NEW YEAR, SAME QB BAT­TLE AS BRON­COS OPEN CAMP

El­way, Joseph be­lieve the clear choice will make it­self known

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Nicki Jhab­vala

John El­way doesn’t care about your win­dows.

“No. I don’t be­lieve in win­dows,” he said flatly be­fore pon­der­ing the no­tion fur­ther. “So you’re telling me we can take a cou­ple years off if our win­dow closes on the de­fen­sive side? Ev­ery­one talks about those win­dows, but I don’t, be­cause we’re try­ing to do it ev­ery year and ob­vi­ously in my po­si­tion I have to look two and three and four years out. But our goal hasn’t changed. It’s to be com­pet­i­tive year in and year out.”

El­way, who on Mon­day signed on for five more years of re­tool­ing and re­con­fig­ur­ing the Bron­cos’ path to an­other Su­per Bowl, has no con­cern for ev­ery­one else’s timeta­bles and never has.

For the se­cond con­sec­u­tive off­sea­son, the most im­por­tant po­si­tion on the field re­mains unan­swered for the Bron­cos as Trevor Siemian and Pax­ton Lynch en­gage in an­other bat­tle for the start­ing job. Ques­tions about the de­ci­sion that will con­tinue to loom over Dove Val­ley this sum­mer have been asked and asked again and then spun into other in­quiries — about the de­fense’s prover­bial win­dow, about the of­fense’s con­tin­u­ing tran­si­tion, about play­ers’ po­ten­tial, about find­ing their quar­ter­back for now and four years from now.

The un­cer­tainty has had a rip­ple ef­fect.

But few inside the Bron­cos’ head­quar­ters seem con­cerned about the noise build­ing out­side their walls.

“I’m not con­cerned about time. In my opin­ion, time al­lows for a fair com­pe­ti­tion,” coach Vance Joseph said. “Time al­lows for both guys to put their best foot for­ward. And time al­lows for us to make a sound de­ci­sion. So I’m not con­cerned about time. I think time is a good thing with this deal. It’s a huge deal for our foot­ball team. It’s a huge deal for those two guys. So to rush a de­ci­sion with­out be­ing sure makes no sense for ev­ery­one in­volved. So I’m not con­cerned about time. I want the best guy for this foot­ball team.”

The dis­re­gard of time is re­ally a re­gard for the fu­ture. Joseph and El­way said they be­lieve the de­ci­sion will be made with­out their fi­nal whis­tle. Sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the two quar­ter­backs will be ev­i­dent to all when pre­sea­son games be­gin.

Last year, the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween vet­eran Mark Sanchez and Siemian was called af­ter the third pre­sea­son game. By then it had be­come clear the least likely can­di­date had moved into first.

Poll the Bron­cos’ re­ceivers, though, and they’d vote for a de­ci­sion to be made be­fore the se­cond pre­sea­son game, if not sooner — an am­bi­tious if un­re­al­is­tic ask.

Be­fore the third pre­sea­son game, against the Green Bay Pack­ers in Den­ver, could be a fair com­pro­mise.

“That would be ideal,” Joseph ad­mit­ted. But he won’t bank on it.

“It’s go­ing to sep­a­rate it­self,” he added. “Some­one is go­ing to show that they’re the best man for our team. And when he does, I’ll call it off.”

Un­til then, Joseph has a plan for push­ing the process along.

Wed­nes­day, vet­er­ans re­ported, and all were re­quired to take a con­di­tion­ing test of 10 40-yard dashes. That was a first for many of the team’s long­est-tenured play­ers. In camp, Joseph will split the first-team reps evenly be­tween quar­ter­backs Siemian and Lynch. Day 1 on Thurs­day will be­long to Siemian. Day 2 will be Lynch’s. The pair will ro­tate daily and in cer­tain drills, en­sur­ing both re­ceive equal time to au­di­tion.

The cri­te­ria — like the timetable — aren’t spelled out be­cause they don’t need to be the se­cond time around. But many will have a say in the de­ci­sion, in­clud­ing five for­mer quar­ter­backs in Joseph, El­way, of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike McCoy, quar­ter­backs coach Bill Mus­grave and even re­cently hired se­nior per­son­nel ad­viser Gary Ku­biak.

Eric Studesville, the Bron­cos’ run­ning backs coach who added the ti­tle of as­sis­tant head coach dur­ing the off­sea­son, will prob­a­bly weigh in, too.

“Ul­ti­mately, it’s Vance’s choice. I’m go­ing to give my opin­ion,” El­way said. “But even though you may think there are a lot of dif­fer­ent opin­ions, there’s re­ally not. I be­lieve the quar­ter­back po­si­tion — ev­ery­one’s go­ing to see it. To me, it’s go­ing to show up.”

And un­til it does, the Bron­cos will stay on their own clock, fo­cused on both now and later.

“Any­time you go from a Hall of Famer in Pey­ton Man­ning, you’re go­ing to go through some tran­si­tion on the of­fen­sive side that’s go­ing to take some time,” El­way said. “But I like where we’re go­ing with the quar­ter­back po­si­tion with Trevor and Pax­ton. I like the pos­si­bil­i­ties there.”

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