Paxton Lynch’s start vs. 49ers more strategic than you think

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 2: Quarterback Paxton Lynch
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 2: Quarterback Paxton Lynch /

The Denver Broncos announced that Paxton Lynch would start week two vs. the San Francisco 49ers, and there may be more there than meets the eye…

After head coach Vance Joseph announced that Trevor Siemian would start at quarterback against the Chicago Bears in Thursday’s preseason opener, he let it be known that Paxton Lynch would be starting the team’s second preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

This has led some to believe that Siemian is the leader in the clubhouse for the starting quarterback position come time for the regular season, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.

While both quarterbacks have had their struggles during training camp, both players have also showed at times that they are capable of leading this team. Siemian, of course, has been the master of ‘steady’ play, per some eye witness reports. Lynch, on the other hand, has been more of a risk-taker.

As the Broncos’ coaching staff deliberates, one thing seems obvious in this whole arrangement that hasn’t quite been talked about yet.

Prior to the Broncos’ second preseason game against the 49ers, they will be having joint practices with John Lynch’s crew out West. Assuming the reps will continue to be split somewhat, but favoring the weekly starter, is it reasonable to think that Lynch will receive the lion’s share of first-team snaps in joint practices?

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I would say so.

Lynch getting the opportunity to lead the majority of the joint practices with the first team seems significant. Of course, that could also make his job the toughest in the game situation, since the Niners’ top defense will have seen what he’s all about in practices throughout the week.

It is also somewhat notable that despite reports of Siemian being the better quarterback throughout training camp last year, the veteran Mark Sanchez also started the team’s preseason opener against the Bears.

Now, this is not to say the Broncos are conspiring as a group to give Siemian the lesser of the opportunities here, but these notes are worth mentioning.

It’s been talked about all along how the preseason games will determine who wins this competition, and these circumstances only add fuel to the fire.

The Broncos aren’t handing anything to these players, especially Lynch. There’s intentionality of him not starting the first preseason game. Starting Lynch in the first preseason game would give the impression that he’s the ‘leader’ of a competition right now.

From where I’m sitting, it doesn’t necessarily give that vibe with Siemian starting out. Siemian was last year’s starter, so he gets the first shot this year. In an even competition, seniority could very well determine who goes first.

For Lynch now, it’s a matter of putting things together consistently, operating an offense rather than just occasionally making ‘wow’ throws. He has a chance to set the bar with the second unit on Thursday, and perhaps stake his claim on the QB job by early next week.