ended up pretty good.

Does it mean Siemian will, too? Not necessarily, but it shows (along with the game tape) that he's on the right trajectory. But you never know in the NFL. Siemian could regress this offseason while Lynch flourishes in his second year studying and getting reps. It's certainly happened before.

However, with all of the information we have in front of us, it's pretty clear that, yes, Trevor Siemian can be the future of the quarterback position for the Broncos.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and on Facebook.


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