Should Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch start vs. Oakland?
Kiz: For the first time since John Elway took over the football operation, the Broncos will play an exhibition game during the regular season. But Sunday’s game doesn’t have to be meaningless, and the intrigue will be how Gary Kubiak divides the snaps between quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. How would you do it? Jhabvala: Treat it like the fourth preseason game and let Paxton Lynch start. He needs the reps, plain and simple. The transition for Lynch is difficult given the offense he was used to playing at Memphis. With nothing on the line, let him use this time to continue to get comfortable in the pro system. He can practice all he wants, but there’s no way to replicate games. Plus, this gives Kubiak & Co. another a chance to see how far he’s come in his first year. Kiz: This ain’t no party, but it feels like 1999. Let’s do a statistical comparison. Quarterback A: 14 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 217 yards passing per game, 75.6 rating. Quarterback B: 16 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 246 yards per game, 83.9 rating. The first QB? Brian Griese in 1999, when the Super Bowl champs took a hard fall. The second QB is Siemian this year. Siemian ain’t bad. But he’s not much better than Griese. Is that good enough? Jhabvala: Uh, five fewer interceptions is a lot better. Protecting the ball is the biggest job of a quarterback, especially one in this offense and with this defense. And you’re casually omitting some key details. Brian Griese had more support: He had a near-1,200-yard rusher in Olandis Gary and a much better offensive line, with guys such as Mark Schlereth, Tom Nalen and Matt Lepsis. Griese was 5-9 in his 14 starts. Siemian is 7-6 in his 13 games. His last one was his worst outing, but he averaged more than 300 passing yards in his previous six games. Kiz: The Broncos need to find out how much Lynch has learned as a rookie and how much work he has yet to do. Yes, his footwork is still a mess. But the Broncos have scored two offensive touchdowns in the past three games, on drives of six and 26 yards. Can Lynch do better? Or is he much worse? Let’s find out. Start Lynch and let him play the whole game. Jhabvala: I agree that they should start Lynch. One game will not provide the Broncos with all the answers, but it will give them a new measuring stick of where Lynch is in his development. He needs these reps more than Siemian right now. The Broncos have a lengthy list of questions to answer this off-season, with their roster and their coaching staff. Maybe one more start for Lynch will help to answer a few.
Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch drops back to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during a game on Dec. 4. John Leyba, Denver Post file