Denver. Thinner air at the Mile High Stadium and home of the bucking Bronco’s. History may have it that Denver has been home to some legendary QB’s like Elway and Manning, but recently it is home to some fierce QB competition. Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. As the two shoot it out for the starting position and the next Denver legacy, what did 2016, teach us about these two QBs?
Trevor Siemian was given the reigns to a playoff contending team with only one game played in the 2015 season. Out of 15 games he played in 2016, he was responsible for nine wins and even began the season with four straight wins. This gave him a 60% winning ratio which is better than failing, but he isn’t passing with flying colors either. Not an exceptionally mobile QB however, in games against KC and Carolina, he logged 20 yards or more rushing. If 2016, wasn’t the year that we all learned how much poise in the pocket actually accounted for QB ability, this year will be no different. Stability, balance, and patience all play a major role in the ability to see poise in a pocket passer. One thing that Siemian will have over Lynch is his tenure, while that isn’t enough to win him the starting position, his increased patience in the pocket allows for receivers to open down the field and even for the TE to be included in the offense (not a typical Bronco’s thing).
With losing major players in the o-line and defense, the Broncos just didn’t have that same zip and pizzazz as they are known for. Many players from Anderson, Miller, and Sanders all made reference to it and they all were ready to address it in the offseason. With the addition in the first round with Garett Bolles, the pocket will be more closely protected, which will give Siemian more confidence in the pocket to make that Denver magic happen. However, the one skill Siemian is for sure one-up on over Lynch is the leadership role. He is a quiet leader, but a leader nonetheless, more importantly, he isn’t afraid to put in the extra work. He has had his year to mature and it is showing, its now time for Paxton Lynch to ante up.
While Lynch may only have three total games, of which two he was the starter while Siemian was hurt, he still boasts a 67% winning percentage. His command of the offense was slightly shaky last season, however, his total number of pro games may have been a reason for that. Simple rookie mechanics mistakes took a toll on Lynch’s performance against the Jaguars in 2016, mainly dealing with his footwork and being unbalanced when making the deep ball throws. Twice to veterans WR Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders the ball was nearly picked off. Though he makes the right read in going for the TD with weak coverage, his mechanics caused the throw to be short armed by not setting his feet solidly to make a well-timed and placed ball. Essentially, short-arming the ball causes the WR to slow down in route making his separation from the defender null and void.
This offseason, Head Coach Vance Joseph, made it perfectly clear the starting QB position was up for grabs this season and momentum began swinging, however, compared the 6-foot-7-inch QB to Kordell Stewart (who happens to be Lynch’s childhood idol). Lot’s of coaches and NFL staff are fond of allowing a new QB to develop for an entire season before relying on them as a starter. Being that Lynch traded up for in the first round of the 2016, Draft, it’s fair to say the Bronco’s are expecting some fireworks to fly high. Taking shots back and forth with the first and second string offense, Lynch has proved his work ethic by moving onto the next play after being picked off by Nixon, to a perfectly graced TD pass to Cody Latimer (who last year saw 12 games with only one start). Lynch understands that it is all about seizing the opportunity when it is presented and with McCoy’s passing scheme there should be many opportunities for Lynch to shut down the quarrel with winning plays.
We all love a good controversy for the sake of competition, however, the line seems to be drawn in the sand, and though Denver says there will be no decisions made until pre-season, the truth of the matter is Siemian has an advantage that only Lynch’s footwork and short arm pass corrections can come between. A franchise needs a leader at the helm and that is Siemian … not Lynch.