INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Vance Joseph doesn’t really see a veteran quarterback such as Tony Romo following in Peyton Manning’s footsteps to Denver.
The Broncos’ new coach said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine that he likes his two young QBs, Trevor Siemian, who’s recuperating from (non-throwing) shoulder surgery, and Paxton Lynch, who’s recovering from a disappointing rookie season.
Many have speculated the oft-injured Romo , supplanted by Dak Prescott in Dallas, will land in Denver much like Manning did in 2012 for his comeback.
Joseph isn’t allowed to talk specifically about players on other teams, but he reaffirmed the Broncos’ intentions to stick with their young QBs, who count a combined $2 million against next year’s $167 million cap.
“I think having a veteran quarterback who’s won games in the past, it brings excitement to your locker room and your city. That being said, we’ve got two young guys that played last year that won nine games combined – and probably should have won more,” Joseph said.
“So, moving forward, we’re satisfied with those two young kids, and fixing the offensive line and running the football better and protecting the passer better is a must to help those two young guys play better.”
Siemian had surgery on his left shoulder Jan. 3 after playing three months with what’s been described as a grade-5 A.C. joint sprain, which he suffered in Week 4, forcing him to miss 1½ games. He also missed a game with a sprained foot.
The severity of his shoulder injury is usually seen in car crashes, not on football fields, and the recovery can take up to half a year.
Joseph said he trusts Siemian will be ready for non-contact OTAs next month – the four-month mark – but noted this spring is all about both QBs learning Mike McCoy’s system before competing in earnest for the starting job in training camp.
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Neither Siemian’s health nor Lynch’s long learning curve seemingly affect the team’s approach at quarterback.
“We’re fine with those two kids,” Joseph said.
Siemian went 8-6 and threw for 3,400 yards with 18 TDs and 10 interceptions, statistics all the more impressive, Joseph said, when you consider he played most of the season with a severely damaged shoulder.
“Watching Trevor last year, I was really impressed. Again, he’s a winner. He played with a horrific shoulder injury that most guys wouldn’t play with,” Joseph said.
Lynch went 1-1 last year and showed he was far from polished as he adjusts from the spread offense he ran at Memphis to the pro-style system and its requisite footwork, quick reads and intricate playbook.
Joseph demurred when asked if that raw-but-talented Lynch is ready to supplant the savvy-and-strong Siemian.
“Obviously, he’s got great skills. He’s a tall man with a big arm. Is he ready? That’s a tough question,” Joseph said. “… It’s going to be an open competition and whoever wins the job, that’s who’s going to play. That’s as fair as it can be.”
Joseph said McCoy has about 60 percent of his offense installed but has a tough task in preparing for two different styles of quarterback.
“The problem with Paxton and Trevor, they’re so different,” Joseph said. “Paxton’s a tall, big-armed guy, athletic guy. Trevor is fundamentally sound, great footwork, great with the ball. He can really spin the ball as far as throwing it. So, they’re different. So, I think Mike’s challenge is finding an offense that can fit both guys so they can compete equally.”
Joseph’s challenge is in picking the right one, but it appears it’s a two-man race without a veteran spoiler waiting in the wings.
Notes: Joseph expects C Matt Paradis to be ready at the start of training camp in five months after having surgeries to both hips this offseason. … Joseph also said he senses an excitement and a hunger in his conversations with players since his hiring in January: “Nine wins last year felt like a losing season in Denver,” Joseph said.
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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