Broncos training camp: Quarterbacks fight for Paxton Lynch’s job

Jun 7, 2016; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) awaits to speak to the local media following mini camp drills at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) awaits to speak to the local media following mini camp drills at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos training camp 2016: Quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian seem to have the lead for a job that will eventually belong to Paxton Lynch…

The battle for the Denver Broncos starting quarterback position is undoubtedly the focus of training camp in 2016, especially with the contract situation for Von Miller cleared up.

The Broncos will certainly look a lot different this year than they did last year, but if you can win a Super Bowl with a mostly brand new coaching staff and — let’s call it what it is — a hodge-podge of a roster, you can win it with nine-of-eleven defensive starters returning and all but one coach coming back.

It’s a quest to return to the playoffs, but not just to do that, it’s a quest to repeat. The Broncos know the odds are against them, but this franchise has been a repeat champion before, and it seems like they are set up better to do it this time than the last time.

While John Elway was still running the show on the field back in the late 90s, the Broncos didn’t really have to rely on him to do a whole lot the season they won their 2nd title in a row. In his final season as the starting QB, Elway completed 59 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 starts. In the playoffs, he completed 52.3 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception.

It was a different era of football, but the point remains — with a strong supporting cast, the quarterback’s job becomes a lot easier. The Broncos proved last season that — despite the large odds against it — it’s possible for a team to win with horrid quarterback play.

At training camp in 2016, many expect to see horrid quarterback play from the Broncos again, but I’m not so sure. The Broncos got younger and more athletic at the quarterback position, but they also have a stronger stable of arms than they did at this time a year ago. We would constantly hear praise from receivers in the offseason that Peyton Manning was zipping passes like he did in his young age, but come game day, the balls were wobbling out of his hands like a kickoff.

The Broncos’ passing game was one-dimensional as a result, and that’s putting it kindly. I don’t even know if you could say it had a dimension. The passing game for the Broncos last year was horrendous, so my theory is that it can only get better in 2016.

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With Mark Sanchez acquired early in the offseason and Trevor Siemian making enough strides that some feel he has a legitimate shot at the starting gig, one thing seems certain — one of those two players is destined to win a job that doesn’t belong to them anyway.

That’s right. The starting quarterback job belongs to Paxton Lynch, but the Broncos are going to take their time. So, if the answer is Paxton Lynch, the question is who is going to best hold the fort down until he’s ready?

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer for the Broncos at this point.

We know what Mark Sanchez is. With a great team around him, he’s capable of helping you win games. If things start to crumble around him, he can also make things worse.

We don’t really know what we’re getting in Trevor Siemian. We know he has a strong arm, is pretty athletic, and is a smart young player. We don’t know how he would hold up against the Seattle Seahawks or in January against the New England Patriots.

Maybe that’s something that can work in his favor…

Because we don’t know what we have in Siemian, I think it’s natural for some to feel like he’s the best man for the job while Lynch develops. He’s younger than Sanchez, and because he’s an unknown, he’s perceived to have more upside at this point.

It doesn’t hurt that he also has a leg up on everybody in terms of knowing Gary Kubiak’s offense.

No matter which one of Siemian or Sanchez wins the starting job, it’s clear that the one with his name engraved on the office door is Paxton Lynch. It’ll eventually be his job, so which player has more to gain from this important audition — Sanchez or Siemian?

That will provide the Broncos and their fans with one of the most entertaining position battles across the NFL landscape.