For What it’s Worth: Sizing up the Broncos

DENVER — It’s all over but the shouting.

Trevor Siemian will be the starting quarterback at Denver.  In that, he’ll become the only player in history to take over a Super Bowl winner with only a kneel down to show for a career.  Talk about rags to riches.

Did he win the job, or is he the lesser of evils?  Actually, to watch Siemian day in and out, is to appreciate the improvement he’s made and thus the upside he has.

No, his exhibition numbers haven’t made it a no-brainer: 27 of 43 for 285 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

But he’s shown a solid grasp of the offense, has been comfortable executing it with the kind of poise that belies his experience and he’s been resilient.

Will he be spectacular? He probably won’t be asked to be.

Actually, coach Gary Kubiak would probably love spectacularly consistent — connect on a high percentage of high percentage throws, hit that big one every now and then and don’t turn it over.

The Broncos turned it over 31 times last season; 23 of those came as interceptions from quarterbacks.  Beyond that, they were sacked on 39 plays — so now you know the two key areas the Broncos need marked improvement in.

Siemian won’t throw it as much as he has in the preseason, when he was being evaluated and he’s already shown a quick release, as he’s yet to be sacked through three games.

I’m not sure how many points he can deliver every week, but I do think that he gives the Broncos their best chance at having a chance offensively.

By the way, don’t count me as one of those who claimed that this job was Mark Sanchez’s to lose.  After listening to Kubiak talk about Siemian since the start of OTA’s, I’m not so sure that Sanchez wasn’t brought here to be a backup to Siemian in the first place.

What about Sanchez?

Paxton Lynch could be a good quarterback in this league, but probably not this year.  Sanchez remains a decent veteran backup option and, by all accounts, an even better teammate.

I know the Broncos could save a little money against the salary cap and keep a seventh-round draft pick by cutting him, but they need a viable safety net for Siemian.

With cuts looming, a bunch of quarterbacks are about to hit the streets, so if the Broncos are looking, there will be plenty to find.

Maybe the Broncos ask him to take a salary cut, which I can’t imagine him accepting as he knows he has value in the open market.  More than likely they’ll try to trade him, if they haven’t already.

Saving up

The Broncos have already asked punter Britton Colquitt to take a pay cut, so trying to get Sanchez to reorganize his deal seems likely.  The Broncos are mindful what it’ll cost to keep Emmanual Sanders after this season. At his current rate of $4.8 million he’s one of the biggest bargains in the NFL.

The bottom line

With most of the heavy lifting in the preseason already done, not much has really changed in terms of questions and expectations.  We know the Broncos are going to be unyielding on defense, with most, if not all, of their concerns on offense.

Quarterback has been exhaustively chronicled, the front five has good potential, but hasn’t developed any continuity because of injuries.  There appears to be good depth at running back, but their success is largely contingent on the offensive line.

The receiving corps is as deep and talented as any in the NFL and special teams are always good under coach Joe DeCamillis.

While the Broncos seem to be in position to be as good as they were a year ago, the variables come in the rest of the division.  Kansas City, which should have beaten the Broncos twice, feels it’s markedly better, as does Oakland.

In other words, the AFC West should be the most competitive division in the NFL.