All eyes are on the Denver Broncos quarterbacks for the next month. Trevor Siemian, the incumbent starter, and Paxton Lynch, the promising high draft pick, are embroiled in a competition to win the starting quarterback job for 2017. It’s the most important position battle in training camp, but they are both taking it in stride with positive attitudes.
When asked directly about the competition, Lynch tackled it head.
“It definitely feels like you’re getting closer to the season,” Lynch said of the competition at quarterback. “Getting into training camp, you start making your roster cuts, and start actually playing preseason games. You get a chance to run around a little bit. You get a chance to see how you perform against actual defense. I think Trevor and I have competed the whole way. It’s always been a competition between us; pushing each other up until this point. I think that we just have to do it the same way. You just have to worry about yourself to make the team better. You worry about yourself and make yourself better, and the guys around you better. That’s how I’m viewing it.”
Watching the interview live, you could tell Lynch relishes the chance to talk about competition. He loves that part of the game. The question still remains whether he can put the desire towards consistent on-the-field production.
“I think we have great competition all across the board,” Siemian said of the quarterback competition. “This is our first day and guys staying up, you want to get in and out of the huddle and have good mechanics on the first day and I think we did that.”
Unsatisfied with that answer, the media on hand offered up a follow-up question that Siemian answered with much more detail.
“Not for me,” Siemian said responding to whether the quarterback competition feels different this year. “I try to take it day by day and make the big things small. For me, it’s pretty easy. I just want to be better than I was yesterday. Hopefully the number 13 that rolls out of the locker room tomorrow is better than the ‘slappy’ that rolled out here today. That’s really all I’m trying to do and if I can make the big things small, which I’ve tried to do really since I got drafted, hopefully things will work out.”
The sidestepping of the competition question appears to be more about Siemian’s displeasure with his play during practice than anything. Given how frank he was, we should expect him to come out strong on Friday. This competition won’t be decided in the first weekend.
He’ll need that, because Lynch is looking comfortable in this offense. The deer-in-headlights look is completely gone and Lynch is focused on his game.
“Honestly, it feels like night and day,” Lynch said of his comfort level this year. “I feel way more comfortable out there with those guys. I can kind of be myself a little bit more. Last year, I just felt like I was tip-toeing away trying to learn things and figure everything out at once instead of sitting back and getting a plan and sticking to it. But now, I think I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable. I found a regime to stick to and a plan to stick to, and it’s worked pretty well. I feel like through OTAs and even through the first day, I’ve continuously gotten better every day.”
That all starts in the meeting rooms. Bill Musgrave, the Broncos quarterback coach, has taken both young quarterbacks under his wing. The environment may be competitive, but its also cooperative.
“I think we’ve got a really good room,” Siemian said of the chemistry between quarterbacks. “Coach Musgrave is leading the circus in there and he’s doing a good job. We’re really lucky to have him. We’ve got a great room and [Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks’ Coach] Klint’s [Kubiak] in there helping us out. We’re not hiding information from one another. We’ve got a good thing going and we’re competing. We’re pushing each other. It’s a good deal for us.”
That is exactly what you want in this situation. Both quarterback contenders working together, pushing each other, helping each other towards a single ultimate goal - to make the team better. Whether that be Siemian under center week 1 or Lynch.
It all starts with the coaching staff and Musgrave especially.
“It’s great honestly because they push you to be the best guy you can be,” Lynch said of Musgrave and his assistants. “But they also get how you see things and the way you’re viewing things. They have a lot of great advice for you. If you were to mess something up, you have those guys who are a lot smarter and wiser than you, at least at this age, coaching and helping you through it. It makes it a lot easier, especially having a guy like Coach Musgrave who you’re around a lot. He’s sort of laid back and coaching you a little bit more instead of getting onto you and getting into you.”
I won’t give you a grade on who won Day 1 of Broncos Camp, but I do feel reading and listening about what the quarterbacks are saying is an excellent way to understand each player’s mindset.
Right now, it feels like the competition is healthy and both quarterbacks are fighting hard, grinding each day, to win this job. Lynch may have stolen the first day, but its just the first day of many.