DENVER – It’s time to find out if Paxton Lynch is more than a 6-foot-7 question mark. It’s time to try yet another starter as Broncos quarterback.
Yes, elevating Lynch from the bench to the field against the Bengals next Sunday will bring yet more chaos to a Broncos season that has been filled with chaos, and defeat.
But there’s no strong reason to stick with Brock Osweiler or go back to Trevor Siemian. This is a lost season for an organization and a fan base that expect to contend for a Super Bowl title each season.
Osweiler belongs on an NFL roster, despite what the Cleveland Browns might think. But Osweiler, like Siemian, belongs on a roster as a backup, not a starter.
We might soon discover that the Broncos have three backup types on their roster. We might see that Lynch is yet another in a long line of the Broncos failed first-round picks, a name that will belong beside Ted Gregory, Tommy Maddox and Jarvis Moss.
But Lynch should be given a real chance. The Broncos have little – almost nothing, really – to lose.
I expected the Broncos to take the fight to the Patriots. I expected to see a snarling, attacking version of the Broncos. I expected a strong show for a national TV audience.
Instead, we watched another surrender.
Coach Vance Joseph says, week after week, his Broncos are working diligently in practice and games.
“Effort is not the problem,” Joseph said, repeating the lines he uses after each defeat. “It’s execution.”’
Think about that. The Broncos have lost five straight games while – according to Joseph – giving their absolute best effort. If you’re a Broncos fan, that’s a stinging indictment of the team’s talent level.
“We still have daylight,” Von Miller insisted.
Not really, Von.
The darkness is why it makes sense to take a risk that’s not really much of a risk. John Elway thought enough of Lynch to make him a first-round pick. Lynch has been given enough time to understand the Broncos offense. He’s battled against the Broncos defense in practice.
He should be ready for his chance. If he’s not ready, there’s no reason to believe he ever will be.
Joseph declined to offer an endorsement for Osweiler, even though No. 17 was an improvement over Siemian.
“We’ll see,” Joseph said when asked who would start against the Bengals. He added that he will watch tape with his staff and make a decision.
Joseph will see several strong throws from Osweiler. He will see Osweiler utilizing the Broncos most dangerous offensive threats – Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas – with imagination and nerve. Siemian never developed chemistry with Sanders or Thomas.
If Lynch fails, Osweiler is the best selection to start the final games of the 2017 season. He’s not an elite NFL quarterback, but he is superior to Siemian.
“I want to be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos for as long as I can,” Osweiler said.
But he seemed to sense his time is up. Osweiler was not the prime reason for the Broncos getting pounded by the Eagles and Patriots, but he failed to do enough to secure the job.
“I’m not going to put any pressure on myself,” Osweiler said. “Those decisions are for others.”
The right decision?
Promote Lynch. At least that will erase the question mark.