Who was the first Denver Broncos starting quarterback after Peyton Manning retired? On Monday, that future trivia question got its answer as Trevor Siemian was named the starting quarterback for the season opener.
Head coach Gary Kubiak made the announcment, naming the former seventh round NFL draft pick the starter ahead of the man they traded for (and former first-round pick) to be the starter a few months ago – Mark Sanchez.
It was becoming obvious that Siemian was going to win the job as the first three preseason games unfolded. Siemian completed 27 of 43 passes in those three games, including two starts. He also threw for a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions.
Not only did Siemian beat out Sanchez, but he also took the advantage over first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch. He likely did it on the strength of his ability to understand the offense and be impressive with the ball on the run or in the pocket.
Clearly a year gleaning anything and everything he could from Manning paid off, as did his mastery of Kubiak’s offensive system.
However, one has to wonder just how long it will be before the dynamic Lynch gets his chance as well. He didn’t exactly hurt himself in training camp or the three preseason games. Most believe he had actually outplayed Sanchez early on in camp.
As for being the answer to that trivia question about replacing Peyton Manning, don’t expect Siemian to have that on his mind come the opener.
“The thing about replacing Peyton — nobody is going to replace Peyton,” Siemian said. “Those shoes are a little too big to fill. For me, I’m not reading too much into anything and trying to be the best teammate and leader I can be.”
Siemian will also become the first Northwestern QB to start in Week 1 since Otto Graham did so in Week 1 of the 1955 season.
This move also likely means the end of Sanchez’s time in Denver, and puts his career in complete limbo. The writing appeared to be on the wall, as Sanchez didn’t even get a snap in the third preseason game.
Denver’s crazy offseason quarterback carousel finally has an answer, but will it be a good one is the big question. We’ll all find out starting on Sept. 8, 2016 as the Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers in the opening game of the NFL regular season.