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Paxton Lynch needs to play in order for coaches to truly evaluate him

Paxton Lynch needs to play in order for Vance Joseph to fully see what he is capable of on the field.

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

On Thanksgiving Day, Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph met with the media and said some interesting things about Paxton Lynch in his interview.

Since day one, many staffers on Mile High Report have insisted that the only way to find out what you have in Lynch is to play him for a season. I kind of agreed with that. Starting Trevor Siemian made sense last year, but I felt like the Broncos were squandering time by not starting Lynch this season.

The good news is that six games is plenty of time to see growth from a quarterback. Either he has “it” and we’ll all see “it”, or he’ll be like Siemian and only a fraction will see it and argument will ensue.

The fact is, Lynch has to play to find that out.

“I would agree with that,” Joseph said of a quarterback needing to play in order to truly evaluate him. “Practice is a controlled environment. For a young guy to get better at playing quarterback he has to play in real games where things are not controlled for him, he has to make his reads and he has to overcome adversity and all of those things. That comes from playing in football games, I agree.”

Maybe Lynch is a poor practice player who is a gamer. We saw that in 2010 with Kyle Orton looking like the functional quarterback in practices, but losing games. While Tim Tebow looked like a baseball player, but went out and helped the team win games.

“That’s a good question,” Joseph said of quarterbacks proving your a starter through practice. “My experience would tell you no because you never know how the game is going to look. That’s every young guy playing from a defensive back to an offensive tackle to a quarterback. You don’t know until the live bullets start to occur. How they handle adversity, how they bounce back and what their football IQ is like on gameday. You won’t know until they play.”

Joseph seems to sense that a players true self will show itself on the football field. You won’t find many coaches who will admit that straight up.

Sadly for us (more likely than not), the greatest players in this league are great practice players and great gameday players. You don’t see many elite players in the NFL be considered “gamers” only. That tells me we shouldn’t get too excited about Lynch’s prospects down the stretch.

The Broncos need a legitimate starting quarterback in 2018. Lynch would have to play out of this world to change my mind in that regard.