ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos always knew Peyton Manning was their top quarterback in his four training camps. The picture hasn’t been as clear the last two years.
The scrimmage on Saturday failed to clarity who will be the starter when the season begins next month.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch have spent training camp trying to entrench themselves as the No. 1 quarterback. But with a few days before the first preseason game, there is no clear winner. Siemian, who won the starting job last year over veteran Mark Sanchez and Lynch, began to separate himself this week. But he didn’t lay claim to the No. 1 spot in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Coach Vance Joseph said Thursday’s preseason game at Chicago will hold more meaning.
“Today was a controlled scrimmage, especially for the (starters and backups),” he said. “Thursday in Chicago, that’s where the true evaluation starts for a lot of positions.”
The short scrimmage was a window into Thursday, and Siemian outperformed Lynch, the Broncos’ 2016 first-round draft pick. Siemian completed 3 of 5 passes for approximately 31 yards. His best pass of the day was to receiver Bennie Fowler on a post pattern that might have gone the distance in a game.
“Over the last couple of days, I’ve started to get more and more comfortable and I’m really feeling the rhythm and getting the big picture of what we’re trying to do offensively,” Siemian said. “Very lucky to be practicing against our defense because it’s as hard as it’s going to get.”
Lynch struggled, missing on some passes and finished 0 for 4. He was intercepted by cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and his only completion was wiped out on a penalty.
“I stepped up in the pocket and flushed out. I saw Emmanuel (Sanders) breaking out of his route, I didn’t see anybody around him and Chris had fallen off from the flat and kind of drifted back,” Lynch said. “Looking back you can’t force those kinds of passes. If you get pushed up in the pocket, that’s when I can take it down and run with it and use my athleticism.”
Joseph said Lynch held the ball too long on the play, giving the defense a chance to recover. He said he was happy with Siemian’s consistency and gave Lynch positive marks overall.
“Paxton, outside the interception, was very solid,” he said. “His best play of the day was brought back by a penalty. That would have been a pretty good drive.”
PARADIS GETS SOME REPS
Center Matt Paradis wasn’t expected to take part in the scrimmage. However, he got in for some plays as he works his way back from double-hip surgery.
“He’s progressing fast,” Joseph said. “He felt fine this morning to play four or five plays, so we allowed him to play. The first two units was a controlled environment, but for him it’s live. I’m proud of where Matt’s at as far as his health.”
Offensive tackle Menelik Watson was out Saturday with what Joseph said was a “strained hip muscle or ab muscle.” Joseph said Watson would be back at practice Tuesday and be ready for Thursday. … Joseph said safety T.J. Ward has a minor hamstring injury and won’t play against Chicago. It’s hoped he’ll be back for practices against San Francisco ahead of the Aug. 19 preseason game.
By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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