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Woody Paige: Trevor Siemian does enough to start opening day

August 27, 2016 Updated: August 28, 2016 at 7:10 am
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Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian calls the signals at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Rams Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

He may not be the most poetic T.S. ever, but Trevor Siemian has become the Broncos' 2016 quarterback to start with.

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go,'' Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote.

Siemian, The Forgotten Man in March, is not neglected now.

He was not perfect Saturday night. Siemian risked going too far with a pass in the first half, and it was intercepted. He missed on seven passes (a couple were dropped); he began slowly in the opening quarter, and he guided the offense to only 10 points before giving way to Paxton Lynch after halftime.

Rams Broncos Football
Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) hands off during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) 

But Siemian did enough in the offseason workouts, the training camp practices and three appearances in exhibition games to prove that he deserves to be the quarterback in the opening game. That time he will play against the Carolina Panthers.

Siemian passed for 122 yards (a 7.2-yard average) and a touchdown to tight end Virgil Green from a yard out, and looked controlled, calm and collected.

And the unkindest cut of all on Tuesday probably will be Mark Sanchez, The Man Who Would Be King in Denver, but could not be.

Siemian will be the 45th starting quarterback in franchise history. The 44th was Brock Osweiler last year. And Lynch, who took the Broncos to a touchdown in the third quarter, someday will be 46th.

The only person in Denver disappointed that Sanchez won't start probably is Sanchez. He wasn't that popular here before Saturday.

Rams Broncos Football
Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) takes the field prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney) 

This could be the youngest duo at quarterback ever for the Broncos. Siemian is 25, in his second season and Lynch, the rookie, is 22. The Broncos had a 39-year-old quarterback last season. The two offer stronger arms than Sanchez; they are more athletic and less static in the pocket, and, so far, they've made fewer mistakes despite neither having any experience in the National Football League.

The Broncos' cuts to 75 on Tuesday won't be problematic.

The team has plenty of camp free-agent fodder - players you never-ever heard of - that can't make this roster.

For instance, the Broncos won't be keeping 11 wide receivers. Plan on six. So, three probably will go this week, and the Broncos will try to slip a couple onto the practice squad. Rest assured that Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood and the other Jordan, Taylor, will make the final team.

Rams Broncos Football
Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) throws as Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) 

The team still is considering what to do with Kalif Raymond, Bralon Addison and Mose Frazier. Raymond was an early sensation before sliding back as a receiver/returner. Addison is inconsistent. And Frazier, another free agent, has been impressive when playing with Lynch. They were together at the University of Memphis.

The Broncos also can't start the season with 15 defensive backs. Nice thought, though. Four had their last looks Saturday night. Cornerback Lorenzo Doss has been notable enough in practice and games to stick. The Broncos likely will try to stash Taurean Nixon for another season. The two rookie draft choices, Justin Simmons and Will Parks, are in.

The Broncos also are top-heavy at linebacker with 16 - count 'em - 16. At least five will be dumped by Tuesday

That defense will be deep and nearly as omnipresent as last year's, which ranks among the best five of all time in the NFL.

But the offense obviously is more uncertain, undecided and unranked among league offenses.

We don't know who will start in the offensive line, and neither do the coaches. Fifth round pick, the versatile Connor McGovern could start at right guard. Russell Okung hasn't shown much, and Ty Sambrailo remains in a sling and out of the ring. The recreated line was better, but not great, Saturday night.

I'm still believing Ronnie Hillman will continue to be with the Broncos, even though he's not a special teams player (or a returner) and needed an attitude adjustment. He was the leading rusher last year, and Hillman is a change of pace from C.J. Anderson. He scored a touchdown Saturday night. Kapri Bibbs? Will he or won't he?

We're happy to report the arrival of Virgil Green as a receiving tight end, but the others at the position are vague.

But the mass of attention from the public, the press, the players and the triumvirate of Gary Kubiak, Greg Knapp and John Elway was on quarterback.

T.S. has gone far so far.

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