A year ago, after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left and Mark Sanchez arrived and speculation swirled about Colin Kaepernick, one persistent thought emerged regarding the Broncos’ quarterback situation: Don’t be surprised if Trevor Siemian get the job.
He did get the job for the defending Super Bowl champions, holding off Sanchez and first-rounder Paxton Lynch and keeping the gig all season long (except when injured). Now, Siemian will have to win the job all over again. He said Thursday that his status as the starter in 2016 will help in that effort.
“You can’t substitute those reps,” Siemian told reporters. “I learned that pretty quickly. Even towards the end of the year, I know my production — I don’t know how it stacked up earlier in the year — again, 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.”
He also will help himself out by protecting himself better. He emerged from 2016 with a shoulder injury that required surgery, and he knows that he needs to learn how to minimize the pounding he’ll take.
“I think you watch and look around the league that the older guys that stay healthy are really smart with the football,” Siemian said. “They ditch it when they have to. They get rid of it quicker. They’re choosing check-downs pretty quickly or they’re getting down. I got a chance to watch Peyton [Manning] do that. I don’t know if I thought I was Superman my first year and that I can take a bunch of hits, but you can’t play for an extended career doing that. That’s something I will fix.”
Asked whether the fix will include adding the Peyton Manning self-sack to his repertoire, Siemian laughed and said, “Yeah, I’m going outside and falling down a few times, tripping on the way to the weight room.”
Ultimately, however, the question becomes whether a seventh-round pick from 2015 can hold off a first-rounder from 2016. Siemian was asked whether he has extra pressure because of that dynamic.
“With all due respect to Paxton, you’ve got to be on edge wherever you are. Like I said, you’ve got to earn it every day. Not just quarterbacks, but all across the board. You don’t really need any extra motivation, regardless of circumstance or whatever you’re talking about. You’ve got to earn your stripes every day. Moving forward, that’s what I’ve got to do if I want to play for a while.”
He’s right, but the reality given the distinction in draft pedigree, Siemian will have to not only win but win convincingly to get the team to decide not to let Lynch try to reach his own ceiling through the same reps that Siemian got in 2016.