It’s official. Chad Kelly is currently the No. 2 quarterback in Denver. For now.
“Right now, he’s our backup,” coach Vance Joseph said on the day that the second-year, seventh-rounder received reps with the second-string offense for the first time. “Again, your roster is pretty much formed until something happens out there. So, right now, Chad is our backup. Things change in this league all the time, but right now he is our backup.”
The reason is simple. In a merit-based business, Kelly has shown the necessary merit.
“Chad has played well,” Joseph said. “He played well in the scrimmage and he played well Saturday night, so he deserves a chance to be the two right now.”
Joseph said Kelly will run the second-string offense all week, culminating in a preseason game against the Bears.
“It was nice,” Kelly told reporters regarding the news of the promotion. “I wouldn’t have gotten there if it wasn’t for my teammates. Those guys made the plays, they got me in the right protections and the guys with the ball in their hands made plays. Like I said, it’s not just me that got to that position. It’s those other guys around me that helped me get there.”
Paxton Lynch, a first-round pick in 2016, now plunges to No. 3.
“[He was] obviously disappointed, but he understands it’s a performance business,” Joseph said regarding Lynch. “He has great potential — physical potential — but it’s got to equal performance eventually. He understands that. It’s a performance league, and everything we do is graded and it’s counted. It’s really more about what Chad’s done, honestly. Chad has played well. He’s played with poise, he’s played with confidence. He moved the ball for us on Saturday night. It’s been that way since the spring. He had a great spring, he’s had a great camp and so it’s his turn to be the two. He’s earned that right.”
It’s a great story, and it’s hard not to wonder whether Kelly is just getting started. With starter Case Keenum under contract for only two years, Jim Kelly’s nephew could eventually be the No. 1 quarterback for John Elway’s team.