Dish it out, Broncos Country and Trevor Siemian fans everywhere. I’m straight up hangry for some crow.
Going into this pre-season I took a read on our QB situation. Reading the tea leaves (always a fun exercise, but only that especially in the offseason) everything I saw pointed to Paxton Lynch getting shoehorned into starting much like Trevor Siemian was in 2016 by Gary Kubiak.
That’s not what this coaching staff and Denver Broncos front office were willing to do. The QB competition was very real.
What’s cool about being wrong is that every time I do it (like maybe 2 times a year...just ask my wife), I learn something. This situation is no exception. I’ve picked up a few points that are worth talking considering in a No Bull fashion.
The Broncos are still about winning “from now on”
The mission statement isn’t changing. This team is not going to throw out a season in order to speed up the development of a quarterback. The expectations of the Broncos are that the best QB on the team is going to start so that we can win a muddy trucking game.
That’s in essence what some of us in Broncos Country would like to see (and there’s nothing wrong with that...we’re not the GM or coach of the team after all). I’m not as solid about it as I was 2 weeks ago, but I do think there is something to be said for investing on the field time into a QB in order to develop them. Time as always will tell.
Trevor Siemian deserves the start
The guy learned the offense, has more on the field experience, and flat out looked like a better QB in the preseason. We’re going to find out a whole lot about Siemian in really short order this year.
One thing I’ll say is that I haven’t changed my opinion one iota on the guy. He’s the best option we have, but that doesn’t mean he’s good. All the excuses of last season are out the window. I don’t want to hear about injuries, youth, coaching, accuracy stats, or cherry picked stats about how awesome he is against the blitz (reminder: that’s because teams don’t have to blitz him to shut down his game).
The same standard we hold to Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Tim Tebow, and Kyle Orton apply now. Siemian has some very severe areas he needs to grow in and the only reason they aren’t as horrendously bad as Lynch’s is because he got so much more experience last year. Here’s the short list of some key areas he needs to improve on this year:
- Read progression
- Intermediate passing especially across the middle and at the seams with this tight ends
- Pocket awareness
- Deep ball placement
- Staying healthy / durability (I’m not sure this is something that can be improved though)
I will say in the limited time we’ve seen him so far this preseason I haven’t seen much to indicate consistent improvement in any of these areas, but to be fair the sample size is very VERY small and the offense he and Paxton were running was very vanilla.
Paxton Lynch is still very far away from being ready
He’s a young guy with a lot of raw talent, but it really seems to me like he’s not evolving into a NFL QB at any sort of acceptable rate.
In his press conference on Monday I was kinda taken aback by his last answer:
“I’m not sure specifically what I need to do, but I’m going to take every rep I get obviously and value it even more at this point. I just really want to continue to get better and not sit around and pout and be upset about this because that’s not going to make anything better. I just want to come in day in and day out and just continue to get better.”
That’s just flat-out the wrong thing to say. Does he really not know specifically what he needs to do? Are you frigging kidding me? He has spent a year in and around NFL football. He plays the position of QB. He has had two sets of coaches training him up and yet has no ideas?
Let’s start with some good ‘ole No Bull criticism: Maybe try working harder to improve your game. Beginning with footwork and ending with reading defenses (the former is the most basic thing to work on as a QB and the latter is the most complex IMO), he is missing quite a few tools in his NFL QB tool belt.
Seriously, his game last week looked like an amalgamation of Tim Tebow (minus the charisma and fanatical following) and Trevor Siemian’s offense circa 2016. He rarely progressed through more than one read, kept the majority of his passes short and outside, and looked for running lanes (instead of keeping his eyes downfield) far too soon.
Let me harp on it again: his footwork is a big fat pile of dog turd. I’ve seen some hints of better setting of his feet, but not at all consistently. Too many times he’s throwing flat footed with a more squared up stance from what I’m seeing.
That leads into his bigger issue of inaccuracy. Because he’s relying on his big arm to do the majority of the work with his passes, the placement on his passes gets away from him far too often.
Probably the area I give him the most leeway on is reading defenses. From what I’m seeing he’s still seeing the field with a rookie lens. It seems like he’s far more focused on the route concepts his guys are running instead of any kind of visualization or sense of where the holes in the defense are and when he needs to either switch to a different read or wait for another half second for a read to come open.
Tying it all up with a nice orange and blue ribbon
If the past is any indication of the future, it is pretty highly likely we’ll see both start games this season for the Broncos. We have a lot of very good pass rushing teams to play this season and our tackles do not look polished in the pass defense department.
Both these players have some more upside to them. Both are young players fighting to make it as a NFL QB. Both are very far from the target still. At the end of the day, neither one is as awesome as the hype or as terrible as the hate. I’m looking forward to cheering for Siemian week 1. We’ll have a new running game and most importantly a revamped offensive line that will help him out in a big way and hopefully see us come away with many a win this season!