Fans that were hoping for the ambiguous quarterback picture to get any clearer will have to continue to wait.
Both Trevor Siemian and Mark Sanchez had bright moments in their outings against the San Francisco 49ers, but neither of them pulled ahead in the quarterback race. What fans will remember most from tonight’s game are their turnovers — which won't be tolerated by them or Head Coach Gary Kubiak.
Those turnovers were a key reason the Broncos fell to the 49ers 31-24 in their second preseason game.
After going 5/6 for 55 yards leading the Broncos down the field on an 86 yard drive that was capped off with a C.J. Anderson touchdown scamper, positive feelings in regard to Trevor Siemian were hitting an all-time high. He looked confident in the pocket, displaying poise and quickly delivering his throws with surgical precision to his receivers.
Those feelings quickly changed when second-year quarterback out of Northwestern made an ill-advised throw to Demaryius Thomas that was intercepted by San Francisco 49er safety Eric Reid and returned for a score.
Mistakes happen in football, but turnovers of that nature are a bane to the recipe for victory. If Siemian hopes to earn the Broncos' starting quarterback job, he will have to keep those turnovers to a minimum. At the end of his night, Siemian's state line was 10/14 for 75 yards and an interception.
Speaking of mistakes, the next man up to show his teammates and coaches he deserves to be the teams' starting quarterback was Mark Sanchez.
It wasn’t pretty, but at times, Sanchez displayed the toughness and grit necessary to be the teams’ starting quarterback playing behind the Broncos' second-team offensive line. He moved the chains well and had an impressive 10 completions out of 14 attempts for 120 yards, but unfortunately, the 'Sanchize" NFL faithful have come to know over the course of the career reared his ugly head once more.
He fumbled the ball twice (resulting in turnovers) in the last three minutes of the first half when the Broncos had opportunities to put points on the board. Those turnovers are simply unacceptable, especially from a veteran quarterback who has been in the league as long as he has.
Mark was given the reins to start the second half, but looked rattled and tossed three straight errant throws that led to an early Broncos exit from the field. Failure to overcome adversity in a positive manner is a tell tale sign that you shouldn’t be leading a team into battle on the gridiron. That's been the modus operandi of Sanchez dating back to his days at the University of California.
Sanchez has three turnovers in just under two quarters of play this preseason. To put it mildly, that will not do, not at all.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 21, 2016
Sanchez now has three turnovers in less than two full quarters of play in the preseason. His penchant for turning the ball over will not bode well for his aspirations to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback, nor be beneficial for the team at all. These perils simply cannot happen. They put the team in holes that are extraordinarily hard to dig out of and perhaps most importantly, kill team morale.
He hasn't changed since then, so why should Broncos fans expect him to change now?
If anything, the blunders of Siemian and Sanchez may have paved the way for rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch to have the opportunity to be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback when they open the season at home against the Carolina Panthers.
To me, the biggest winner out of the quarterback Broncos quarterback carousel was rookie Paxton Lynch, who showed Houdini-like ability in the pocket and provided the stagnant Broncos offense with a spark they desperately needed.
Lynch was 15/26 on the night for 113 yards and threw two touchdown passes. The scoring drives (80 and 76 yards respectively) were impressive. He did all this despite playing with a third-string offensive line that was beyond horrendous and a group of skill positions players who will most certainly not be on the final roster two weeks from now.
He may have had a game-ending interception that sealed the victory for the 49ers, but it wasn't a poorly thrown ball and it was a risk he had to take if the Broncos wanted a chance at moving the ball downfield to tie the game.
We all witnessed why he was the teams' first-round draft selection. His incredible arm was on display, along with his ability to progress through his reads and maneuver in and out of the pocket. Why not give him a chance to showcase his talents with the first-team players next week against the Los Angeles Rams?
At this point in time, I believe he has earned it. We will be able to evaluate Lynch better if he gets to play with the teams' best players and truly see who is deserving of being the starting quarterback of this squad in 2016. What do the Broncos have to lose by doing so?
Absolutely nothing, but they may lose a lot of games and the faith of their fan base if the two quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart don't get the ball moving in the right direction sooner than later.
Hart’s Quick Hits:
- LB Zaire Anderson may be undersized, but it isn’t always the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog. The former Nebraska product came up big for the Broncos defense tonight and forced two fumbles that were recovered by teammates. Look for Anderson to play a big role for Denver this season.
- Another LB looking to find a spot on the team is veteran Dekoda Watson, who had a big forced fumble and a sack this evening. Look for him to be one of the teams’ score special team members and reserve linebackers for the squad.
- TE Virgil Green was once again a feature of the Broncos offense, snagging 4 catches for 57 yards over the course of the first half. Green was widely regarded as one of better receiving tight ends in his draft and after a long wait, seems to be poised to shows prowess in that regard in 2016. The Broncos have been creative with drawing up plays for Green who has 7 catches on 7 targets for 83 yards thus far in August.
- Rookie WR’s Khalif Raymond or Bralon Addison did look competent on kick-off and punt return duties for the Broncos. If that sort of trend continues, expect veteran Jordan Norwood to make the team’s final 53 man roster, while the aforementioned are relegated to the practice squad.
- Another week of football, another disastrous performance by OL Michael Schofield. It’s never a good sign when his is constantly getting beat on the field by aspiring NFL hopefuls who will more than likely be taking their talents to cell phone kiosks across the USA just a few weeks from today. It’s time that Denver gets serious about investing in their offensive line and find quality players who can contribute in the trenches for the long-haul, be it in free agency or with an early selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- Undrafted rookie free agent CB John Tidwell had a rough night and was continuously picked on by Christian Ponder. Tidwell gave up a handful of first downs and a 30 yard touchdown strike to Dres Anderson.
- OL Darrion Weems left the field early in the second quarter and was evaluated for a concussion.
- LB Corey Nelson left the field in the second quarter with an apparent injury to his right forearm.
- In an on the field interview, WR Emmanuel Sanders stated the Broncos first-team offense will play the entire first half next week against the Los Angeles Rams.