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'Games matter' for QB candidates Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch

August 09,2017 02:22

"And the games matter," Joseph said. " ... I've said I want to get to the games so we can get to the bottom of this." Siemian, who will open the game with the starting offense against the Bears, likely goes into Thursday night having built a lead for ...and more »


6:22 PM ET

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch have certainly been graded on what they've done so far in Denver Broncos training camp.
But they get their first big exam in Thursday night's preseason opener in Chicago. Because understanding the playbook, limiting mistakes, showing leadership as well as work ethic are all on the to-do list, coach Vance Joseph has been clear about how he will decide on a starting quarterback.
"And the games matter," Joseph said. " ... I've said I want to get to the games so we can get to the bottom of this."
Siemian, who will open the game with the starting offense against the Bears, likely goes into Thursday night having built a lead for the job for the second consecutive training camp. However, Joseph has already said Lynch will start the second preseason game -- Aug. 19 against the San Francisco 49ers -- and both quarterbacks will have to navigate two days' worth of joint practices against the 49ers next week in Santa Clara, California.
Joseph has consistently emphasized he wants a "fair assessment," so he has tried to keep all things equal in practice. He said he will give each of them a quarter to a quarter and a half of playing time in preseason games.
"The average plays per quarter in the preseason is probably 15, 16 plays," Joseph said. "We want to get those guys probably a little more than that just to give them a fair evaluation."
As the Broncos' offensive coaches have piled more and more of the playbook on the quarterbacks' plates, Siemian has been the more steady of the two in the last week, while Lynch had a spate of turnovers across several consecutive practices before he evened things out some Monday and Tuesday.
Both quarterbacks have found some tough football sledding against the Broncos' defensive starters, a group that includes four defensive backs who've been to the Pro Bowl over the last two seasons to go with a five-time Pro Bowl selection in Von Miller.
Siemian and Lynch almost expressed some relief in recent days about going against somebody else's defense.
"I've always expected the games to be kind of the opportunity to show what you've learned out here at practice," Lynch said. "... I think everybody's excited about it, ready to go. ... Big thing for me just moving the ball up and down the field when I'm in, executing the plays."
"Focus on my job, do my best to move the offense and put some points on the board," Siemian said. "... I just look at it like I'm just glad we're not playing our guys ... it's a pain in the butt throwing against Chris [Harris Jr.], [Aqib] Talib, all those guys, all the time."
Siemian was the second quarterback to play in the preseason opener a year ago in Chicago -- he followed Mark Sanchez -- and went on to win a three-way battle for the starting job over Sanchez and Lynch. Asked Tuesday if he had felt any additional pressure in this training camp given he came into a quarterback competition this time around with 14 starts on his résumé and understood what it would mean to win the job.
"I don't think so, shoot, they haven't fired me yet," Siemian said with a smile. "I'm all right."
The two quarterbacks know no decision will be made until after the second preseason game at the soonest. And Joseph has said previously that while he didn't have a formal deadline for a decision, he has said naming a starter by the Aug. 26 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers would be "ideal."

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