The quarterback is the single most important athlete in professional sports. However, carrying the title in the NFL can be a double edged sword. He earns glory when his team succeeds, but will undoubtedly be the first to be thrown under the bus when the road gets rough.
Expected to both know what the defense will do before they do it and to have a short memory after their mistakes, being under center at this level is a walking contradiction that very few are capable of handling.
More than anything, a quarterback needs to be a good decision maker. He may not always be the reason a team wins the game, but he cannot be the reason they lose it. Since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have desperately lacked exactly this from their quarterback.
In a football-crazy city like Denver, the spotlight is even brighter. A fanbase that by default compares every signal caller to Hall-of-Famers like Manning and General Manager John Elway, the standard of excellence was set long ago.
Fair or not, the bar for the Denver Broncos is set much higher than most. After not making the playoffs last season and an entirely new coaching staff, rumblings of major changes at the position were only natural this spring.
Rumors of Tony Romo leaving Dallas for Denver began to surface in the winter and have continued throughout the early portion of the offseason. After three months, Romo is still with the Cowboys and a deal to Denver seems to becoming less likely by the week.
When recently asked about the aging Cowboys gunslinger Elway dismissed the notion. “Tony is still under contract with the Cowboys,” Elway said. “The plan is to stay the course.”
That course, of course, is to rely on either former first round pick Paxton Lynch, who will be entering his second NFL season, or to return to Trevor Siemian, the third-year game manager who started 14 games for the Broncos last season.
If Denver does indeed go with the Lynch/Siemian combination, it will make for a tight training camp competition.
Many believe Siemian deserves the role for his performance through tough circumstances last season. Statistically, he put up adequate numbers for a first-year starter and did so playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league.
The Northwestern-bred QB completed roughly 60 percent of his passes, threw 18 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in 14 starts.
His critics, on the other hand, feel like his potential has already been reached and believe that the stats are misleading of his performance. Siemian struggled mightily to finish drives and his pocket presence was less than spectacular.
In 14 games, Siemian was sacked 31 times. That is almost an average of 2.5 sacks per game. A decent amount of that can be put on the offensive line. At the end of the day, Siemian failed to adjust and get rid of the ball though.
Supporters of Lynch generally believe that there will be a steep learning curve, but after spending the majority of his rookie season on the sideline, getting the Memphis alum on the field is conducive to the future of the franchise.
After trading up in the first round to select Lynch and bringing in a new coaching staff that is seemingly tailored to his development, it would only make sense to roll with Lynch this season.
He’s the owner of one of the strongest arms in the NFL, as well as elite mobility and size. The world got a taste of his skills last August and his two starts last season. Running the offense and progressing through his reads was definitely a struggle, but his supporters argue the only way he will ever be able to truly develop is if he gets consistent snaps with the one’s.
The Broncos are set to begin offseason team activities on April 10, which will give Denver’s newly installed coaching staff their first real glimpse at both of the Broncos young gunslingers ahead of what promises to be an intense training camp competition in August.