Jussel: Siemian’s surge

Expect Broncos' starting QB to get better under tutelage of McCoy and Musgrave

Vance Joseph and his staff made the decision they had to make Monday when they selected Trevor Siemian the starting quarterback. Year 2 of the Siemian Era is officially under way.

Paxton Lynch, a first-round draft choice in 2016, couldn’t overcome Siemian’s one season on the field. Maybe in another year or two, maybe never.

Think about this: Siemian, with Mike McCoy at the controls as offensive coordinator, may be what Philip Rivers is to the San Diego (whoops, Los Angeles) Chargers. McCoy, after all, guided Rivers during his four-year tenure as Charger head coach.

All Rivers did each season under McCoy was throw for roughly 4,500 yards and 30 TDs.

Siemian doing a Rivers imitation wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Think about this: Siemian, with Grand Junction’s own Bill Musgrave as his quarterback coach, may be what Derek Carr is to the still-Oakland Raiders. Musgrave helped the young Carr make dramatic improvements as the offensive coordinator of the Raiders the past two seasons.

Carr threw for nearly 4,000 yards in each of his two seasons under Musgrave and tossed 32 and 28 TDs. Had he not missed the final game of the season and one playoff game, Carr might have been the NFL MVP.

Siemian as Carr wouldn’t be a bad thing.

A healthy Siemian will put up more-than respectable numbers as QB of the Broncos. He has the coaching that will help him grow, he has the mindset needed and, get this, he has the necessary arm.

His arm strength has not been discussed much, and if it has been talked about, he has mostly been dissed.

That’s not right.

One former Denver Post columnist said two years ago Siemian, in his first training camp appearance in Denver, was a darkhorse candidate to make the team because he “could throw the ball through the eye of a hurricane.” The columnist at that time even suggested that Siemian was maybe the best QB on a roster that included the aging Peyton Manning.

Denver head coach Vance Joseph echoed that Monday, saying Siemian has a very strong arm.

In his one year of experience, Siemian has shown the ability to get the ball down the field when needed. He just hasn’t always been Manning accurate.

With McCoy and Musgrave on hand to help him out, he will have plenty of opportunity to prove he can deal with hurricanes and NFL safeties.

The biggest “aha moment” I had in Saturday’s performance by Siemian in an easy win over the San Francisco 49ers was in watching Siemian almost always in the shotgun and almost always tossing it downfield. Denver coaches wanted to see that and obviously got what they needed.

Highlight this and put it on your fridge: Jussel says right here that Siemian will throw for more than 4,000 yards, more than 25 TDs and throw fewer than 15 interceptions this season. I’m not even worried about the injury disclaimer because he will be upright far more than he was last season.

With Siemian as the starting QB, Denver will factor in the playoff hunt.

If Lynch had been the QB — or becomes the QB by injury or promotion — the Broncos would be treading water in depths of .500 or below.

Now, it’s time to move on for GM John Elway, Joseph and his staff.

There is still work to be done:

■ Elway must check waiver wires and put his cellphone in high gear for possible upgrades on the defensive side, especially the front seven where injuries have already taken a toll.

■ Joseph and his staff must finalize the makeup of a new and improved offensive line.

■ Decisions will have to be made on the running back and wide receiver depth charts.

But no one in Broncoland will have to fret any longer about the quarterback decision. Now it’s just a matter of watching him get better.


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