Just when the Great Quarterback Competition is all but figured out, another element of intrigue is added to keep the mystery going.
The latest unusual development: Paxton Lynch is getting considerably more first-team reps this week than he ever had through training camp and the offseason.
In the joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers here Wednesday on fields situated just outside Levi’s Stadium, there were five “team” periods of 11-on-11 football. Lynch got three, or 60 percent, of the periods with the first stringers. Trevor Siemian got the other two.
It was also pretty much that way during the Broncos’ practices Monday and Tuesday at UC Health Training Center.
“That was the plan coming into today,’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. “He’s obviously starting the game on Saturday. It was his turn to be with the ones today.”
Perhaps more significantly, Lynch got the first two team periods with the 1s, and three of the first four.
What made this a tad strange is, one, Siemian has seemingly been leading the quarterback competition since the end of last season. And two, the Broncos are expected to name their starting quarterback early next week.
That way the No. 1 QB can get a full and final week of work with the first string for the third and final preseason game in which the starters play.
Is Lynch getting so many first-team reps this week because it’s a final chance to stay sharp with the starters before he gives way? Or is it because the Broncos are going with Lynch on September 11 against the Los Angeles Chargers?
“I’m not adding any extra pressure to it,’’ Lynch said. “For me, it’s just another week. Getting better and focusing on yourself and making yourself a better player day-in and day-out and making those guys around you play better.”
Through the first two periods against the 49ers defense Wednesday, Lynch was the better of the two quarterbacks. He threw well, while Siemian struggled.
But as the practice went along, Lynch became erratic in his accuracy while Siemian came on and finished well.
John Lynch noticed. He was the Broncos’ preseason color commentator for 9News/Channel 20 last year when Siemian and Lynch competed with veteran Mark Sanchez.
Lynch was on the practice fields Wednesday as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers and offered an honest assessment of the Broncos’ quarterback battle.
“I think Paxton has those, ‘wow’ throws but then it’s just the consistency,’’ Lynch said. “And Trevor is extremely consistent. I think the only way is just to let that play out and see who kind of rises to the top and that’s what they’re doing. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.’’
Some would say Siemian has already risen. It’s just not Joseph or Broncos general manager John Elway who has said that, at least not yet.
And the truth is, Siemian did not play well with the second stringers Wednesday. As Siemian often does, though, he shook it off and started throwing the ball well later in practice.
“That’s probably the mindset you need to have good or bad,’’ Siemian said. “The last play is over with regardless of what happens. There have been times where I’ve started out with 10 completions in a row, then I threw a pick on the 11th. There’s no real transitive property as far as that goes. It’s just good or bad, move on to the next play.”
Ah, yes, the good ol’ transitive property mindset. Know this about The Great Quarterback Competition: Siemian is the only candidate who graduated from Northwestern.