The Denver Broncos began their three day mandatory mini camp this morning at Dove Valley, and for the second year in a row Broncos Country is zeroed in on the quarterback competition. Fans can only hope for some interesting developments to talk about, because after Thursday the team is off until training camp begins at the end of July.
Trevor Siemian started the day with the first team offense, but split first team reps with Paxton Lynch throughout practice. This appears to have been standard procedure through OTAs, with the QBs each starting with the ones every other day, and looks like it will continue through mini camp.
It's a Trevor day to start and sambraillo holding it down on the left side— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) June 13, 2017
Both QBs had ups and downs, including responding well immediately after throwing picks or should-have-been picks. Head Coach Vance Joseph was happy to see that, noting that overcoming bad plays had been a point of emphasis for the team a couple of weeks ago.
Let’s take a look at the main quarterbacks’ day.
Fair warning: I’m including as many notes about each QB as I can from the Twitter feed of the media members at mini camp. However, there were simply more tweets about Lynch than about Siemian.
Both quarterbacks got off to a rough start. Lynch made an ugly misread early and the errant pass was hauled in by Taurean Nixon for a pick-six. Likewise, Siemian had a bad throw early and Lorenzo Doss was there to receive it. Trevor’s luck was a little better, though, as Doss dropped the likely pick-six.
Fortunately for Broncos fans supporting either QB, they both bounced back from the bad throws in short order. Lynch’s very next throw after his interception was an accurate deep TD pass to Cody Latimer, while Siemian’s next pass after the Doss drop hit Jordan Taylor in stride as he came across the middle.
Lynch was picked off by Nixon in 7-on-7, Nixon returned it for a TD. Next play, Lynch hits Latimer for a deep TD up the right sideline.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 13, 2017
Doss nearly with a pick-6 of Siemian -- dropped. Siemian responds by hitting Taylor in stride on the next play.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 13, 2017
Siemian went on to have a decent day with some good work on short passes, but didn’t have much success passing deep. Meanwhile, Lynch endured a bit more inconsistency before apparently settling down and flashing several times with big plays.
Four throw sequence for Paxton:— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) June 13, 2017
Beauty up the seam to the TE
Lynch just keeps flashing. The pick was bad, but he's showing mental toughness. Getting plenty of reps today. #Broncos— Jake Marsing (@JakeDMarsing) June 13, 2017
If you want to contrast the two QBs’ work today, it might be fair to point to Siemian’s consistency as his highlight versus Lynch’s accurate deep shots. The question then becomes one of ball security: Can Paxton impress the coaches by keeping the ball safe while taking his deep shots? Or will Siemian’s preference for shorter passes and minimal risk taking win out?
The truth is, we won’t know the answer to that until sometime in August. Today is one of three days of mini camp, none of which will be as important as any of the days of training camp. But keep your eyes out for multi-day trends. That’s where real evidence of the course of this QB battle is going to be found.
As with any day of practice, there were highlights. Today, quite honestly, was Paxton’s day for them. We’ll see if that continues or, Siemian fans, if tomorrow will be Trevor’s day to make the big plays.
Lynch's best pass today came two snaps after his TD -- he hit TE Austin Traylor in stride past coverage downfield. Well-placed ball.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 13, 2017
Lynch hits another long one with great touch to Heuerman. Has been mostly impressive today. #Broncos— Jake Marsing (@JakeDMarsing) June 13, 2017
Lynch just flashed big time. Rolling left and hit DT on the move on a deep out. Siemian counters with great throw to Latimer. #Broncos— Jake Marsing (@JakeDMarsing) June 13, 2017
The deep passes from Lynch this month are cause for optimism. Consistently leading his WRs instead of making them come back for the ball.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 13, 2017
I'll say this, I've had moments where I felt there was solid separation between Trevor (1) and Paxton (2). I'm seeing less and less of that.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) June 13, 2017
Vance Joseph’s take
Broncos head coach Vanch Joseph spoke with the media after practice ended today, shortly before Siemian and Lynch took the podium. When the inevitable QB questions came up, his response was matter of fact. He made it clear that the competition is far from over, and that he feels it hasn’t even really begun.
Vance Joseph said that "zero to none" of the QB decision is based on OTAs and minicamp. All about training camp and preseason games.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) June 13, 2017
It seems a bit hard to believe that the quarterbacks’ work so far really does have zero impact on this future decision, but it is undoubtedly true that what happens in training camp will be far more important than this week’s practices.
Joseph also indicated that he wants to be decisive once a quarterback has taken the lead in his eyes. But he’s not putting a hard deadline on that decision yet.
“I don’t have a timetable on it. It could be the first week of camp or it could be the end of preseason. I’m not sure. When I see a clear separation, I’ll call it off.”
Good luck to both Broncos QBs. The better they do, the better off our beloved Broncos will be.