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This QB conundrum is becoming a drag - do we keep playing Keenum or is it time for $wag?

Silly poems aside, the MHR staff weighs in on preferences for what to do with this QB problem.

Denver Broncos v New York Jets Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

After five games and a cumulative quarterback rating of 78.1 and also the worst Red Zone QB in the league at 42.5, Case Keenum is not proving the savior of the Broncos’ offense that it needed him to be.

But is it too early to give up on him?


Does it really make any sense to put the season in the hands of a second-year quarterback who showed promise against second- and third-stringers but has absolutely no track record in real NFL games?

Probably not, but that never stops Broncos Country from calling for a change because things have not gone as planned.

And in all fairness, after two years of watching a good start deteriorate rapidly behind sub-standard quarterback play, it’s not crazy to wonder if there’s something better that could salvage this offense.

So in an all-too-soon conversation, Mile High Report writers are here to take on the tough questions - should Chad Kelly make his NFL starting debut this season for the Broncos, and when should that be if at all?

Joe Mahoney:

We gave Trevor Siemian seven starts in 2017 before he was benched, but I don’t think we have to go that far into the season before turning the ball over to Chad Kelly to see what we have. I have no delusion that this team is going to be competitive with Case Keenum at QB. The are too many other problems with the team right now. The Cards paid Sam Bradford more than we paid Keenum, and they are playing Josh Rosen now.

You shouldn’t compound a bad free agent-signing by going down with a sinking ship. Board the life raft if you have one. $wag is our life raft. We have no clue if he’s seaworthy, but the USS Keenum is taking on water fast, and we are out of patches.

Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Pulling Case Keenum right now - even after three bad performances in a row - still feels like a Hail Mary, and it’s not the fourth quarter yet. With the best team in the NFL on the horizon, that seems like a terrible time “to see what we’ve got” in Chad Kelly. I’d rather see Bill Musgrave do a better job scheming around Keenum’s obvious weaknesses because while I believe Keenum is a big problem for the offense, the OC’s inability to account for that is driving me crazy.

But I’m also not opposed to benching Keenum if there’s more of the same from him - and I would use the Rams game as the test. If he comes out firing on all cylinders - even if the Broncos are behind - No. 4 stays in the game and remains the starter against Arizona and the Texans. If he’s at least competent in those games, he’s the guy going forward, no questions asked.

But if halftime of the Rams game is already a blowout, then bench the starter and go with $wag. If Kelly proves awful, then at least the Broncos know what the offseason needs will be. Again.

And if Kelly holds his own, then Broncos know how to finish the season.

Taylor Kothe:

If Keenum continues the level of play he’s shown so far, we’ll probably see Chad Kelly take the field before our Week 10 bye. That said, if there was a consistent theme regarding the QBs back in training camp, it was that Keenum was clearly better than the other two. And just because Keenum has fallen to the Siemian/Osweiler/Lynch level doesn’t mean that Kelly has somehow vaulted upward in response.

If or when he plays, expect him to struggle. Especially with this coaching staff. It’ll be the 2017 Osweiler/Lynch backup show all over again. I like Kelly’s style, and I think he has potential, but honestly at this point, my faith in this coaching staff is so low that I might rather see Kelly stay on the bench all season if only so they don’t ruin him.

Tim Lynch:

The problem isn’t so much Case Keenum as it is poor coaching in all phases. The answer at quarterback can only be solved by a new coaching staff, which will be impossible to find this late into a season.

The Broncos should not even consider Chad Kelly until the season is absolutely lost and by then they would have an interim head coach. Unfortunately, those are the only viable options for this team in 2018.

Pete Baron:

I’ve called for Chad Kelly since LAST YEAR!!! He was redshirted, so all I could really say was “next year he’ll get his shot.” Well, next year is NOW! Everyone has always written this kid off, and he’s proved them wrong time and time again. Kelly practices with the same urgency and dedication as Peyton Manning. Kelly studies the film and refuses to take the credit for his on-field success, which he gladly deflects to his teammates, and he always says “we can get better. I need to watch the film and improve.” When was the last time we heard things like that from a QB? Oh yeah, No. 18.

People write him off with the “he hasn’t done squat yet.” Well, we heard “he hasn’t played football in 600 days, he’s gonna suck” before Preseason game 1. Only to watch him prove everyone wrong and light it up. “Yeah, but it’s against people who won’t be in the NFL. He’s gonna fail if he gets the backup spot” only to see him do even better with the lights on. “Yeah, but he can’t do it two games in a row” only to see him do it again. This kid has first round talent and a chip on his shoulder the size of Tom Brady’s chip.

Want a list of QBs who “haven’t proven anything, so why start them and give them a chance!” ?? Do you? Ok, here we go - Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Jost Rosen, Josh Allen, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Mitch Tribusky, Deshaun Watson. None of them proved a damn thing until they were given their shot. Sure, they may have struggled some and had spotty success (minus Mahomes and Mayfield), but you saw the glimmer of hope. You saw the potential. They energized their teams and their fanbases. It’s time for the Broncos to do the same thing.

