<
>

Where Broncos' quarterback battle stands after Day 1

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph selects a starting quarterback, he wants to pick “the best guy for our football team.’’

And whether Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch wins the job, Joseph certainly wants the guy who will make the fewest mistakes in the regular season but who also has confidence to snatch the job. Because that's the guy who, seemingly, can make plays with the game on the line.

“Absolutely -- I mean, go out and win the job,’’ Joseph said. “...You don’t want a guy being conservative and not wanting to make mistakes because he’s being graded every day. That’s why, in my opinion, time is a good thing. It allows both guys to play enough football without any restraints so we can make a sound decision.''

The Broncos are in the opening days of training camp and Joseph has put no timetable on the quarterback competition; he believes he’ll know the winner when he sees him. But both Siemian and Lynch seem to have the message that it won’t be enough to check down, always make the safe play, and wait for the other guy to play his way out of contention.

“I just think it’d be tough to play with that kind of mentality,’’ Siemian said. “You can’t play quarterback with any fear or anything. That’d be a good way to embarrass yourself back there, for sure. … I try to take it one play at a time and kind of let it rip. When I came into the league, I kind of had that mentality, too. I thought, shoot, I’m halfway out the door anyways, so I don’t have much to lose.’’

“I think Trevor and I have competed the whole way,'' Lynch said. "It’s always been a competition between us, pushing each other up until this point. I think that we just have to do it the same way.’’

Siemian opened Thursday’s practice with the starters -- it was the Broncos’ first full-team practice of training camp -- but Joseph has repeatedly said he will rotate the quarterbacks equally until a decision is made.

Joseph has called the Broncos’ third preseason game -- Aug. 26 against Green Bay -- the “ideal’’ time to pick a starter. But he has also said that while he knows there is a finite amount of time, given the regular-season opener on Sept. 11, he will not be rushed into the decision.

The Broncos worked largely in red zone situations Thursday, but things will expand in the days and weeks ahead. There will be plenty of end-of-game situations, plays from inside their own 5-yard line, two-minute drills and preseason game snaps waiting for the two quarterbacks.

“Paxton’s got a big arm, so those guys with those big arms have to find their way as far as being aggressive with the ball,’’ Joseph said. “Obviously, Trevor’s played more football. I think he’s more conservative by his personality. That’s not a bad thing. I think they’re both different guys; it’s obvious when you’re watching them play, they’re both different, but they’ve both been productive players.’’

Siemian said his approach is much the same as it was last summer when he won a camp competition over Lynch and Mark Sanchez for the job. Siemian consistently moved the offense the best in practice and looked the most settled in preseason games.

“For me, it’s pretty easy -- I just want to be better than I was yesterday,’’ Siemian said. “Hopefully the No. 13 that rolls out of the locker room tomorrow is better than the [quarterback] that rolled out here today. That’s really all I’m trying to do, and if I can make the big things small, which I’ve tried to do really since I got drafted, hopefully things will work out.’’

Lynch said he has visualized himself as the starter, being behind center for that Monday night opener against the Chargers.

“I visualize a lot of things having to do with my football career, but I’m just worried about right now trying to make this team better and make myself better,’’ Lynch said. “Whatever happens on that Monday night, I’m ready for it. I visualize Monday nights. I visualize Super Bowls. I visualize all that stuff.’’