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Paul Klee: After the Bills (and the rest of the season), Broncos should show Trevor Siemian the dollar bills

By: Paul Klee
September 22, 2017 Updated: September 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm
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Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) looks for an open player as the Denver Broncos faced off against the Los Angeles Chargers for their season opening game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Monday, September 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

DENVER — Trevor Siemian?

Just call him “Ferris.” To paraphrase a line from everyone’s favorite guy-next-door: He’s very popular, Ed. The sportos, motorheads, geeks, wastoids, dweebies. They all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.

“Trevor can hang with us anytime!” No Fly Zone junior member Will Parks said, busting into a smile at the sound of the quarterback’s name. “Trevor can hang with anybody. He can definitely hang with No Fly, though. If he hangs with us for 5 minutes, though, his attitude might change.”

Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

"Good point," Parks said with a laugh. "That'd probably be a bad thing for him."

On second thought, with the Broncos at 2-0 and the No. 1 running game in the NFL and the same big, bad defense, let’s not change a thing. Except one: Warm up the printer and pens. When this season is over and the Broncos can sign Siemian to a contract extension that keeps him in Colorado they should do just that. The Broncos finally have their quarterback of the future. He just doesn’t look like you, John Elway or anyone else thought he would look.

While it appears Elway and the Broncos were scouring the assembly line of big, strong quarterbacks who look like No. 7 — high draft picks with high hopes, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch — the ultimate choice should be a guy who behaves more like the neighbor who shovels your walk, too, when it snows. 

While the going is about to get tough, including a doozy on Sunday at the Buffalo Bills, the Broncos players have seen enough. Me? I was sold last year during a Denver Nuggets game. As established stars DeMarcus Ware, Demaryius Thomas and T.J. Ward filed into courtside seats, the seventh-round draft pick slid right in as if he belonged next to the bazillionaires.

They’ve been BFF ever since.

It’s no small thing a Northwestern graduate from the Orlando ‘burbs can galvanize a volatile locker room with more ego than a hipster festival. The best mediator is a quarterback who blends in. When several members of the Broncos offense made the trek to Coors Field to take in a Rockies game, it was Siemian who organized the gathering. When coaches passed around sheets of paper in the preseason during a private vote among players, Siemian was elected a team captain — again, for the second straight season.

“He doesn’t act like he’s a CEO of the company,” CBS analyst Phil Simms said. “He’s just one of the guys.”

It should be clear by now that Siemian was jotting down mental notes when Peyton Manning ruled the roost at Dove Valley. That was apparent again Wednesday when Siemian shouldered the blame for a red-zone sack and subtly slid this nugget into his question-and-answer session with local media: “To be honest, I kind of screwed Menelik (Watson) at least once down there. It’s just something I have to clean up.”

Strong leaders point a finger out when the going’s good, in when it’s going bad. The Broncos have proven nothing yet, and with a road game at Buffalo and a home game against Oakland next up on the schedule, a 2-0 start could dwindle to a .500 start before you can say “panic button.”

But a decent example of how the Denver offense is different is actually the old-school, probably meaningless passing touchdowns statistic. Siemian has six in two games. The Broncos didn’t have six passing touchdowns last season until midway through a Week 4 game at Tampa Bay. Siemian’s six also leads the NFL through two games. It’s a tiny sample size. But it’s still enormous progress, still leads the NFL, still shows the Broncos’ biggest issue right now is their schedule, which includes four games against the next two guys on the passing touchdowns list, Alex Smith and Derek Carr (five apiece). Compare that to old friends Handsome Tom and the Patriots, and boy, do those cats have it easy, year after year. The rest of the AFC East has only one guy with at least one passing touchdown, and that’s Josh McCown of the Jets. Must be nice. To score playoff home games, the Pats go through Larry, Moe and Curly, and it’s the rest of the AFC that gets poked in the eye.

See what I mean? It’s not going to be easy for Siemian. The immediate competition is ruthless and not going anywhere soon, so the Broncos would be better off identifying the quarterback who can help balance the act alongside a proud defense ASAP.

If he can stay healthy, I feel comfortable saying that guy is Siemian. But don’t listen to me. It’s at least five ex-quarterbacks who sing only his praises (Gary Kubiak, Vance Joseph, Greg Knapp, Mike McCoy, Bill Musgrave), a current staff that is comfortable throwing a new and diverse playbook at him in Siemian’s second year as a starter, and a locker room, bubbling over with alpha dogs, that chooses to hang out with Siemian at Nuggets games. That’s not for nothing. Von, Aqib, Chris. They love the guy.

They think Trevor Siemian’s a righteous dude.

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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