Paxton Lynch’s Start the First of Many for the Broncos

Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) enter the field before a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) enter the field before a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tonight, the rookie gets the whole game to himself.  Paxton Lynch starts his first ever NFL game for the Denver Broncos—albeit in the fourth preseason game.  Nevertheless, it will give the Broncos a long look at the man deemed to be the quarterback of the future.

Lets be honest, Trevor Siemian won the opportunity to walk out of the tunnel September 8th against the Panthers.  He was the best quarterback in camp, and is the furthest along in the offense.  But the real starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos is Paxton Lynch.  The kid just needs a little more time.

Siemian is a nice player, and should fare well in

Aug 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) rushes the ball against Chicago Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho (49) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) rushes the ball against Chicago Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho (49) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

the starts that he does make. The Broncos should win games, much in the same ways that they won games when Brock Osweiler had to fill in for an injured Peyton Manning a year ago.  It’s certainly not a knock on Trevor, who has come a long way since his days at Northwestern.  Trevor figures to have a long career in this league at the pace is is progressing, which is a credit to him and to the Broncos coaching staff.

With that said, he is simply keeping the seat warm for the player that John Elway and Gary Kubiak moved up in the draft to get—Paxton Freaking Lynch.  There are things that Lynch can do with the football that Siemian, and most quarterbacks for that matter, simply cannot do.

The talent the rookie has is off the charts.  Unlike a former 6’7 quarterback that played for the Broncos, Lynch can flat out move.  Whether it’s to run, or to throw, his ability to get outside the pocket is going to move the chains, and it’s going to create big plays down the field.

It is true that Lynch is behind in the playbook—that fact is not being disputed.  The biggest impact that Paxton is going to have will not be in called plays, but in plays that are improvised.  When things break down, the kid makes something happen.  Obviously, Gary Kubiak does not want every play being improvised, which is why Trevor is opening the season as the starting quarterback.  Once Paxton shows that he can execute a big enough portion of the playbook, it is game on.

There is a reason that Mark Sanchez won’t be on this football team come Saturday; no it is not the $4.5 million cap hit, nor the 7th round draft pick due to the Eagles.  The real reason Mark Sanchez is out of here is because he would take away valuable reps from the rookie quarterback—reps that the Broncos are going to force feed to the kid far faster than they would to your typical, run-of-the-mill backup quarterback.

If Mark Sanchez were on the team, the reps that he would require to be ready to play would be reps that wouldn’t be going to Paxton Lynch.  That won’t happen.  Expect Sanchez to be traded or cut; do not expect him to be brought back at a reduced salary.  The Broncos will likely go into the regular season carrying only two quarterbacks so that ever rep that does not go to Siemian can be given to Lynch.

The Broncos are fast-tracking Lynch’s development because he is getting ready to play.  The Broncos do not want a superior talent sitting on the sidelines for any longer then they have to.  Of course it is important that Lynch be able to run enough of the offense properly.  In order to do that, reps will be the name of the game.  On Tuesday, Gary Kubiak was asked how fast the Broncos were trying to bring him up to speed:

“As fast as we can get it.”  Kubiak said.

“We want to make up as much ground as we possibly can. I’ve been pleased with the progress he’s made. I’ll say this: there have been times where I’m saying, ‘Boy this is coming real fast,’ and all of a sudden he’ll remind me two days later, ‘No I’m not, not yet.’ It’s been really good. There have been steps at time where he takes a step back and we have to catch back up. Hopefully we continue to work. We’re going to have to find ways, once we get going, to actually do a lot more extra with him than say some other guys you’re working with. We want to get it done as quickly as we can.”

As of today, Paxton is behind; but for weeks, the gap has been closing.  Mike Klis of 9 News appeared on The Drive on 104.3 The Fan in Denver last week and stated that if training camp were three weeks longer, it is likely that Lynch would have been the week one starter—he’s that close.

Every week Lynch has been getting better and better, and his reps with the starters have gone up and up as well.  Before the third preseason game, Lynch had a fantastic week of practice as he got the lions share of the number one reps

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early in the week as Siemian rested his shoulder.  According to most,  despite a few mistakes, he looked excellent in doing so.

Tonight marks a chance to run a unit that Kubiak said Lynch could have done better guiding a week ago.

“He’s going to play with a lot of young players.”  Kubiak said.

“I thought he could handle his group a little better than he did last week, so he’s going to play with the same guys he did last week. I want to see him consistently improve.”

Lynch’s performance against the Rams was certainly the most underwhelming of the three preseason games he’s played in.  Despite that, there were still flashes of brilliance, as he did engineer one touchdown drive and still made some impressive throws.  He also failed to take a sack for the first time all preseason which marks improvement in his decisiveness—any area that was not as good in his first two games.  He did this despite playing behind a poor cast of second and third team offensive lineman.  It should be noted that he has yet to have the privilege of playing behind the best offensive line group the Broncos have to offer.  While he didn’t make as many plays this week, he still found a way to show improvement in other areas which is a key cog in his development as a quarterback.

Trevor Siemian has earned the right to open the season as the Denver Broncos starter, but when Gary Kubiak feels that Paxton Lynch is ready, he will play.  Kubiak is one of the few coaches in the league with the job security, and the guts to turn to the rookie, even if the Broncos are winning games with Siemian at the helm.  He doesn’t need any reason to put Lynch in, other than to state that he is ready.

Kubiak has consistently stated that Paxton is behind Trevor in the playbook.  He isn’t going to catch up—not this season at least.  But that doesn’t mean that Kubiak won’t turn to him.  Paxton will continue to make up ground week in and week out.  Once he has enough of the playbook down pat, the positive impact of his ability to improvise will outweigh the negative aspect that the playbook will be smaller with him at the helm than with Siemian.  Once Kubiak feels it is time, he will be the guy moving forward.

Tonight Paxton Lynch starts, and it provides many valuable reps needed to get him up to speed as quickly as possible.  A great outing could shorten the time before we all see him again, and a poor outing could keep Trevor Siemian in the starting role for a few extra weeks.  Regardless of how he performs, it is only a matter of time before Paxton Freaking Lynch gets to take over this team for good.  Enjoy watching him tonight, and remember in all likelihood that you will be seeing a lot more of him sooner rather than later.

Aug 20, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) walks off the field after throwing an interception against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The 49ers beat the Broncos 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) walks off the field after throwing an interception against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The 49ers beat the Broncos 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports /