In young players we cannot expect perfection, but we can look for areas that they grow in. In Paxton’s 2nd start how can we expect to see him mature?
I thought I would give my list of things I am interested to see when it comes to Paxton Lynch in his second start. There might not be a bigger story in Denver right now than who will be our starting QB beyond this year. For Paxton, this is a huge opportunity for him to show some growth from the Atlanta game. If he can do that it might help him make a case to start the rest of this year. He could also possibly be the starting QB for the Denver Broncos for a very long time. No pressure for the young kid right? While perfection should not be the bar we set for him this game there are some things I do think we can look at to see how much growth he has had since his first start.
I don’t think anybody is questioning that Paxton Lynch is about as athletic as you can hope for in a QB. He also has a big-time arm that can throw the football to every part of the field with quite a bit of ease. In the NFL though plenty of QB’s have come through with those same traits and not found success. One of the areas Paxton must improve to reach the level we all hope for him is that of his mechanics. He was all over the board in the Atlanta game.
A great example is that of his footwork. His size can sometimes lead to him taking some slower long strides in his backpedal. This means he is taking longer to get to his final step before pushing forward. Another issue is that his 7-step drop then might be a yard or two deeper than Siemian’s. This becomes an issue when talking about pass protection. One final issue is that Paxton tends to not step into his throws even when he has the space. We see this in a lot of bigger arm QB’s like Cam Newton because they know their arm power allows them to still make the throw and not need the lower body to produce the drive in throwing down field. This leads to suspect accuracy issues though as we saw happen in that Atlanta game.
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Another problem we saw was that of a lack of eye manipulation. This maybe doesn’t qualify as a mechanical issue but again just a small thing that can make a huge difference. A great example is the interception that Paxton Lynch threw in the Atlanta game. He stared down the WR where the safety could get an easy read on the play. If he uses his eyes that goes from an interception for the Falcons to a big play for the Broncos.
One final issue that I saw in the Atlanta game is that of Paxton sometimes struggling to follow through on shorter passes. This is again where having a big arm can be a bit of a hindrance. A player will almost just try to push the football. When we see this happen it leads to over and under throws. This is something that I think will work itself out with more reps and feeling more comfortable in the offense. I expect him to be much better on the short throws.
The other area that I am excited to watch is just to see the different game plan the coaches try to use with a player like Paxton Lynch compared to Siemian. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, what I saw a lot of in the Atlanta game was the coaches calling a lot of the plays that work well for Siemian but not necessarily for Lynch. A great example is that of Lynch is more comfortable throwing deeper down the field and over the middle. Yet we still saw a lot of short quick out routes. He can make those throws but we saw him at times struggling with over throwing or under throwing the WR’s.
If I were the Broncos one of the most important aspects of this game is to get Paxton Lynch comfortable early in the game. I’m sure he has grown with his work under Center. I would still start out in the shot gun for him. This is where he feels at home. It can help him make some quicker reads to get rid of the football. He doesn’t have to turn his back to the defense especially on play action and can just let the football fly. Going back to mechanics this also helps with some footwork issues. He isn’t taking the big long strides back that get him too deep in his drop back.
A common theme you will see in my game plan thoughts is anything that can help the OL. Beyond just being in shot gun, the Broncos should also work to move Paxton Lynch around. They need to take advantage of his superior athleticism. We must make teams worry about him taking off running. This can also help in making easier reads for Paxton Lynch as it usually shortens down the field. For the OL, this can mean even if they miss some blocks Paxton Lynch is already running away from that player. We saw this on Siemian’s touchdown this past weekend. He was running away from the right side trying to buy some extra time to make a play.
One final part that I want to hit on is that of attacking the middle. Siemian has over the last two games felt more comfortable throwing over the middle. I think part of that is the addition of AJ Derby. He gives us a consistent weapon that can attack the middle. For Paxton Lynch, this is an area he attacked quite a bit in his college career. I’m hoping they send AJ Derby and Virgil Green on some seam routes as this could lead to some big plays. Another play we could see is the deep slant route that a guy like Emmanuel Sanders is so good at running. I don’t think the Jaguars will be quite ready for us to attack some of those areas because we just haven’t done it much this year.