Nothing like quarterback uncertainty and a coaching change to fill up the mailbag. Here are my responses to 9 questions from well-educated Bronco followers:
Hey old friend! So great to see you on 9News! See what you have to offer on this:
The line was terrible, RBs were hurt and Siemian was good not great. His arm strength at times seems not there. I know he had shoulder surgery but how much did that affect his strength? I personally think he doesn’t have what it takes to put a team on his back and carry them. But what’s your take? John Elway won with a mediocre QB statistically in 2015 but Peyton was a very smart and wise QB who could read anything.
What would you do? Take a flier if cheap on Tony Romo if it’s pragmatic? Go after another QB that has what it takes? Big Ben?
--Bradley Abeyta, Englewood
Bradley: Big Ben! Roethlisberger isn’t going anywhere. He still has three more years left on his contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a team-friendly $12 million salary in 2017. I doubt he follows through with retirement as he hinted after losing to New England in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday.
Tony Romo is not pragmatic. Not when you have a first-round quarterback in Paxton Lynch who needs to get on the field in 2017. Not when Romo is about to turn 37 and has started only four games in the past two seasons because of injuries. Not when Trevor Siemian just had a fine NFL playing debut in 2016.
I will say Romo’s strong support of the GOP while Elway was watching the other day doesn’t hurt his chances of landing in Denver. Isn’t there a political tinge to every football decision? I’m half-kidding.
I do think Siemian’s left shoulder injury hurt him at times. On certain throws, not all. He suffered the injury in the first half of game four. He had surgery to repair it following game 16. That’s a significant hindrance.
I do think the Broncos can win with Siemian and better protection. If, as you say Bradley, he can’t win the final two games in an NFL schedule, then the Broncos need to find out if Lynch can.
As a Northwestern alum and lifelong Broncos fan, I have a special affinity for our #13. However, I have to believe the team wants to get last year's first-round pick on the field ASAP even as my man played at a Pro-Bowl level (he was invited, right?). Meanwhile, a team in Chicago really needs a QB to replace the dismal chap they got from, let's see, now where did they find that guy?
Any chance Elway orchestrates another QB trade with the Bears (or someone else) to get what I have to believe would be darn good value for #13, who may be (though I hate to say it) at the peak of his career trade value?
--Clark McCain, Chicago
Clark: A straight up trade that sends Trevor Siemian to Chicago for Jay Cutler would be lopsided in the Bears’ favor.
Siemian knows Chicago as a Northwestern grad and Cutler knows Denver as a former rising star who didn’t have the maturity to deal with a young tyrant that was McDaniels.
No way on Jay. And forget dealing Siemian. Here’s why:
In Matt Ryan’s second season, he was 9-5 while missing two games, throwing for 2,916 yards and 22 touchdowns against 14 interceptions for an 80.9 passer rating.
In Siemian’s second season, he was 8-6 while missing two games, throwing for 3,401 yards and 18 touchdowns against 10 interceptions and an 84.6 rating.
Where would the Atlanta Falcons be today if they gave up on Ryan after his second season? Or again, after Ryan and the Falcons went 4-12 in 2013, 6-10 in 2014 and 8-8 last year in 2015?
Sometimes, you just have to hang in there, especially with young quarterbacks. My advice for the Broncos regarding their quarterback situation is to do nothing. I don’t like the idea of trading Siemian because no one knows if Lynch will be ready. We already know Siemian is capable. And, yes, Clark, Go Cats!
I want to hear Paxton Lynch hiring a QB guru to help him any word on that I just read Carson Wentz from Eagles doing that this offseason
That’s what you want to hear from the young man.
Carl: As I type, Lynch is expected to be in the Orlando area training with quarterback guru Charlie Taaffe. A long-time college and Canadian Football League coach, Taaffe retired in 2014 after a nice run as offensive coordinator for Central Florida. Since then, he’s been involved in training and developing quarterbacks on a more personal level. Lynch worked with Taaffe prior to the NFL Scouting Combine last year.
So there you go.
What is the forecast or hope the Broncos have for Connor McGovern, Dillon Day, and Kyle Peko?
Dan: The hope is McGovern, a fifth-round draft pick out of Missouri last year, makes a quantum leap to game day backup interior lineman in year two after not dressing in any of the Broncos’ 16 games in 2016.
Day spent his first two professional seasons on the Broncos’ practice squad. That’s enough. He needs to make the 53-man roster this year even if technically, the new rules would allow him to return to the practice squad for a third year.
Both have new bosses to impress in offensive line coaches Jeff Davidson and John Benton.
Peko spent most of his rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad before he was promoted to play in game 16 against the Raiders. He played well, too, making two tackles. With defensive tackle Sylvester Williams expected to hit the free-agent market, the Broncos need Peko to make a nice jump in year two.
As I listen to the debate on what the Broncos should do at quarterback, something I’ve heard since last summer is many reporters and commentators bring up the fact Paxton Lynch is having a difficult time picking up the playbook. I also hear that this is, in part, because he has been asked to huddle up again for the first time since 8th grade, and also because he is learning how to take a snap from under center and learn the 3-, 5-, and 7-step drop backs.
Now, correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this the NFL, and aren’t these some of the greatest athletes in the world? Are the Broncos coaches really asking too much of Lynch when they want him to learn how to drop back to three different depths? And is calling a play in the huddle really that difficult?
