KUSA—Gary Kubiak is nothing if not fair.
Trevor Siemian has been the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback, he earned it, and therefore he will start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
First-round rookie Paxton Lynch will play in the game.
"Two things, first off, they're both young players,'' said Kubiak, the Broncos' head coach. "Obviously, one of them is younger than the other by 10, 11 games. But I think Trevor deserves to go back out there as the starter. He's done a lot of good things this year. He's a young player. He needs to keep going. I want him to get the Kansas City taste out of his mouth. It was a tough outing. But also Paxton is going to play. I'm going to prepare them both.''
This decision, in what is a meaningless game against the Oakland, proves first that Kubiak has not given up on Siemian and is not quite ready to make the move to Lynch.
"It was up to the coaches,'' Lynch said. "I know Trevor has done a good job with the offense all year. He's played well. We just lost a couple close games down the stretch. I'm happy to play, however I can play and every rep is valuable to me so however I can get it, I'll take it.''
Lynch has started two games this season but each time Siemian was injured and didn’t dress. Lynch started game 5 against Atlanta Falcons when Siemian was out with a left shoulder injury, and game 12 at Jacksonville when Siemian was down with a left foot injury.
Lynch also came off the bench to play in game 4 at Tampa Bay. In those three games, Lynch completed 49 of 83 passes (59.0 percent) for 497 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 79.2 passer rating. The Broncos went 1-1 in his two starts.
In the first round of the NFL Draft on April 28, the Broncos traded up from their No. 31 overall pick to No. 26 to select Lynch out of Memphis, where he had 28 touchdown passes against just four interceptions in his junior year.
He has mostly spent his rookie year developing behind Siemian, who in 13 games has completed 272 of 459 passes (59.2 percent) for 3,195 yards with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions for an 83.9 rating. Those numbers would have been better but Siemian had the worst game of his career Christmas Night at Arrowhead Stadium, completing just 17 of 43 passes while posting a 43.1 rating.
"I'd like to play today, truthfully,'' Siemian said about getting the Kansas City behind him. "We'll see Sunday. Hopefully, we'll walk away with a win and get heading in the offseason in the right direction.''
The Broncos are 8-7 entering their game against the 12-3 Raiders, who may need to win to clinch the AFC West Division title.