A report from practice a few days ago, by our own Ian St. Clair, ruffled some feathers on this site and had some folks crying fowl (see what I did there?), accusing the writer of slanting a report or glossing over facts to fit a narrative.
I typically don’t write stuff like this, but I thought I’d attempt to offer some context to this situation that might be helpful. I guess I should start with the obligatory, “I don’t care who the heck starts at QB as long as they win games.” Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin.
As of the last week, training camp is officially over. This means that practices are closed to the public (that’s us), and have some restrictions on credentialed media (they can’t write about scheme specific stuff, personnel alignments, etc.)
Thus, we no longer have eyes and ears on the ground being able to tell anyone what they are seeing; we have to rely on local media and what we can glean from their insights. Which is typically not a problem.
However, on the 23rd, the first day back at practice under these new guidelines, we started seeing some interesting tweets flying in about the quarterbacks, particularly Paxton Lynch. Reports of multiple pick sixes and 3 total INTs came in, and we were poised to write the crap out of it. No Fly Zone feasts on rookie was the headline.
Then, Andrew Mason came out with an interesting clarification. Something that had been left out of the original tweets from various local media sources was that two of the INTs came while Lynch was running the scout team.
This is interesting because this is the first time the Broncos have game planned like the regular season and thus, it was the first time we’ve had to ask or clarify scout team vs. normal reps, because scout team has Lynch running the Rams offense. Well, that changes things, because in the scout team, the offense has to give certain looks and are prescribed to play a certain way, not to mention running an unfamiliar scheme.
I know they give me opportunities to run with the scout team and throw 7-on-7 team stuff, even though you have to throw the ball just to give them a look sometimes, so you kind of force stuff and there’s going to be turnovers. I think that definitely helps you adjust to the game and getting use to those reps against those guys.”
Gary Kubiak characterized it this way:
“It definitely helps, but boy is it tough. The kid is out here today running the Rams’ offense and the Broncos’ offense. It’s very difficult. I shouldn’t say that because he’s going to know I said that. That’s what gives you a chance to get better. You have to wear a lot of hats if you’re going to play in the NFL and be a young player on a team. You have to come out here on a given day and do a lot of things. You have to work the other team’s stuff well and work your stuff well.
So regardless how you feel about each quarterback, I think we can all agree that there is a difference in scout team reps, and regular team reps. This by no means excuses turnovers, but rather it puts them in context. And by the same token, if you ever hear of Sanchez or Siemian throwing picks during scout team duty, it is no cause for alarm (well, actually if either of those guys are running the scout team, there might be cause for alarm because it would mean they were demoted to third string, but you get the point).
Take yesterday’s fare for instance. Here is a tweet we saw from Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post.
It's just practice, but Paxton Lynch has thrown two interceptions today to Chris Harris and Shaq Barrett. He threw 3 yesterday.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 24, 2016
Now, while that is a fact, taken merely at face value that tweet means one thing. But, several folks (including some members here at MHR) replied and asked if those interceptions over the last two days were scout team or normal reps. Wolfe didn’t respond but ...
Matter of fact, he does. Two of his 3 INTs were with scout team. Every great QB has days like this as a rookie. https://t.co/yGG4yqOY6W— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 23, 2016
So instead of “5 picks in two days,” we’re really at one pick per day running the Broncos offense.
Does this mean he’s ready to start? Who knows. Does this mean he’s the guy? Who knows. Does this provide helpful context? Absolutely.
No matter who we are talking about, the Broncos fans deserve to have all the facts and the full context to form our opinions. What you do with it from there, is totally up to you.