Vance Joseph stopped short of formally announcing he’s about to make a switch at quarterback.
But the Denver Broncos coach delivered hint after hint that Trevor Siemian is about to get pulled and Brock Osweiler is about to get his start of the season this Sunday against the 7-1 Eagles in Philadelphia.
In fact, Joseph probably would have been made the announcement at his day-after-game press conference except the players are off on Tuesdays. Joseph wants to talk to Siemian and Osweiler first, then his players before making the announcement.
“When you’re football team is putting in max effort and the defense is playing good football, it’s unfair to your team if you’re not discussing that position,’’ Joseph said.
Joseph also clarified Paxton Lynch won’t be under consideration because the second-year quarterback is just now coming back from a two-month shoulder injury.
Ideally, Lynch plays only if the Broncos suffer their seventh loss, which is when teams with losing records are unofficially eliminated.
If there’s nothing to lose, Lynch must play. He’s not just a prospect, he’s a first-round talent. The Broncos must get a full evaluation of Lynch as they go into their offseason planning.
But to put him in against Philadelphia and New England in back-to-back weeks with virtually no practice following a two-month injury to his right, throwing shoulder? That could do more harm to his long-term development than good.
Another hint on the change to Osweiler was the unusually harsh descriptions Joseph used of Siemian’s play.
“When you watch Trevor, even last night, he made three horrible interceptions,’’ Joseph said. “I mean, horrific decisions with those three he threw last night.’’
The Broncos’ first-year head coach does present it straight, sometimes.
“He had 20 other plays that we’re really, really good,’’ Joseph said of Siemian. “When you watch your starting quarterback make 20 or 25 amazing throws, amazing checks and three horrific interceptions, that’s when it becomes an issue.
“In your heart, you know he can play better because those three balls he threw, you just can’t throw. The 20-plus plays he made in the third and fourth quarter, it keeps you excited about the guy. That’s the issue.
“Again, it’s about results and we haven’t had them. We’ve lost three games in a row, and again, yesterday with (five) turnovers. At the end of the day it’s about results. It’s not about how he’s played, it’s the result that we’re not getting and it’s not good.”
Osweiler makes sense. He’s had success. He’s also been beat up as an NFL quarterback. You must be steeled to play in Philly, the only place on earth that once booed Santa Claus.
Coming in to make your first start of the season against the 7-1 Eagles may be difficult, but Osweiler has handled more difficult environments and greater pressure.
He replaced the injured Peyton Manning in 2015 and went 5-2 for the Broncos. And for all the struggles Osweiler had last year as a hired gun for the Houston Texans, he posted an 8-6 record in the regular season, then played well in defeating the Oakland Raiders in a first-round playoff game.
“If a switch is made, it will be considered what’s best for the football team,’’ Joseph said.
It would be a shock if a switch from Siemian to Osweiler is not made by Wednesday morning.