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Lynch, Siemian welcome QB competition - again

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Not that they have any choice, but it’s still the right approach as OTAs get underway.

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Vance Joseph has made it clear since he was hired as Broncos head coach in January that his two young quarterbacks were going to compete for the starting job.

Neither Trevor Siemian’s one-year experience last season as starting QB nor Paxton Lynch’s athletic arm could demand the starter job before OTAs and minicamp, and likely even training camp.

"It is open—50-50. We have these two young guys that have bright futures. It’s open and it’s going to go down to the wire, I hope," Joseph said earlier this week. "The best guys will play."

And although Siemian and Lynch don’t really have a choice, both are embracing this competitive atmosphere.

"Obviously I believe in myself to be the starter this year," Lynch said Thursday after the third day of OTAs. "I’m going to work hard just like I did last year. I’m going to learn the offense, get extra work with these guys when I can and be in the building as much as I can at this time. That’s what I’m aiming for. That’s what I want to do."

Siemian was equally confident, adding that in the NFL it’s a competition for a spot every game, every week, every day.

"I think you learn pretty quickly, or at least I did, that you’re got to earn it every year and every day in the league," he said, noting it goes beyond him and Lynch. "That is everybody. If you’re not playing well, earning a job, earning a spot or getting worse, you’re not going to last very long. That is the reality of the thing."

And it’s the very current reality for Lynch and Siemian who are vying to be the guy who can take advantage of Pro Bowl receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and get them in the end zone repeatedly so the Broncos defense can do its aggressive elite thing and not have to stay on the field three-quarters of the game.

No matter which guy gets that nod, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the "scoring" realm of the job. Last year’s offense went past the 30-point mark just once in the season and five times couldn’t get more than 16 points, with three of those hitting 10 points or less.

Returning offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has a solution for that, and it involves more shotgun and more deep throws.

Lynch is excited by this.

"I came into this being very confident and ready to work hard," Lynch said, adding he knows he’ll be in the shotgun a little bit more. "That is one thing I am definitely excited about just because my whole college system was shotgun really. I know we’re going to have to get under center. Pressing the ball downfield, I’m definitely excited about that, too. Having the opportunity to run around a little bit, that excites me."

And Siemian, who has a deeper understanding of what the offense couldn’t accomplish last year, is focused on addressing Denver’s red zone issues.

"Obviously, we want to be better on third downs," Siemian said. "Whether that is me throwing it, running it or ditching it or running the ball better on third and short, however it works. As a quarterback, whether it is me or Paxton, we have to get better there, stay on the field and hopefully score a ton of points."

As the QB competition gets underway in the coming weeks, both players will be drawing on what they learned last year. No longer a rookie, Lynch is looking forward to a second year of experience reading NFL defenses after going up against one of the best every day in practice.

"In the NFL, they can line up one way and they can be in something totally different you’ve never seen before," Lynch recalled of some differences between college and pro football. "That just comes with more reps, seeing it, being out there on the field and getting the chance to go against it."

Siemian definitely appreciates his game reps last year and considers it an easy answer when noting the difference between starting out two seasons – "I played."

"You can’t substitute those reps. I learned that pretty quickly," Siemian said, adding that he felt more comfortable by the end of the season. "It just felt easier for me. I saw things a little better. You just can’t substitute those reps, so hopefully that helps me out."It may seem odd to support the guy you’re trying to take a job from, but both Siemian and Lynch insist they can be friends/teammates as well as each other’s competition.

"We’re still good," Lynch said. "At the end of the day, we’re still guys and we’re still friends. He helps me, and I help him as much as I can."

One place both quarterbacks are genuinely excited to get more help is along the offensive line. The Broncos acquired Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson via free agency and are expecting the two to bolster the O-line and better protect whichever quarterback is standing back there.

"Big guys who obviously have played well. I’m excited to have them. I think with the group we’ve got in there, we added some size and some physicality. It’s going to help me out, the backs, the receivers, everybody," Siemian said. "But now it’s an important time for us to just establish that culture up there and up front. It starts with those guys. I’m looking forward to playing with those guys."

And if it happens to be Lynch who wins the job, the rookie-no-more hopes to show his teammates he is ready for this.

"I want to show everybody in the locker room that I can lead the team and do whatever it takes to earn their respect and trust," Lynch said. "That is not just the guys in the locker room, but the guys upstairs, too, and the coaches."

And everyone else is just looking for the guy who can help the team get back to its winning ways.

"We didn’t make the playoffs last year, and that was tough for us, tough for the coaches, the front office, everybody," Siemian noted. "That is what you want. You want the expectations to be there."

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