The rise of Chad Kelly continued on Tuesday. The preseason star who elevated himself from third-team to second-team after the first preseason game received a handful of first-team reps.
Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, Case Keenum is the unquestioned starter at quarterback, but these first-team reps are noteworthy.
Vance Joseph was asked about Chad Kelly getting a few first-team reps in practice today. Joseph said it was “really card team,” but:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 21, 2018
“As the backup quarterback, you’re one play away from being the starter. That’s always good reps for him to be in the huddle with those players.”
These reps are noteworthy because as the backup quarterback, you’re one big blindside hit away from going from sitting on the bench to under center in a regular season NFL game. You need experience with the starting center and be able to build some chemistry with the starting wide receivers on the first-team offense.
After practice today, Head Coach Vance Joseph touched on this topic when asked about Kelly’s first-team reps.
“It’s good work for him, but it’s really card (scout) team…that’s always good to be in the huddle with [C] Matt Paradis and D.T. (WR Demaryius Thomas) and those guys because it could happen. As the backup quarterback, you want to play for being the starter. That’s always good reps for him to be in the huddle with those players.”
Joseph did down-play these reps, but every rep with the first-team offense is important for a young and inexperienced quarterback who is trying to prove he can be the backup quarterback.
The Broncos have been rumored to be in the market for a veteran quarterback to be the backup to Case Keenum. However, Kelly’s play has made the team re-think this course of action and this(speculation on my part) could be a sign that they plan on going into the season with Kelly as the backup.
Speaking of backups, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported on Tuesday that the Broncos have no interest in Teddy Bridgewater as a backup quarterback. His tweet indicates that they would kick the tires if Keenum were injured, but he is(thankfully) healthy.
It’s my understanding the Broncos have no interest in Teddy Bridgewater as long as Case Keenum is healthy. Keenum is the guy and Denver has no interest in Bridgewater as a backup.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) August 21, 2018
This makes sense for many reasons. The Broncos want to avoid any quarterback competitions and bringing in Bridgewater would open that messy door again. Also, his price tag is pretty high and it wouldn’t be good General Managing to spend a premium pick or two on a player you hope sits on the bench for all 16 games.
For now, the backup quarterback job is Chad Kelly’s but Vance Joseph continues to leave the door open for the team to add a veteran starter.
“So far, he’s doing a great job. I can’t say what more he can do. Obviously, we’ve got two more games, so continue to play well. Things do change in this league, but right now, he is our backup quarterback and he’s done a fine job for us. He’s been really competitive, he’s played fast and he’s played with confidence. He’s moved the ball. What more can you ask from a player? Our thoughts are always you earn your job on the field. He’s doing that. Kudos to Chad.”
If Kelly continues to play how he has through the first two weeks of the preseason, the backup quarterback job is surely his in my opinion. Any hiccups could lead to the team to bring in a veteran, however. The fact they continue to leave the door open tells me that they may have an option or two who they believe will or is already available who can serve as their backup.
Kelly has two weeks and likely a start in the preseason finale to prove he can be the backup quarterback for the Broncos. If he continues to play like he has, the job is his. Hell, the Broncos actions recently show it may already be his job.
Either way, the Broncos finally have a promising young quarterback on the roster. After the tall disappointments recently, this is music to every Broncos fans ears.