Sloter shines, but remains No. 3 QB

CHICAGO—Gee, coach. What a buzzkill.

Couldn’t Vance Joseph play along with the naïve reporter for at least an hour or two?

Not taking strength of opponent into account, the best of many quarterbacks who played Thursday in the Broncos’ 24-17 win against the Chicago Bears was Kyle Sloter.

Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubinsky was a close second. Sloter and Trubinsky are rookies. Sloter is an undrafted camp arm, a converted backup receiver and one-year starting quarterback for the Northern Colorado Bears who is only getting the occasional practice rep because Broncos seventh-round rookie Chad Kelly is hurt.

Trubinsky was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft who is projected as John Fox’s franchise quarterback.

Trubinsky brought the Bears from 10-0 down to 17-10 up. Good stuff. Sloter then came in with 9:46 left in the game and led the Broncos to two touchdowns in two tries.

The first was a 47-yard touchdown heave to his training camp roommate Isaiah McKenzie.

“Everybody on the team talks about him,’’ said McKenzie, a fifth-round rookie with blazing speed. “He’s a hidden talent, our secret weapon. I love Sloter and everybody else loves Sloter. He’s a great kid.’’

That made it, 17-17.

“We had a deep-in where we were trying to convert a third-and-long,’’ Sloter said. “I just saw the safety didn’t carry him though the middle. We had never thrown that ball in practice. We had always thrown the under route, the 18-yard in, but I saw it was a little congested there and something seemed a little bit off so when I saw the safety didn’t carry and my guy was scot-free down the field, I just stepped up in the pocket and got a touchdown.

“That’s what you dream about as a kid, being able to throw touchdowns in the NFL. It’s a little surreal.’’

On his next drive, Sloter was facing first and 20 from his own 47 when he hit Kalif Raymond down the left sideline for a 24-yard gain and a first down.

At the 2-minute warning, Sloter had just been sacked, knocking the Broncos out of field goal range. It set up third-and-22 at the 41. An inside zone handoff to rookie De’Angelo Henderson was the perfect call. Henderson burst up the gut for a touchdown.

Broncos win 24-17, although only after Trubinsky ran out of time at the Broncos’ 22.

With the Broncos’ first two quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, producing just 3 points in three quarters, does Sloter have a chance to join the Great Quarterback Competition?

“As a starter for us?’’ said Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, seemingly incredulous that anyone would actually ask (cough! cough!) such a question. “No. We’ve got Trevor and we’ve got Paxton. They’re both playing good football.’’

Yes, coach, but Sloter completed 5 of 6 for 94 yards with a touchdown to register the highest possible quarterback rating of 158.3. All he does is complete passes in practice, too, even if it is against the third team.

“He makes plays every day,’’ said Broncos’ first-team cornerback Chris Harris Jr., whose pick six on the third play of the game against Bears’ quarterback Mike Glennon gave Denver a quick, 7-0 lead. “But I’d love for him to come up us against a couple days.’’

Can Sloter at least mix in some second-team reps?

“No,’’ Joseph said. “It’s Trevor or Paxton with our first and second team.’’

Fine, coach, fine. But it will take more than direct honesty to spoil Sloter’s night.

“Crazy,’’ Sloter said. “That’s a once in a lifetime experience. Like my coach was telling me out there, we’re hoping that’s just a stepping stone and we’ll continue to get better. Just get ready for San Francisco next week.’’

What about coach Joseph saying the starting job remains between Siemian and Lynch?

“Yep, that’s not my job to make those decisions,’’ Sloter said. “All I can do is do my best. That’s the approach that I take. Whether I’m the No. 3, or starter, or clipboard holder, I’m going out there with a starter’s mentality. I’m going to play my best and not worry about those decisions.’’

 

 

 

Chris: “I think I love the format we have. We have more zone. I get to read more. I get to read the quarterback more.’’

“Scrimmage living my man, jumping same route.’’

“He makes plays every day. But I’d love for him to come up against a couple days.’’

“Crazy. That’s a once in a lifetime experience. Like my coach was telling me out there, we’re hoping that’s us a stepping stone and we’ll continue to get better. Just get ready for San Francisco next week.’’

Paxton and Siemian: “Yep. That’s not my job to make those decisions. All I can do is do my best. That’s the approach that I take. Whether I’m the 3 or starter or clipboard holder I’m going out there with starter’s mentality. I’m going to play my best and not worry about those decisions.’’

“We had a deep in coming where we were trying to convert a second and long. I just saw the safety didn’t carry him though the middle. We had never thrown that ball in practice. We had always thrown the under route, the 18-yard in, but I saw it was a little congested there and something seemed a little bit off so when I saw the sate didn’t carry and my guy was scot free down the field and I just stepped up in the pocket and got a touchdown.’’

“That’s what you dream about as a kid being able to throw touchdowns in the NFL. It’s a little surreal.’’

 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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