Following their victory in Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos saw their split-QB situation dissolve as Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler jumped ship to take a big deal in Houston. This left the defending Super Bowl champions without a starting QB, or did it?
Just over a month after losing both Manning and Osweiler, the Broncos struck a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles where they traded a late round draft pick in exchange for the veteran signal caller, Mark Sanchez. The 8th year veteran is coming off a two-year stint with the Eagles where he accumulated over 3,000 passing yards to go with 18 TDs and 15 INTs – he also started 10 games. Prior to that, Sanchez is best known for leading the New York Jets to consecutive AFC Championship games early on in his career. Or most notoriously known for the “butt fumble”. Looking at the current depth chart, Sanchez is set to be the week one starter, right? Not so fast.
The Broncos traded up in the first round to secure Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, but he’s not who is providing competition at the QB position – not just yet at least. The man challenging Sanchez for the starting job under center is former 7th round pick out of Northwestern, Trevor Siemian. The 250th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has a serious shot at developing into the Broncos’ starting QB as we progress through the early phases of training camp into the preseason.
What made Siemian so special at Northwestern was his feisty competitiveness. The former Wildcat was a great leader on the field and is the type of guy to bring the best out of his teammates. He has good size and plus athleticism. However, he was known for his poor decision making during his tenure in the Big Ten. He finished his career with a completion percentage under 60% and even threw more INTs than TD passes as a senior. The arm talent is there, he just needs to display better consistency and of course decision making.
For Siemian to actually win the starting job, a lot has to go into his favor. The experience of Sanchez seemingly makes him the prototypical bridge QB to fill the void under center up until Lynch is ready to step foot onto the field. The makeup of this team is similar to those of the Jets teams he led to the AFC Championship game years ago. While they lost some key pieces in the offseason, Denver still has a great defense with the ability to carry the team to victory – as they proved in the Super Bowl. Along with that, they’re stacked at wide receiver and have arguably the best group of weapons in the receiving corps that Sanchez would have the luxury of throwing to.
On the flip-side, one could make the argument that this is somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Broncos. After losing your potential franchise QB to free agency, along with a handful of key defensive pieces, it doesn’t look like this team will be able to defend their Super Bowl on a competitive level. This leads me to declare this a “waste” year for the Broncos. You won’t see Lynch on the field until late in the year, if at all – and he’s the QB that brings the most upside to the offense.
At the end of the day, Mark Sanchez will start for the Denver Broncos in week one – barring injury of course. The Broncos will want to compete out of the gate as they look to keep the Lombardi Trophy in Denver. He gives them the best chance to win. However, that just doesn’t seem like a rational thought at this point – considering how the offseason went. Trevor Siemian will likely hit the field once the Broncos begin to struggle, or when Sanchez starts to get exposed – both of which should go hand in hand.