Denver Broncos fans, are you tired of listening to the same thing over and over again. You know what I’m talking about. I’m sure of it.
Who is going to start at quarterback?
The franchise has been blessed by two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, that gave their all to bring three Lombardi Trophies to the Mile High City. Now, we look to the future, looking for the young Bronco that will lead the best fan base off into the sunset.
Many fans and pundits alike are frustrated heading into a highly anticipated training camp. Who will truly be the new face of such a powerful franchise?
Siemian, in most regards, performed very well last season, considering the circumstances. He finished the year 24th in passing yards with 3,401 (missed two games due to injury), 22nd in touchdowns (tied with Andy Dalton, one behind Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton, and only three behind the great Russell Wilson), and 10 interceptions. Remember, this kid was a seventh round pick in 2015, and his one career play prior to starting in 2016, a kneel down.
Unfortunately for Siemian, the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015, and expectations from fans were as high as ever for a repeat, no matter who was playing under center. He was doomed to fail, but, quite frankly, impressed the hell out of most people and put together a very respectable “pseudo-rookie” campaign.
Now here is the thing with Trevor Siemian. It’s safe to safe that he will improve upon last year. If you watch his game, he is not likely to regress. He plays smart from the pocket, not forcing throws, and plays extremely “cool, calm, and collected“, to quote Emmanual Sanders. However, his football ceiling is much lower, not low, just lower.
If Siemian wins the starting job, the Broncos are a playoff team. They got better in the offseason. They addressed the interior of the defense in free agency (Domata Peko, and Zach Kerr), along with the draft (DeMarcus Walker played edge at Florida State, but can play inside if the scheme calls for it).
They added depth to the running back room and a lot of it. They added weapons at the receiver position as they are still searching for their true number three target since Wes Welker departed. Jake Butt was drafted in the fifth round and he could become the best tight end in his draft class if he returns to 100% healthy form.
And finally, and most importantly, they addressed the offensive line that was woefully bad last year. Will the additions of Ronald Leary, Menelik Watson, and Garett Bolles be enough? That is the biggest question heading into week one.
So with the team all around improving, and Trevor Siemian improving at the quarterback position, this is a playoff caliber team that will compete to win the AFC West division.
So then why would Paxton Lynch starting at quarterback be good news for the Denver Broncos? Isn’t it obvious?
The 2016 NFL Draft
Paxton Lynch was selected 26th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. General Manager John Elway, who recently signed a contract extension, moved up in the first-round in order to select Lynch.
Lynch was a projected top-15 pick in 2016. His big frame (6-7, 245 pounds), and rocket arm had scouts drooling over him. He threw for 3,776 yards, with 28 touchdowns to only four interceptions in his final season at Memphis, while posting an extremely impressive 66.8 completion percentage and a rating of 157.5.
His talent was unprecedented, but unfortunately, he was seen as a bit of a project as he was under-developed within the Memphis system. He may have been football ready, but he wasn’t NFL ready, as the Memphis’ offense did not cater to NFL needs. Heading into the draft, Lynch had never been in a huddle, never lined up under center, and really never called plays at the line of scrimmage. So the talent and IQ were there, but the acumen had/has to be taught.
When Elway selected him, he was excited. This was the quarterback of the future after all. He knew, however, that he would not be ready to start right away, possibly a two, or even, three-year project. You can listen to Mike Mayock say it on draft day when Lynch was selected, “On the positive side, his elite arm talent and athletic ability.” These are things that cannot be taught.
“What does he have to work on? He’s never been in a huddle. He doesn’t call pass protections. He doesn’t control the game at the line of scrimmage. He’s never been under center… So when I say, ‘he’s a year away,’ I love the kid, and I believe in him, but he’s got a lot of work to do.”
That was a little over a year ago. Bronco fans knew what they were getting into. Lynch was chosen to be the future, but that future would not become present in 2016, and maybe not in 2017, or maybe not even 2018.
Aaron Rodgers sat for the first four years of his career before becoming the starter in Green Bay. Now part of that, obviously, was due to the fact that he was sitting behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But part of that was due to the fact that he was the 24th pick in the 2005 draft and he just wasn’t ready to start yet. In his final season at Cal, he barely threw for over 2,500 yards in a quarterback friendly system, so he needed time to progress to the NFL level. We all know how that panned out.
So here is the explanation that you have been waiting for.
Paxton Lynch Starting Quarterback For The Denver Broncos Is Great News
If Paxton Lynch wins the starting job in training camp, that means that he is ahead of schedule.
Winning the starting job means that the coaching staff and management believes he gives the Broncos a better chance to succeed than Trevor Siemian.
The same Trevor Siemian that will lead the current roster to the playoffs. The same Trevor Siemian, that if he improves even slightly from last year (and plays a full 16 games), could throw for 4,000 yards and more than 20 touchdowns.
Most of the league, and almost every laughable expert, see the Bronco’s QB situation as a dire one. Some media outlets predict the Broncos finishing 7-9, or 6-10, or one even predicted 4-12. Five fewer wins with an improved roster? Five fewer wins with a quarterback that has a year under his belt and is poised to improve? Or five fewer wins with the young quarterback of the future that beat out the cool, calm, and collected quarterback from last year? The Denver Broncos are a true contender.
Let me put it this way. Trevor Siemian had three more touchdowns and only 101 less passing yards than Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs last year. KC lost some role players in the offseason and has a starting quarterback that may not be better than EITHER of the Broncos two competing QBs. And the Broncos finish last in the Division?
As a fan of the NFL, what more can you ask for than a quarterback competition in training camp? Such parody. Hyperbole to the nth degree. But in the end, poetic justice.
If Paxton Lynch wins the starting job in Denver, 2017 could be another special one in the Mile High City. But if you’re a Bronco’s fan, you already expect that.