Focus stays on the field
QB debate isn’t affecting Siemian
LAKEWOOD» Almost daily, a deep voice booms from local sports talk radio telling listeners to “CHOOSE YOUR SIDE! Will it be Team Siemian or Team Lynch?”
National headlines have promoted similar polls and predictions. Local headlines, well, we’re guilty too.
The Broncos’ quarterback competition is the event of the summer. It has been analyzed and covered from every angle since early January, before the contenders even stepped on the field.
Trevor Siemian says he’s not listening to the hype. He’s not reading the reviews, not listening to the noise, not reading the comments that flow in by the minute — many of which are biting and all of which are opinionated.
“It’s easy because once you’re in the building, in camp, nothing else matters,” he said Friday at a surprise shopping event for a group of children at Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Nothing outside the building is really determining anything. So it’s relatively easy for me to stay focused on the task at hand.”
The fans have no say. Nor do the media. But Siemian knows who does, and he knows what to expect. He knew in 2016, when he beat out veteran Mark Sanchez for the starting job. And he knows now, as he prepares to again fight Paxton Lynch, a first-round draft pick, to retain his starting job.
With a new scheme and new coaching staff, Siemian and Lynch, as well as the entire offense, are starting anew. But the return to an open quarterback competition certainly isn’t.
“Each year is like that and we got a new staff anyhow, so it’s a clean slate for all of us,” Siemian said. “That’s how I’m approaching it. I played last year, so I have some experiences I can lean on and grow from and continue to improve.”
There’s no replicating live reps, and at this point Siemian has more in the tank than Lynch after starting 14 games last season.
Helpful? Sure. But it’s the reps Siemian will receive in the coming weeks that will count the most.
At the end of organized team activities, coach Vance Joseph said the prior months of on-field work were about learning Mike McCoy’s new offense, which was fully installed before the players left for break. Those weeks counted “zero to none” toward deciding the team’s starting quarterback, Joseph said.
But that changes starting July 27 at training camp.
Now comfortable with the new playbook, Siemian said he’s still working toward the mastery level that comes with more time on the field. During his five weeks off, he reviewed tape of every rep from OTAs and camp, as well as some of the defense’s reps, to take mental notes of what needs further tweaking: what he did well and what he can do better.
“I think if I just keep getting better,” he said. “I think I did some things I can build on last year and there are some things I want to do better. For me, I’m just focused on improving and I think if I can take care of things on my end then everything will work out.”
Last year, then-coach Gary Kubiak appointed Siemian the starter after the third preseason game, with mere weeks before the season opener. The late decision was expected as the competition progressed, but it also afforded little time for the offense to work as one with the true starting quarterback before the season began.
“That was really the first time I got a good bit of reps so that was important for me and I wasn’t getting too far ahead of myself and I’m still trying to keep that same mentality,” Siemian said. “It’s not up to me. For me, just staying with that same mentality — I want to be better than I was yesterday — I think that will help me out.”
The competition then — and perhaps now — hinges on enough live reps for each quarterback to ensure thorough evaluation. But Demaryius Thomas said he would like to know his starting quarterback before the second preseason game in California. And fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said if he had his way, he would like to know now. Ambitious?
“It’s probably a good thing the receivers aren’t coaching the team,” Siemian said with a laugh. “But Coach Joseph will make the right call for the team and put us in a good spot to win games.”
Although the offense’s earlier plans to get together in Los Angeles for an informal passing camp fell through, Siemian said he’s hoping to corral some of his receivers at a local high school before camp starts.
Because once camp opens, the focus is singular. No noise, no hype. Even if it is the biggest event of the summer.