What can we deduce from the fact that Lynch, since being drafted last spring, hasn’t been able to tackle these simple tasks? We hear how physically gifted he is, but he can’t seem to master the drop back! Perhaps the challenge of Paxton was beyond the previous coaching staff’s abilities, or maybe they have made things just too complicated to begin with.
What are your thoughts?
--Chris Fields, Fort Collins
Chris: Let’s slow down a tad on Lynch’s weaknesses. He did show considerable improvement in dropping back from center and setting up last season. He just wasn’t as good as he will be in his second year of performing that task. He can call plays in the huddle. Siemian just has better command of the playbook and in communicating plays.
Because of the offense Lynch ran at Memphis, he needed a redshirt year. So did Jared Goff with the Los Angeles Rams after getting his college training with the Cal Bears.
Some guys redshirt. Some guys play right away as true freshman. They all come along at different times. That’s all.
We haven’t heard from John Elway or Vance Joseph since they hired Mike McCoy, Bill Musgrave and Davidson to head the offense, but my guess is they will utilize the New England offense that has its quarterback operate from the shotgun a bit more.
It’s safe to say Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was much more of a fan of Siemian than Lynch. Kubiak is gone. New coaches are in. Let’s see how they do with Lynch.
I've talked to a # of fans and there's disappointment in the hiring of Vance Joseph. His defense was not very good in Miami. Plus, we lose Wade, and that's a shame. I realize Elway and the others do this 24/7 and we're just on the outside looking in, but now that Joseph is the guy, we're disappointed. I’m willing to give the guy a chance, though.
Dennis DeJulio, Aurora
Dennis: The playoff success of Kyle Shanahan’s offense with the Atlanta Falcons and playoff failure of Joseph’s defense with the Miami Dolphins doesn’t exactly help Elway sell his choice to the Broncos’ fan base.
But even if all the evidence says Shanahan is a better offensive coordinator than Joseph is a defensive coordinator, Elway believes Joseph is the best head coach for the cast of characters in his locker room.
You are giving Joseph a chance, Dennis, and that’s all he and the Broncos can ask for. We’ll see.
What are your thoughts on "Coach Peyton Manning"? He is young, healthy, and one of the brightest football minds in the history of the NFL! Thank you for your doing such an outstanding job covering our Broncos, and all the Colorado Sports!
Tino: After spurning the chance he received from Jim Irsay to head the Indianapolis Colts, Manning doesn’t seem quite ready to commit to getting back in the game on a full-time basis.
I think Manning will take one more year to sort out his next move. He can do anything he wants with the notable exception of becoming the Broncos’ general manager. That job doesn’t need a second former superstar quarterback.
As for coaching, I have always been in the overcrowded camp that believes the best players generally don’t make very good coaches. Primarily because they don’t have the patience for mediocrity.
Coaching is about dealing with weak links. It’s about making bad players average, average players good, good players great.
I do think Peyton Manning would be an exception to this rule, though. I think he would be a great coach because he does have more patience than people realize. Demanding, sure. But he’s just too aware. Aware of everything to not be a step ahead of his opposing coaches.
Having said that I’m not sure Manning would want to coach. Primarily for family reasons. His children are young. I think he wants to be the kind of dad to them that his father Archie was to him.
But I’m just guessing on that. Even Peyton’s closest friends would be guessing on his intentions. He can be extremely private about his life. Personally, I’d like to see him do something bigger than football. He did football for half his life and he dominated. What else is there?
Let's play the head coach name game. Red Miller, Dan Reeves, Wade Phillips, Mike Shanahan, Josh McDaniels, John Fox, & Gary Kubiak, Anyway, do you have any idea how many head coaches leave their teams with 1 or 2 years left on their contracts in an NFL season? I know that Denver had to payout the rest of Josh McDaniels contract in 2010, John Fox contract in 2014, as well as now Gary Kubiak contract in 2016 as he currently has 2 years left on his contract with Denver. Mike Shanahan by the way was awarded head coach with Denver for a lifetime by then team owner Pat Bowlen for as long as he wanted to coach back in 2008, before he was let go.
Thank you again,
Adam: McDaniels had two years left on his contract but because he was fired for cause – the illegal videotaping incident in London – he and the Broncos worked out a settlement for much less than half of what he was otherwise owed.
And while Fox had two years left on his contract when he left for Chicago after the 2014 season, the Broncos didn’t have to pay him a dime because the reality is he walked away. For public relations purposes the Broncos didn’t stop the impression they showed Fox the door. For ledger purposes, the Broncos are happy to officially define Fox’s departure as a resignation.
And Kubiak also walked away from the final two years of his contract so the Broncos are finished paying him.
The Broncos did have to pay Shanahan for one of the three years he had left on his contract, at roughly $7 million per year, when he was fired after the 2008 season. Washington helped the Broncos’ cause when they hired him for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Denver has been a little more careful about the cost of doing coaching business since Shanahan, although the Broncos have shelled out a few dollars on assistant coaches they no longer employ.
Did Marc Lubick get retained with the new Broncos staff?
Rick: Unfortunately, Marc Lubick is not expected back. Sonny’s kid is a class guy who did good work as assistant receivers coach to Tyke Tolbert the past two years but show me a coach who hasn’t been forced to move on in the NFL and I’ll show you a coach who hasn’t coached very long.