Hardly hog wild over QBS
You can put lipstick on a pig. But the pig still won’t fly. In the only competition at Broncos training camp that really matters, quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch keep coming up small. It’s not pretty, and it was no different Saturday, in a scrimmage coach Vance Joseph had labeled “huge.” Both Lynch and Siemian are so nice, it’s as if they are afraid to win the job for fear of hurting the loser’s feelings.
With five weeks and a day until Denver opens the regular season, it’s too early to panic, Broncos Country. But the queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? That’s not a bad burrito you ate for lunch. It’s the anxiety resulting from two quarterbacks that have inspired zero confidence.
Broncomaniacs are not fair-weather fans. They love their team like family. That’s why it was so telling when a young fan stood up Thursday during a forum hosted by the Broncos and told wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders he was trying to stay positive about an offense struggling to find its footing, but …
“It’s supposed to be rocky.
We’re in the Rocky Mountains,” Sanders replied. “We’ve got a quarterback competition, and that’s why people say it’s rocky.”
At practices where Siemian or Lynch can’t belch without it being instantly analyzed in 140 characters or less, much of the analysis has revealed more about any given reporter’s inherent bias for his favored starting candidate rather than anything that actually unfolds on the field.
On the eve of training camp, general manager John Elway predicted the results of competition between Lynch and Siemian would be obvious and “seen by everyone.” Added Elway: “It’s going to show up.”
Step back from an obsession with which quarterback won the day, and the early results of the competition are impossible to hide. Neither Siemian nor Lynch has played with the consistency or efficiency the Broncos need to be a championship contender.
If the light has gone on for Lynch in his second year as a pro, then the bulb isn’t very bright. Oh, there are flashes of the big arm and a huge upside that made me stand up and cheer when Elway drafted Lynch — as is Lynch’s nasty habit of wanting to microwave every decision.
If his gratification on any given play is less than instant, Lynch reflexively tucks tail and runs, or he telegraphs a panicky throw to a secondary receiver with impatience that Aqib Talib or Chris Harris pounce on like sharks to blood in the water.
Too many of Siemian’s passes seem to be made by a quarterback with one eye cast downfield and one eye over his shoulder, as if he also believes the Broncos are looking for any reason to give the starting job to Lynch.
Siemian rolls with the economic politics of the NFL. But he’s also a case study in how empowering it can be to have a coach in your corner, and that unshakable faith in Siemian left Denver when Gary Kubiak resigned as coach.
The decision on a starting quarterback need not be complicated. If Joseph cannot trust Lynch to make more explosive plays than mental errors, the Broncos will go back to Siemian, milk the clock, lean on the defense and hope a conservative strategy somehow produces 10 victories in a division so evenly matched that turnover margin could determine which team finishes first.
During much of last season, Kubiak looked as if he ate a bad burrito for lunch. But when Kubiak walked back on the practice field last week as the former Broncos coach, all the stress was erased from his face. Scoring points with Denver’s offensive personnel is no longer his problem. The indigestion has been inherited by new offensive coordinator Mike Mccoy, trying mightily to hide the deficiencies of Lynch and Siemian with smoke and mirrors.
It’s possible Mccoy will discover something like a rhythm for this offense. Lynch could learn to stand and deliver rather than scramble at the first sign of trouble. If given the starting nod, perhaps Siemian will stop looking over his shoulder and begin looking for Sanders down the field.
The truth, however, seems obvious to anybody with eyes. No matter who wins the starting job in Denver, the Broncos will compete against Oakland, the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City with the fourth-best quarterback in the AFC West.
With time and patience, maybe the Broncos can develop Siemian or Lynch into a championship quarterback.
But it might be easier for Mccoy to teach pigs to fly.