In the NFL, quarterbacks don't metamorphosize into franchise players by osmosis. There's no magic touch or crystal ball that can guarantee a talented player turning the corner into a franchise quarterback.
It takes work. It takes commitment.
Paxton Lynch has all the tools NFL teams covet in a franchise quarterback. The raw materials are there.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1760703-denver-broncos-2017-free-... But new Head Coach Vance Joseph dropped the organizational facade on Monday, and talked about what it's really going to take for Denver's 2016 first round pick to turn the corner.
"Paxton is a young guy with great talent," Joseph said. "But playing quarterback in the NFL has a lot more [to it] than talent. It’s leadership. Whether you like it or not, it comes with leadership obligations. It comes with studying in it and understanding the systems."
It's a shame Lynch missed the Peyton Manning window by a few months and the treasure trove of practical application he could have learned at the Sheriff's feet. The quarterback, as Joseph points out, whether you "like it or not", has to be the first one in the building every day, and the last one to leave. And he has to be the example, when it comes to knowledge of the playbook.
Perhaps Lynch needs to box up his Play-Station and forget about all the distractions of social media. That's no small task. Being a young athlete, and wealthy in an instant, it's easy to lose sight of professional priorities.
I'm hopeful that Lynch's struggles as a rookie were a harsh reminder of where he stands in his development and what it's going to take to make a quantum leap. The good news? Joseph thinks Lynch is up for it.
"He’s ready for it," Joseph said. "He wants the challenge. He’s looking forward to coming back and going to work. It’s going to be a fair and open competition. Whoever plays better is going to be the guy.”
Lynch has the phenomenal opportunity to start over with a clean slate — a new coaching staff. This staff was brought in specifically to tailor a system to Lynch's strengths.
Lynch seems to be taking this offseason seriously as an opportunity to get better. He's been working with QB guru Charlie Taaffe.
Lynch is staring down the barrel at yet another open competition with Trevor Siemian. It seems like the second-year player has the right mindset. But Joseph will approach the competition with absolute objectivity — no favorites.
"I am very comfortable with Trevor," Joseph said. "He’s a smart guy. He’s a great leader. His teammates love him and they love playing for him. If he’s the guy again, all good. If Paxton comes back and he plays better and he’s the guy, all good. We’re excited about our quarterback future. We’ve got two young guys. One is a first-round pick and one has played an awful lot. Going forward, we’re in great shape. Not just for next year, moving forward for the next four or five years, we’re in great shape at quarterback.”
The ball is in Lynch's court. The signs point to him recognizing his unique challenge and opportunity. But only time will tell.
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Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.