Denver Broncos: Quarterback battle breakdown, 2017 Edition

May 23, 2017; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) during organized training activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2017; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) during organized training activities at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos have two young quarterbacks who each saw time as starter last season. One player must step up as the playoffs hang in the balance.

NFL minicamps have opened. OTAs and training camps are getting underway. We are officially out of the offseason and into the preseason. With that, it is time to speculate wildly on everything from depth charts to position battles to standings to signings.

Related Story: Chicago Bears Quarterback Battle Breakdown

We debated quarterback battles in Cleveland and Chicago, as well as Cincinnati‘s running back battle. Now we turn to a battle raging in Denver, as the Broncos must decide who plays quarterback. This battle will be fascinating. Let’s handicap the proceedings.

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss the Denver Broncos in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Denver Broncos QB Contenders

Trevor Siemian
Paxton Lynch


Todd Salem: This is a two-person race. Though the Broncos drafted Chad Kelly this year, it would be quite a disaster if he saw starts this season. Instead, it will come down to Siemian and Lynch, the former seventh-round pick versus the first-round guy.

After being selected in 2015, Siemian sat for a year. Then, last season, he was the legit starter, being the man under center for 14 of 16 games. Lynch was taken in 2016 and garnered two starts as a rookie. One start came in October; the other in December. So it wasn’t like a shift took place at a certain point.

This was Siemian’s job when he was healthy, even though he was pretty pedestrian. Siemian was essentially the 20th-best quarterback in the league last year. He ranked right around there in every rate stat.

Dan Salem: The Denver Broncos are in a funny situation. It wasn’t so long ago that Peyton Manning was under center, winning a Super Bowl for this team. Much of that championship squad was still in tact last season, yet the end result of Denver trotting out Siemian and Lynch was mixed. I believe the Broncos still have championship aspirations, but is either quarterback truly ready to lead them the distance?

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After four straight seasons with double digit wins and five years in a row finishing first in the AFC West, the Broncos fell to third last year with a 9-7 record. Siemian went 8-6 for Denver, while Lynch was 1-1 as Broncos quarterback. That type of performance will not be good enough in 2017. The AFC West is too talented.


Todd Salem: Neither of these guys were very good last season. They are also both young and still learning. Lynch has the pedigree, but far less experience. According to the Denver Post, the two are alternating first-team reps early this preseason. But Siemian is definitely going to be starting in Week 1. I don’t foresee any way Lynch will be ready to compete.

I think Siemian will be given this job all year, too. It was his last season. He wasn’t exactly good, but he wasn’t bad, and Lynch showed nothing to take snaps. If Denver was in a different situation where it was rebuilding, maybe the Broncos would throw Lynch into the fire. But this team is competing for a playoff berth under a new head coach. It surely wants some level of continuity. The new brass has no specific ties to Siemian, but neither did the previous regime. The dude was a seventh-round pick who earned the job.

Dan Salem: Denver wants Paxton Lynch to win the job this offseason. He has a higher cieling and simply lacks experience. The only way to get that is by playing and starting for the Broncos, but he must show himself to be unquestionably the better player. That is really hard to do in practice when your competition already has a leg up, but if Lynch is truly going to shine in the NFL, he will win the starting job.

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However, Trevor Siemian is going to be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos this season. He did well enough in his first year as starter to make you believe he can get better. That experience will be enough for him to out play and out shine Lynch during the offseason. Siemian might not be flashy, but if he can play mistake free football, then he’s a great choice as quarterback of the Broncos.