ENGLEWOOD - Now that Derrick Johnson brought it up, Trevor Siemian does seem a tad short in stature by NFL quarterback standards.
“He’s not very tall in the pocket, but somehow he still is making all the throws that he needs to make,’’ Johnson, who is in his 12th season as a Kansas City Chiefs’ inside linebacker, said during a conference call with the Denver media Wednesday. “So hats off to that. You’d think a shorter guy like (him) – he’s not crazy short, but I think he should have some problems seeing back there, and he’s pretty comfortable back there. Hopefully we can make him uncomfortable. That’s our plan.”
Siemian, the Broncos’ second-year quarterback and first-year starter, is listed at 6-foot-3, although that may be rounded up a fraction. He may have seemed shorter as Siemian stood next to 6-foot-5 Peyton Manning, 6-foot-7 Brock Osweiler and 6-foot-7 Paxton Lynch in the Broncos’ quarterbacks room the past two years.
More importantly, Siemian has guided the Broncos to a 7-2 record in his nine starts while throwing 12 touchdowns against seven touchdowns.
“A young quarterback just trying to find his way,’’ said the ever candid Johnson when asked about Siemian. “Hasn’t had that much consistency.’’
Siemian has been better through week 11 this year than Manning was at a similar point last year. Manning had 9 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions – including a 4-pick nightmare against the Chiefs in a mid-November loss before regrouping at season’s end to help lead the Broncos to their Super Bowl 50 title.
For the first time since he retired from his 18-year NFL career in March, Manning attended the Broncos’ practice Wednesday. He brought along his twin children. Knowing Manning, he may have wanted to make sure the team was secure with its quarterback before making an appearance.
And for all the chatter about whether Siemian is good enough, he is the guy who will lead the Broncos against the Chiefs in a potentially significant AFC West game Sunday night at soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“It was good to see him,’’ Siemian said of Manning. “Me and Austin (Davis) were running and we told him, ‘I know you’ve got some shorts on under there. Come join us.’ But he wasn’t having it. Good to see him. Good to see him out here for sure.”
With Manning no longer with the Broncos, Kansas City may sense now is the time to wrest the AFC West away from the five-time-defending division champs.
“We tried to start that last year with Peyton Manning,’’ said Johnson, who turned 34 on Tuesday. “We went down there and had a good showing against them. I think we tried to put that to rest. Don’t get me wrong, with Peyton Manning not there, that does help.
“But every year is a new year. The strength of their team is the defense – everybody knows that. For them to do good as a whole and win games, their recipe has been not turning the ball over, play pretty good on offense, play really good on defense, and they usually win. So what we’re going to have to do is play better than their defense. Period.”
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