ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Let the competition begin.
It will be Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian squaring off for the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback job in what head coach Vance Joseph described as a, “50/50 open competition.”
Joseph, speaking to the media on the first day of Denver’s offseason workout schedule, left little doubt about the Broncos’ plans under center heading into the summer. Siemian, the team’s starting quarterback from last season, will compete with Lynch, their athletic 2016 first round pick.
“It’s an open competition,” Joseph said. “We’ve got these two young guys that have bright futures. It’s open. It’s going to go down to the wire I hope. Right now, it’s a new system that’s going into place here with (offensive coordinator) Mike McCoy so it’s a fair, open competition and the best guy will play.”
The news came as somewhat of a surprise considering Siemian, who started 14 games for the Broncos last season, has spent most of the winter recovering from a fairly serious offseason shoulder surgery. Questions existed about whether he would be ready to workout at all during this part of the OTA calendar, much less be ready to enter an open competition with Lynch.
Joseph answered those questions right away.
“Trevor is full-go,” Joseph said. “He’s been cleared to be a participant in the offseason program so he’s ready to go. No issues.”
Siemian played admirably for the Broncos after being named the starting quarterback following a training camp competition last August. Of course, it was the previous Broncos coaching staff, led by former head coach Gary Kubiak, who made the call to go with Siemian. Now, both quarterbacks will be forced to show their worth to an entirely new group of coaches led by Joseph, McCoy, and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.
Last season, Siemian threw for 3,401-yards, 18-touchdowns, and 10-interceptions under center for Denver. Meanwhile, in 10 quarters of spot duty, Lynch threw for 497-yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Siemian finished with an 8-6 record as a starter. Lynch was 1-1.
Lynch was considered to be a great pickup for the Broncos at No. 26 overall in last year’s draft. However, the adjustment to the NFL proved difficult for the 23-year-old, and he found himself relegated to the bench during his rookie season.
This year, however, Lynch will be given an equal shot at winning the starting job. To do that, Joseph said the 6’7” gunslinger will need to hone some of the finer points of his game.
“Well Paxton is obviously a first round pick for a reason,” Joseph said. “He’s a big guy with a big arm. I think playing that position is about decision making. If he does those things better, he has a chance to compete to be our starting quarterback.”
Lynch, Siemian, and the rest of their Broncos teammates reported to the team’s Dove Valley headquarters for the first time since clearing out their lockers back in January. They’ll work through the next two weeks of voluntary offseason conditioning before the draft. Then, the Broncos will welcome in their rookie class for mini-camps that will eventually lead into mandatory OTA’s, mini-camp, and training camp.
“The honeymoon’s over,” Joseph said. “It’s football time. The players seemed excited this morning with a good turnout and it’s time to go to work.”