KUSA - DENVER - 9NEWS Broncos Insider Mike Klis answers questions pulled from the Broncos Mailbag.
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The quarterback debate has (prematurely) begun. I've heard a wide variety of comments that seem perplexing to me from (Mark) Kiszla's headline, "Paxton Lynch Era Begins with Win" (hadn't the Siemian-led offense scored enough to win?) to "Siemian is nice but he has a ceiling" or "Siemian will have to make way for the first-round pick, eventually."
It feels like people are so quick to move on to the next big thing even though the current "thing" is winning games. What "ceiling" are so many professional observers referring to? All I've heard before is that Siemian is poised, smart, has a very strong arm, and can move enough to get out of trouble but not enough to risk Cam Newton-style hits. What is wrong with that package?
Also, we so often hear that the NFL is a meritocracy - the best players play. So, once everyone gets in the door, why should it matter where a player was drafted? Isn't the point to put the best team together and win games? So much is made of (John) Elway's ability to find late-round or undrafted free agent steals that it is surprising that the attitude toward a late-round quarterback seems much different.
While I know Siemian isn't on the same level as (Tom) Brady at this point, the comparison between the two is often used. So at what point did Brady become Brady and cease to be "sixth-round draft pick Brady"? Perhaps we could put a similar clock on Siemian.
Chris Fields, Fort Collins
Chris—This is more essay than mailbag question. But it was also well thought out and presented.
Brady ceased to be “sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady’’ when he engineered a game-winning field goal drive in the final 1:30 of Super Bowl XXXVI.
Brady didn’t play as a rookie. He started playing in his second season, which was capped with first, “The Tuck Rule” break, and then the stunning Super Bowl upset of Kurt Warner’s high-powered St. Louis Rams.
The Denver Post headline was factual. The Broncos did win in Lynch’s first game. Wondering if Lynch is ready to assume the job full-time is fair. The Broncos didn’t trade up in the first round to take him with the idea of having him sit the bench.
I assumed Siemian would be knocked out a week. And with the Atlanta game followed quickly by a division game at San Diego next Thursday, it made some sense for Siemian to miss two games and have the Broncos get a nice, long look at their first-round quarterback.
But it appears Siemian is going to be fine. If it was his right, throwing shoulder that got slammed he definitely would have missed the next game or two.
But it was his left and the plan is for Siemian to start Sunday against Atlanta. We’ll probably know for certain on Friday.
We all love to get out ahead of the story in the sports media business, Chris. If Siemian starts Sunday, perhaps we got a little too far ahead. But Lynch’s impressive debut is no longer in the future. It’s now in the past. Siemian is good. To me he looks real good. But I don’t it’s unfair to Siemian to think about Lynch.
Will Kubiak have a quarterback controversy next year? What do you think? Maybe trade one to the Houston Texans?
Alex—This is the Broncos. Of course there’s going to be a quarterback controversy next year. It’s how Gary Kubiak rolls.
No wonder the sports media gets out ahead of a story by eight miles. It’s inquisitive Broncos fans like you, Chris, that want answers before we all know exactly how to phrase the question.
Siemian has two more years left on his contract after this season and Lynch essentially has four more years. Given the quarterback market, both are at team-favorable prices so I don’t see trading one away next year. Maybe in 2018.
But let’s have some fun and present three scenarios. One, Siemian is the Broncos’ quarterback the rest of the season. The Broncos win the Super Bowl.
In this scenario, Siemian has to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback to start next year. Sorry, Paxton. Lynch backs up. Neither gets traded.
Two, Siemian plays well for another six weeks, but it’s decided Lynch should finish the regular season and play through the playoffs.
If Lynch is shaky down the stretch, the Broncos don’t trade either. They keep Siemian and Lynch, as they are both inexpensive. If Lynch plays well, perhaps the Broncos entertain trading Siemian in exchange for a first- and third-round draft pick in 2017 and second-round pick in 2018. Anything less, they keep him.
And three, there is no scenario in which the Broncos trade Lynch.
What happened to the run game? Will Atlanta stack the box and make whoever the QB is beat them by throwing it like the Bengals did?
Kirk Smith, Lufkin Texas
Kirk—The Broncos ran the ball effectively in their season opener against Carolina, rushing for 148 yards on 5.1 yards per carry.
Early in the second game against Indianapolis, right tackle Donald Stephenson went down with a calf injury and the Broncos haven’t run the ball since.
In the past three games combined, the Broncos have rushed for 275 yards – 91.7 yards per game – at 3.2 yards per carry.
I don’t think the falloff at the same time Stephenson went down is a coincidence. Later in that same game against Indy, starting tight end Virgil Green also left with a left calf strain.
Stephenson and Green play significant roles in the run game. When they return, the Broncos will start running the ball better.
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