Jussel: Siemian will beat out Lynch to be Broncos’ QB

The Silly Season continues tonight for the Denver Broncos.

Three more games before the passes, punts, penalties and pickoffs are for real.

For Vance Joseph and his staff, not much more can be done until a decision is made on a starting quarterback.

If Trevor Siemian is deemed starter, the offense will become relatively conservative: QB most often behind center, lots of handoffs, a short passing game with only the occasional shot downfield.

If Paxton Lynch becomes the starter, a shotgun-based passing game will be put into effect, draw plays to the max, sorties downfield early and often.

Joseph hasn’t said so, but a starter must be selected by Monday.

The Broncos will return home from San Francisco, lick their collective wounds, study film, chat it up, then go through a busy week preparing for Preseason Game 3 at home against the Packers on Aug. 26. Most of the starters will work into the second half of that game.

Denver’s final preseason game will be only five days later at home against the Cardinals. Regular-season starters might make a token appearance, but this one will be the last chance to shine for those seeking permanent employment and a good view from the bench.

Joseph, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterback coach Bill Musgrave can’t go to that fourth preseason game not knowing who their QB is. They can’t go into their third preseason game, the last bonding session for starters, not knowing.

Barring a monster showing tonight against the 49ers — say 150 yards passing, two TD passes and no interceptions in playing most of the first half — Lynch’s career is going to have to follow the path of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Rodgers, like Lynch drafted late in the first round, sat for three seasons as a backup to Brett Favre before bursting onto the scene with a 4,000-yard, 28 TD performance in 2008.

So far, Lynch has done nothing to show he can be the Broncos’ starting QB at this juncture. In splitting time with Siemian since OTAs in the spring, Lynch has, at best, stayed in the hunt. But leap ahead of Siemian? No way.

He must make a huge statement tonight to vault over last season’s starter.

Could happen.

Most likely not.

Siemian will be Denver’s starting quarterback and that will be announced on Monday.

Then what?

Siemian will go about the business of improving on last season’s first-year effort and Lynch will spend another season listening and learning. Last week’s darling, undrafted free agent Kyle Sloter, will do the practice squad bit. Draftee Chad Kelly will also factor in, but will likely be placed on injured reserve and spend lots of time getting to know Lynch and Sloter. What we saw last week as Sloter rallied the Broncos over the Bears was a mess: uncertainty at QB, conservative play calls that made for good video to evaluate, and play after play made by players we’ve never heard of.

It was ugly, but we did learn a few things:

Isaiah McKenzie will make a difference in the return game and in the slot.

Cody Latimer has finally arrived and will be Denver’s third receiver (seven receptions).

De’Angelo Henderson is going to be on this team at a running back spot (seven carries, 54 yards and a TD; two runs of 11 and 13 yards called back by penalty). Did you see a little Barry Sanders in him?

Chris Harris is a pretty good corner (pick-six on the third play of the game).

Denver’s starting defense will still be among the best (if, of course, players can get or stay healthy).

This is where we’re at: Game 2 of preseason, a quarterback decision looming, depth being built because of too much injury misfortune, a new coaching staff trying to implement change.

In just more than three weeks, the Broncos must go from a roster of 90 to 53, must have the players and plays in fine fettle and, oh yes, be ready for the Los Angeles Chargers in a 9/11 Monday night game.

So much to do, so little time.


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