Former Northwestern quarterback, Super Bowl 50 champion, almost real estate agent and future Hall of Famer Trevor Siemian is 3-0 as a NFL starter, leading his Denver Broncos to wins over the Panthers, Colts and Bengals in the season’s first three weeks.
While most of the NFL, and even Northwestern, world has been shocked by Trevor’s quick success, the author of this article hasn’t. Back in May 2015, Siemian was compared — albeit unreasonably — by the same author to current New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who played his college football at Michigan. Just one month ago, the Denver Post had a similar idea and, interestingly, used a similar headline.
When I wrote that article a few weeks after the Broncos drafted Siemian in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, I thought maybe it was a little much to put Trevor’s name in the same vein as that of four-time champion Brady. Now, I realize my mistake was actually putting Brady’s name in the same headline as Siemian’s.
Here’s a few quick stats for you from this season. See if you can guess who Player A is and who Player B is.
A: 0-of-0 passing, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions; 0 rushes, 0 yards; 0 wins
B: 63-of-94 passing, 756 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions; 9 rushes, 32 yards; 3 wins
Stumped? A is Brady, and B is Siemian. Brady’s career record as a NFL starting quarterback is 172-51. Siemian’s is 3-0. Brady has been in the league for 17 seasons, winning four championships. Siemian has been in the league for two seasons, winning one championship, and his team is among the favorites for another, which would be Siemian’s second in two years.
You do the math.
The similarities between the two players, biographical details aside, are remarkable, though. Just take a look at how Trevor played in Denver’s 29-17 win over the Bengals on Sunday.
In becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to post 300+ yards and 4+ touchdowns in a road debut win, Siemian methodically ripped apart the Cincinnati defense. He completed passes to nine different receivers and played a mistake-free game, avoiding any turnovers.
It’s a far cry from the Siemian we saw in Evanston, but also a much more confident Siemian who’s willing to take risk to throw his receivers open instead of waiting for them to get open. The most impressive throw he made all day was probably the 7-yard touchdown pass he made to Emmanuel Sanders on an out route in the end zone that just missed the outstretched arm of a Bengals defender. A perfect pass.
But Trevor unleashed a sparingly used weapon this past Sunday: the deep ball. Per ProFootballReference, of Siemian’s 94 throws through the first three games, only eight qualified as deep passes. In the season opener against Carolina he attempted just one “deep” ball, then three in the win over the Colts and finally four against the Bengals.
Siemian’s stats on those four passes: 4-for-4, 144 yards, 2 touchdowns (one to Demaryius Thomas and one to Sanders). While both throws probably required a better-than-average play by the receiver, it was a side of his game that he hadn’t shown much in Weeks 1 or 2. Frankly, Siemian didn’t show much accuracy on deep passes at all during his time in Evanston. Full disclosure: his first nickname was Checkdown Trevor.
Still though, Denver’s offense likely won’t continue to require as many deep throws from Siemian as it did against Cincinnati. Throws down the field to contested wide receivers don’t usually get caught by the receiver 100 percent of the time, as stout NFL defenses will start to play Siemian smarter and force more interceptions.
At his best this year, he’ll probably sprinkle in some deep looks every game but should remain a mid-range type quarterback that can utilize checkdowns, screens, curls and other shorter routes.
Any other current NFL quarterback that closely remembers that profile? Yes, that guy, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, the king of the checkdown.
Also, look at how similar the throwing motion of Brady is to Siemian! Notice that Brady’s windup is a bit of an abbreviated one, not quite as quick as that of Philip Rivers but not as drawn-back as that of Matthew Stafford. Look at Siemian’s. The short windup looks almost identical to Brady’s, and it allows him to get rid of the ball quickly but also produce enough power to throw an effective deep pass.
The similarities between the (future) four-time Super Bowl champion and the (current) four-time Super Bowl champion are seemingly endless. If you don’t think Brady has the chance to be remembered in the same light as Trevor Siemian in the future, that’s on you.