Siemian, Kubiak working on red zone woes; Sanders offers remedy

ENGLEWOOD - If not for one measly aspect of a football game, people would be gushing about Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian as a two-game sensation.

That hiccup: Throwing interceptions deep in opposing territory.

Siemian’s three picks this year have come at the opponents’ 20, 25 and 30-yard lines. Two of those interceptions came on what are usually safe throws -- the horizontal pass along the line of scrimmage.

“We were joking earlier, some of my picks I request I would have got my money’s worth, maybe throwing the ball downfield or something,’’ Siemian said.

“He’s made some poor decisions I would say athletic decisions, I know that sounds kind of crazy,’’ said Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak. “But it’s just learning, Trevor that guy can make that play. It’s not college anymore you’re not going to throw that ball through that guy. So I think it’s speed of the game factors that he’s beginning to understand and make him better each week.’’

Overall, Siemian has played well. He’s been accurate, completing 67.8 percent of his passes. He’s moved the team between the 30s at will. The Broncos are 2-0 and Siemian has been a big reason why.

But he has just one touchdown pass – and that was a screen toss-and-run by running back C.J. Anderson.

“The past two games it’s been good and it’s been bad,’’ Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders said of Siemian. “But that’s what you expect out of a young quarterback. He’s made his mistakes in the red zone but it’s not just him. I’ve made my mistakes, offensive line has made their mistakes. Last week we had opportunities to score a touchdown but a couple guys made mistakes. It’s going to happen. It’s early in the season, everybody is making mistakes.’’

Siemian may have to start throwing more touchdowns to keep his highly paid receivers Demaryius Thomas and Sanders, happy. Thomas and Sanders each signed contract extensions worth a combined $103 million knowing Kubiak’s offense wasn’t going to chuck it around like the Broncos did with Peyton Manning in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Still, they’d like a little more balls thrown their way. They’ve expressed frustration lately about their lack of production, although Thomas backed off Wednesday, saying his disappointment is with the team’s performance.

Sanders was a bit more candid.

“There’s some frustration but at the end of the day it’s hard to be frustrated when you’re sitting here 2-0,’’ Sanders said. “At the end of day I could sit up here and make it all about me and Demaryius we’re used to having 100-yard games, we’re used to scoring touchdowns, we’re used to doing this but we’re sitting here 2-0. We’ve got the No. 1-ranked defense. Offensively, we’re getting better. We’re better than what we were last year. And I’m happy. It’s all about getting to the playoffs and winning championships and right now we’re on that path. Obviously team goals come before individual goals. Individually, yeah, I would like to be having my highlights run on ESPN. And yeah I would like to have a 100-yard game and be ranked in the top 5. But we’re sitting here 2-0.’’

For his part, Siemian took the high road when asked about his receivers’ complaints.

“That’s understandable, right?’’ he said. “Receivers, they want the ball, they want to make plays, especially our guys, and they’re two of the best in the business. We want to give those guys opportunities to make plays so I think it’s understandable. Everybody is working really hard to get wins, which we’re doing and get better. That’s the exciting part, too, there’s room for improvement, and we’re still winning. Understandable, though.”

Sanders offered a solution to the team’s red-zone woes.

“I feel like if it doesn’t keep working maybe we should change it up,’’ Sanders said. “Maybe pass more, or call different pass plays. But at the end of the day that’s going to come with time. We face Cincinnati. Hopefully we can go down there and erase that whole red-zone stigma that we have right now that we can’t score in the red zone and we can go down there and put up a lot of points.’’

But here’s something else to consider: We football insiders overanalyze red zone efficiency. The Broncos were 28th in red zone by finishing with touchdowns just 46.2 percent of the time last year. They won the Super Bowl.

They rank 27th in red zone with a 33.3 percent efficiency this year. But Indianapolis and Buffalo are tied for first and they’re both 0-2. 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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