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Woody Paige: Denver Broncos one of five teams without set starting QB

March 28, 2017 Updated: March 30, 2017 at 5:58 am
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Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Despite all the clutter, prattle and commotion surrounding Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler (three names that have been linked with the Broncos in some fashion in the past or now) and RG3andout and Johnny Footloose, and the four top quarterbacks In the draft, it's remarkable to realize that 27 NFL teams already have established who will be their starters in September.

Nobody will displace Tom Brady (including the commissioner this time), Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger (who isn't retiring), Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers or Cam Newton and Derek Carr (both of whom will be recovered from injuries), or kids Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota (coming off a broken fibula), and a dozen others.

Blake Bortles, for God's sake, even will have a starting job.

And then there were five.

The Jets, the 49ers, the Rams (Jared Goff is no certainty), the Texans and Your Very Own Denver Broncos.

Oh, yes, at the NFL meetings at the posh Biltmore in Phoenix, John Elway and Vance Joseph have reiterated that they "like'' the two young quarterbacks on the Broncos' roster, and they will be in competition starting with OTAs on April 10 to determine the starter.

Like is not love.

On the positive side, the Broncos have two competitors. The Browns have none (unless you count Brock Osweiler, and who does any more?), and the 49ers and the Jets have two career backups they signed (Matt Barkley and Josh McCown), and the Texans have Tom Savage.

Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are fine fellows, polite young men and skilled football players, but neither obviously, according to their bosses, is the "established starter'' for 2017 or as accomplished as the 19 starters who have been quarterbacks for their teams in the postseason. Pro Football Focus ranked Siemian as the No. 27 quarterback in the league (behind Barkley) at the end of the regular season. He was rated 24-27 by other five nationally respected websites - and ahead of Osweiler and Kaepernick. Lynch was unranked after appearing in three games (with two starts).

Will either Trevor or Paxton, who combined for nine victories and seven losses last season, get to the Broncos to the playoffs this year? No. The defense might. Can one or the other win a Super Bowl, which is all that is important to the Broncos' brass and the Broncos' backers? No.

After all, the Broncos do have the most difficult schedule in the NFL, based on last year's results, and confront eight teams that won 10 or more games last year.

Could Tony Romo lead the Broncos to the playoffs and perhaps a Super Bowl victory? Who knows? But, with a Romo who stays healthy, the Broncos probably would have a better chance to get to the AFC Championship, given the improvement by the Raiders and the Chiefs last season, and especially considering the upgrades for the Patriots this offseason.

Yet, at the NFL meetings, Elway indicated the Broncos intend to stay the course with the two quarterbacks and aren't interested in pursuing Romo?

Is it possible the Broncos are posturing? Romo still hasn't been released. Of, could it be that if the Texans, who desperately need a quarterback, end up with Romo, the Broncos wouldn't have to spin for a second season why they lost a quarterback to Houston?

It's just been suggested that the Broncos are worried about Romo's recent injuries. That's news? But the Broncos don't seem worried that Siemian was limited all season as a junior at Northwestern with an ankle injury, then suffered a torn ACL as a senior, and was hurt three times the past season (right shoulder, left foot and left shoulder - a sprained AC joint that ended up with offseason surgery). He's oft-injured.

Lynch is healthy and practicing in Florida with a quarterback guru and, presumably, without poster boards.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, John Fox and the Bears no longer have Cutler, but they did just sign Mark Sanchez, who was supposed to beat out Siemian and Lynch last year, and ended up with Dallas.

The owners' meetings will conclude without a resolution of The Romo Matter.

It will go on until it doesn't go on.

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