With the Browns naming Robert Griffin III their starting quarterback earlier this week, the most interesting preseason quarterback battle now resides in Denver, with the world champion Broncos. Less than 24 hours ahead of their preseason opener in Chicago Thursday, here is a glance at all three candidates.
Mark Sanchez- The safe bet. Sanchez is the only proven NFL winner the Broncos have on the roster at quarterback. Say what you will, but he has an above .500 career record as a starter and a 4-2 playoff record. The one negative is his decision making. He has almost as many touchdown passes as interceptions in his seven year career and is prone to fumbling. Sanchez will get the first good crack at the gig. Head coach Gary Kubiak says Sanchez will play the entire first quarter Thursday. He is the favorite to be the starter. I do not know if you can win a Super Bowl with Sanchez, but you can certainly win games with him.
Trevor Siemian- The unknown. All we know about Trevor Siemian is that the Broncos really like him. In a little more than a year, he has gone from seventh round draft pick to viable candidate for the starting quarterback job. His only regular season play in the NFL was a single kneel down last year. From the little bit of film I have seen, he seems to have above average smarts and mobility, but lacks top flight arm strength. It would be huge gamble for the Broncos to name Siemian the starter, but the Broncos organization has never been afraid to gamble. Siemian will handle the second quarter Thursday.
Paxton Lynch- The project. Paxton Lynch will play the second half Thursday. The Broncos hope Lynch is the future. However, if the rookie first round draft pick starts at all in 2016, the Broncos season will be ugly. Despite a wealth of raw talent and arm strength, the former Memphis signal caller has never lined up under center before. Most of his throws in college were bubble screens and other one read type throws. Also, there are no words in the English language to adequately describe the jump in competition from the American Athletic Conference to the NFL. In a perfect world, Lynch will do nothing but be coached and learn in 2016, but the NFL is rarely a perfect world.
One thing in Denver is certain. Whoever the starter is in Denver, there is a certain way he needs to approach it. Rather than being terrified at the prospect of replacing Peyton Manning, the starter needs to realize that he has a fantastic supporting cast in terms of both players and coaches. The only way the quarterback can hurt this team is by trying to do too much.