What seemed inevitable is now official. For the second consecutive season, Trevor Siemian has been named the Week 1 starter by first-year head coach Vance Joseph.
After beating out Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch last year, Siemian was announced the starter Aug. 29, 2016 following the Broncos third preseason game. This year he’s one week ahead of schedule.
Siemian and Lynch split reps in Denver’s first two preseason games, the Northwestern graduate outperformed his second-year counterpart, going 14-of-18 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown — a passer rating of 118.5. Lynch, a first round pick in 2016, went 15-of-22 passing for 81 yards without a touchdown pass — a 74.2 passer rating.
Siemian’s preseason completion rate is at 77.8, and he's averaging 8.0 yards per attempt; Lynch, meanwhile, is at 68.2 percent completions and 3.7 yards per attempt. Siemian moved the ball much more efficiently and effectively, leading three scoring drives of at least 45 yards in those two games. Lynch has not had a scoring drive longer than 26 yards and has struggled orchestrating lengthy drives. Add in the fact that Lynch has thrown significantly more interceptions than Siemian in practice, and the decision couldn’t have been too tough for Joseph.
Here’s the game that sealed Siemian’s fate. Skip to 2:20 to see Denver’s touchdown get called back on a holding penalty, and watch Siemian calmly throw a 19-yard back shoulder touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor before high-fiving offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on his way to celebrate in the end zone. At that moment, the quarterback competition all but ended.
As a first year starter last season, Siemian led the defending Super Bowl Champions to a 9-7 record. His play was comparable to some of the NFL’s best throughout the first half of the season before the Broncos stumbled behind a poor offensive line and a non-existent run game. The 25-year old finished 2016 with 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His poise and confidence as a first-year starter was evident. Siemian was voted a team captain and was quietly invited to the Pro Bowl when injuries and postseason play held out many original picks.
Denver spent this offseason bulking up it’s much-maligned offensive line and improving its running game. With a championship-caliber defense and a team built to win now, the experienced Siemian best QB on the Broncos' roster. Entering only his third season in the NFL, Siemian has proved himself capable of managing a game, but he'll need to push the ball downfield more proficiently for the Broncos to contend in the AFC. Still, the former seventh-round draft pick has proved himself to be much more valuable than NFL evaluators originally thought.
We’re thrilled to see Siemian get another shot at the helm for the Broncos, and we will continue to keep tabs on him all season. Denver plays its third preseason game Aug. 26 vs. Green Bay and begins the regular season at home on Sept. 11 — Monday Night Football — against the Chargers.