It had to be asked.
And as long as the backup quarterback is a first-round draft pick, the question will continue to be asked.
Are the Denver Broncos, struggling with three losses in their last five games, thinking about making a switch at quarterback from second-year incumbent Trevor Siemian to the kid Paxton Lynch?
“No, I feel real good about what Trevor is doing,’’ Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Monday, the day after his team got whupped by the Oakland Raiders, 30-20. “But Trevor is like any other player, he’s got to get better.’’
Siemian has mostly played well this season and considering where he was at the end of last season – a seventh-round afterthought hanging out in the film room with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler – he has already exceeded expectations.
But Siemian has the blend-in type of demeanor that is not typical of quarterbacks. In victory he is poised and unflappable. In defeat, does he have the necessary fire?
What he could use is a shakeup in the game-opening play calling. In seven of the Broncos’ first nine games, they started with pass attempts on at least their first three plays.
The past two games they started the game with five passes against San Diego and four passes Monday night against Oakland. And they wonder why they can’t run the ball.
“Yeah, it’s gotten out of whack,’’ Kubiak said. “That’s two weeks in a row but those things get evened out and consistent when you stay on the football field and that’s been our problem right now.’’
After the Broncos play at New Orleans this Sunday they will go on their bye week. It doesn’t make sense to entertain the thought of Lynch playing this week, but should the Broncos lose to the Saints, there may be discussion about giving the rookie some more playing experience.
Lynch filled in for the injured Siemian in game four against Tampa Bay and played well, and started his first NFL game in week 5 against Atlanta and had a tough go.
Siemian is the NFL’s 24th-ranked passer with an 86.2 rating. He is 3-0 against the quarterbacks ranked behind him – Jameis Winston, Cam Newton and Brock Osweiler – and 3-2 against those ranked ahead of him – beating Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers and losing to Derek Carr and Rivers.
Siemian has played well enough to keep his starter. To truly grow as an NFL quarterback, he must endure the tough times.
It’s just more complicated when the long-term plan belongs to the first-round backup.