The Denver Broncos are the defending Super Bowl champions, but they enter the 2016 season without something that a lot of other contending teams have: a quarterback.
Yes, Denver has Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, but at this point, that’s about all we know.
“We don’t know much,” Broncos sideline reporter and Denver Sports 760 host Andy Lindahl said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Mark Sanchez is going to be named the starter for the game in Chicago that’ll be played Thursday, but I would also not be surprised – and I think most of us here in Denver expect – that Trevor Siemian will get his chance to start when they play their second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams a week from Saturday. So right now, Siemian and Sanchez have been very even in camp. They both have had good, they both have had bad. What we’re all excited to find out in Denver is is it because the defense is so good? Because the defense is not cutting this offense a break at all. They don’t ever want them to feel good. They’re constantly playing man coverage in practice. Never any zone. The pass rush has been relentless. So we’re going to find out if there’s really bigger things to worry about with the offense or if it just means that the defense is already back to form. But neither Sanchez nor Siemian has grabbed the job, and Paxton Lynch is going to be out of the conversation for at least a year.”
Sanchez, 29, has had varying degrees of success in the NFL and is probably the frontrunner as of now. But with 86 career passing touchdowns to 84 career interceptions, he hardly has a hammerlock on the position. Siemian, meanwhile, has never attempted a pass in the NFL. Neither, of course, has Lynch, who was taken with the 26th overall pick in the year’s draft.
It’s still early, but no one has really stood out yet.
“We’ve watched every practice so far, but you know how it goes: They’re not showing us really any of their game-day stuff right now,” Lindahl said. “We’ve seen Mark Sanchez, the first five days of training camp, come out and show that he’s a veteran, kind of take charge of some things. But he continues to throw interceptions, and a lot of them seem to be pick-sixes, and that’s not sitting well with Gary Kubiak. That’s really what I think more than anything is holding back the decision to make him the starter against Carolina right now.”
Indeed, the Broncos open the season at home against Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 8. The Panthers would love nothing more than to spoil Denver’s Super Bowl celebration.
“I don’t know that you want to thrust a young guy (like Siemian) into that situation against a defense coached by Ron Rivera and the staff over there that you know can be very good on what is going to be a very big stage,” Lindahl said. “Trevor has been a little inconsistent as well. He has days where he throws the ball really well. There’s other times where they go 11-on-11 and he just seems to not get the reads quick enough or make the quick decision. And what Gary Kubiak has not seen from any of the quarterbacks that he wants to see is guys that are going to take charge of the team, guys that are going to demand a certain level of performance. Last Wednesday, they came off an off day, and it was so bad. Gary Kubiak is not a coach that yells and screams. He handles things behind closed doors. He was so loud and so upset with his team we could all hear it from the sideline and that tone continued throughout the rest of practice, and he wasn’t too much happier the following day. Peyton Manning’s shadow is already starting to be cast when it comes to demanding a level of performance that, frankly, these quarterbacks have yet to demand.”