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Is a QB competition going ‘down to the wire’ good for the Broncos?

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The Afternoon Drive considers at what point it’s best for the offense to know who is ‘their guy.’

NFL: Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When Vance Joseph took to the podium last week after the first OTA meeting, he reiterated there would be an open competition at quarterback and noted that he “hoped” it would “go down to the wire.”

A week later Emmanuel Sanders told the press he had no problem with the “competition” taking time and receivers not having a clear picture yet of who their signal caller was going to be.

“Obviously the earlier that we can get clarity, the better. But do we want to rush that process? No. We don’t want to rush that process,” Sanders said.

But Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro asked an interesting question on The Afternoon Drive to former Broncos wide receiver Mike Pritchard and current sports radio show host in Las Vegas - “Do you really want the competition to go down to the wire or do you want to know your guy as early as possible?”

Pritchard’s answer was basically that it depends whether it’s competition at a high level, making the decision tough on coaches, or whether “both guys stink leaving you in a world of hurt.”

Although OTAs is too early to expect a starter to emerge, Pritchard would hope one guy would stand out sooner rather than later so training camp can be more effective.

“I’d really like to see someone distinguish himself, really step up and separate,” said Pritchard, who caught passes from John Elway during the Broncos’ 1994 and 1995 seasons.

Ideally, he says, that’s happening at least by the third preseason game, so the quarterback really has a chance to establish himself and be playing at a high level with a lot of confidence by the start of the regular season.

“You’ll have the clearcut leader. There won’t be any doubt. And you’ll have a QB and a leader you can play with on Sunday,” he added.

As for Sanders apparent company line quote, Pritchard believes that was “a good media answer.”

Is ‘competition’ good for the team?

Either way, it’s an interesting question and one I’ve thought about a lot since Joseph’s comments on the matter back in January.

Since Trevor Siemian had earned the starter job last season, it stands to reason he keeps that position until he loses it. And with a first-round draft pick QB on the roster, it equally stands to reason that that guy was chosen with the expectation of being an eventual starter.

So a “quarterback competition” seems the natural outcome and not particularly newsworthy since the guy previously playing the starting role (Siemian) did not clearly dominate in the position, and the guy backing him up (Lynch) is still adjusting to NFL-level play.

At what point do coaches need to be able to tell who is going to have a quicker learning curve in the offensive scheme and just put him as QB1 and move forward?

I, personally, am not a fan of QB competitions that go down to the wire. Although Sanders and every other Broncos receiver will tell us it doesn’t matter, I don’t buy it. I’m sure they would definitely prefer to know as soon as possible (and, to be fair, Sanders certainly indicated that was the case and that obviously knowing earlier is better).

But my point is that I hope Joseph - and more specifically, Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave - study these two guys day and night so they can determine and name the starter early in training camp - preferably the first week.

Give him the reins and don’t make it a “let’s see how you do and then we’ll see how the other guy does and then maybe we’ll alternate a few preseason games and then we’ll decide in September.”

That wishy-washy approach last year into the beginning of the regular season didn’t help Siemian establish himself as a leader; it didn’t help Lynch recognize how he could be preparing as the backup; it didn’t help the receivers develop chemistry with one guy.

It was a total disaster (to borrow a popular phrase).

So let me ask you, Broncos Country ...

Poll

By when would you like to see Broncos name their starting quarterback this season?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    After OTAs and mini-camps
    (139 votes)
  • 35%
    Midway through Training Camp
    (289 votes)
  • 27%
    At least the third preseason game
    (218 votes)
  • 3%
    First regular season game
    (31 votes)
  • 12%
    As long as it takes
    (104 votes)
  • 1%
    "Shasta"
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    "SaguaroBronco" (disagree with poll :) )
    (15 votes)
806 votes total Vote Now