When Broncos coach Gary Kubiak made Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian co-starting quarterbacks and relegated rookie Paxton Lynch to the position of, as a practical matter, Assistant to the Regional Manager, most assumed Sanchez or Siemian would win the Week One starting job — and that Lynch would play only after both play their way to the bench during games that count. A mere 18 days before the start of the regular season, Lynch could still be the guy who succeeds the retired guy who wore the unretired No. 18.
“He’s always been in the mix,” Kubiak told reporters after Saturday’s preseason game against the 49ers. “I just told you guys that he’s behind the other two from a knowledge standpoint, but we’ve been out there competing every day. Everybody is in competition to play.”
So how will the competition be resolved?
“I’m going to play the guy that I think is best for our team,” Kubiak said. “We have three guys out there battling. Obviously [Lynch] is a young kid. He did some really good stuff tonight. He made some mistakes, too. I think I’ve continued to tell you guys that he is behind the others from a knowledge standpoint as far as running the group. Obviously we need to keep coming, keep bringing him along. We’re going to keep working here, find the guy that we think is best for our football team and go from there.”
Lynch arguably performed better than the two current finalists for the job in Denver, completing 15 of 26 passes for 113 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Siemian also threw an interception, and Sanchez fumbled twice, losing both.
“At the end of the day, it’s your job to protect the ball,” Kubiak said. “That’s the most important thing. That’s something that coming out of tonight wasn’t good enough.”
Eventually, Kubiak will have to pick the quarterback that he thinks is good enough to lead the offense in a Week One rematch against the Panthers. When will that happen?
“I foresee myself trying to find a way to fix some mistakes,” Kubiak said. “I’m going to take it a day at a time. That’s where I’m going right now.”
Right now, the job can go to anyone. And it’s likely that whoever it goes to first eventually will surrender it to someone else, and so on. While there’s a belief that, once Lynch gets the job, it will be impossible to go back to the other two, the benching of one of the all-time great quarterbacks followed by the benching of his 5-2 replacement shows that the Broncos are willing to shove the revolving door at the most important position on the field.
Using that approach a year ago brought a Lombardi to the lobby. Why change it now?