Two years ago we were too gutless to bench an underperforming QB for our first-rounder. It ended disastrously. Last year was rinse and freaking repeat. This year? Are we THIS FREAKING STUPID to keep the last two year’s of broken mentality going? We need to start Kelly and start him soon. We will find out if he’s the future, or if we need to mortgage the team to get a QB next year. But we’ll never find that out if we keep with the tired and failed narrative of “I’m too freaking scared to bench this QB for the unknown” ... yeah, because that’s worked SOOOOO WELL in the past. Pathetic.

Our coaching staff is straight up PATHETIC if they allow that loser’s lament mentality to play out on the field. Start Keenum against the Rams if you must, but by halftime when it’s 31-3, it’s time to usher in the Chad Kelly era. I want to see $wag destroy the Cardinals, and I want to see $wag march his ass into Arrowhead and go blow for blow with Mahomes! Elway vs Montana, round 2. Ding freaking Ding!

Joe Rowles:

Keep Keenum in for the Rams game. It doesn’t make much sense to put Kelly in before the Cardinals since it’s a short week, but if Keenum fails over the next two games, and the Broncos leave Arizona 2-5? It’s time.

The truth of the matter is, at that point the season is more than ceremoniously done and it’s time to see if Kelly’s worth holding onto as a potential 1 next year. After last week, I started looking ahead to next year’s QB class and as sad as this is, the Broncos are likely to be stuck in no man’s land at QB because Elway chose Bradley Chubb this year.

Ian St. Clair:

I’m in agreement with Tim on this. The time to solve the quarterback problems was the offseason. You have to roll with who you brought … at least until the clock strikes midnight on this dance. Then and only then does Denver make the switch to Kelly.

Adam Malnatti

The issue with the quarterback is that Case Keenum is exactly what he has been most of his career. The Broncos gambled on his one outlier year becoming the norm for him. It has not materialized, and now they are on the hook for $18 million per year for a guy who has spent his career bouncing around and not working out. It had to be telling that Minnesota never really moved to keep him.

Still, the issues on this team start and stop with one guy, Vance Joseph. I don’t care if you trot out Zeus himself, there will be no lightning and thunder until Joseph is gone. He was essentially called out by Derek Wolfe after the game. If they want to play Chad Kelly to see what they have, I’m fine with that. Keenum or Kelly doesn’t make any difference until Joseph is gone.

Casey Barrett:

Ugh. It’s really stressful being a Broncos fan. When you don’t actually know what’s happening in the locker room, or in the front office meetings, or the film meetings, it’s frustrating.

This is my observation about out QB situation - Keenum looks tight, timid and unable to relax. I don’t know why. We have seen him play relaxed briefly this season. We saw more of that last season when he was in Minnesota. So, what’s changed?

First he’s not the backup coming in with nothing to lose, he is now the starter. He is also playing for John Elway. While most people may think “so?” I think it’s important to put that in perspective. In Denver, Elway can do no wrong, and if he does, no one will tell him. Currently, Joe Ellis is the only one who could tell him, but no one I know sees that happening. Ever.

In Broncos land, coaching is a hot topic, and rightfully so. But do we know where the issue lies? Is it scheme? Is it in the locker room? Is it looming from the press box? Unfortunately, we don’t know. So what’s next? I feel like we’re in a “do or die” situation with the players regarding coaches. If the players believe in the coaches, they need to show up and prove they’re willing to move forward with the way things are. If they cannot respond, tough decisions will have to be made.

My concern with switching QBs right now is more psychological. The entire team was/is very supportive of what Keenum brings to the table as a leader. Constant support. We know very, very little of what Chad Kelly can do with starters, against starters. The coverage of what Chad Kelly is went by the way side after Paxton Lynch was let go. We knew he was the No. 2 QB, but beyond that, it’s a mystery as to how well he can perform and if his teammates will follow him.

I’m not ready to jump off the USS Keenum, but something has got to give. I for one want to see the offense go balls to the wall next week, because I feel that we have to, otherwise we will be 2-5 with three losses where we we weren’t even close to closing out the game.

Jeffrey Essary:

Changing quarterbacks at this point is a bandaid on one arm while the other is falling off Monty Python style.

Case hasn’t played well and is looking more like Fiona the Ogre instead of the Cinderella we were promised, but he’s not the one the players have quit on. He’s not the one the players have essentially called out nearly every week. He’s not the one deciding to give an on-fire running back averaging 7.5 YPC (!!!) over the last two games 13 friggin carries.....Total! He’s not the one missing tackles left and right, not covering a soul in the passing game, and blowing assignments on the reg.

Derek Wolfe is correct. This team’s issues go way deeper than making a change at QB. Last year that might have been a solve, but this year is wayyy too late for that.

So to answer the question, I don’t care who we put under center, this team isn’t winning more than two games the rest of the year with either of them until they fix the rest of their issues.

Broncos Country

Which CK is the right one the rest of this season?