Time for Paxton Lynch to go back to the drawing board

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 19: Paxton Lynch
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 19: Paxton Lynch /

The Denver Broncos are going to name Trevor Siemian the starting quarterback, which means Paxton Lynch has to go back to the drawing board…

The NFL is a tough business, and Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch is learning that the hard way.

As the Denver Broncos are set to name Trevor Siemian their starting quarterback (again) in 2017, Lynch is left with one option: Go back to the drawing board.

The Broncos gave Lynch every opportunity this offseason to win the starting position. After Siemian clearly had proven himself a better player in 2016, the Broncos banked on the second year progression of Lynch and split first-team reps almost down the middle all offseason, throughout training camp, and the preseason.

After Lynch’s start against the 49ers in the second preseason game, it’s abundantly clear that Lynch isn’t ready for the rigors of an NFL regular season on a team that expects to compete for a division — and hopefully Super Bowl — title.

Those aspirations may seem unrealistic to some, but the Broncos have a standard of excellence and if that means playing a former seventh round pick versus a first rounder, so be it.

All hope is not lost for Lynch, either. This is a guy who has the arm talent and athleticism to succeed in the NFL, but he needs to learn how to combine those talents with an understanding of how to win mentally at the NFL level.

That hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it can never happen.

It’s become very clear through Lynch’s first few appearances as an NFL player that he is still slow to process what’s happening in game situations. The prime example of that was in the Broncos’ last game against San Francisco, where Lynch had a wide open Demaryius Thomas over the short-middle part of the field, but didn’t see him and tried to force the ball into tight coverage.

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Has Trevor Siemian made the same mistake? Sure, plenty of times. The biggest difference is the frequency with which Siemian and Lynch make that mistake. For Lynch, pre-snap adjustments, going through progressions, and generally reading an NFL defense seem to be areas where he is still far behind Trevor Siemian.

As much as the Broncos and their fans wanted instant success from Lynch, it’s not unreasonable that he’s not ready at this point. The only reason it’s become such a spectacle is because the Broncos have a championship roster around him, and the expectations for a first rounder are always to make an impact sooner than later.

Sometimes, that isn’t the case. We are just starting to see the light come on a little bit from last year’s first overall pick, Jared Goff.

Perhaps in addition to Lynch going back to the drawing board, so will the Broncos with the quarterback position. That’s another article entirely…

For now, it’s on Lynch to show his film study and preparation off the field can translate to on-field success, even in practices. He has to prepare weekly as though he’s going to get a chance to play, because you never know what will happen in this league.

There’s still time for Lynch to develop, it’s just unfortunate for all involved that we have to wait. His arm strength isn’t going anywhere. His athleticism isn’t going anywhere. If time is all Lynch needs, then no one needs to worry. He’s under contract for three, potentially four more seasons.

Lynch, like any draft pick, deserves the duration of his contract before a final judgment is made on his NFL career.