By Zack Kelberman
DENVER (247 SPORTS) – Count Rich Gannon among Paxton Lynch’s detractors.
In a recent interview with 104.3 The Fan, the former NFL quarterback and current CBS commentator expressed skepticism over Lynch progressing into a starting-caliber signal-caller.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” Gannon said, via the Denver Post. “I have real concerns about Paxton Lynch, whether or not he’s ever going to be a legitimate starter in this league. Honestly, he’s a taller guy, he’s not very accurate, I think the game’s moving way too fast for him right now.”
His analysis isn’t based strictly on film study, either. Lynch didn’t pass the eyeball test for Gannon, who called the 2016 first-round pick’s lone start last season — a loss to Oakland in which Lynch completed just nine passes before suffering an injury and began crying on the bench.
Gannon, not in the business of savagery, characterized it as “kind of an ugly performance.”
“He looks like he’s not the most comfortable guy under center,” he said. “He’s got decent movement for a guy his size. Not very accurate. The anticipation, you just don’t see it.
“You’ve got to ask yourself, he’s been there now for a couple years, why isn’t this guy taking charge of the situation? Why is he not getting more reps? Why does the team not have confidence to hand him the reins of the football team? It tells you, if you read between the lines, he’s a guy that’s struggling a little bit to kind of find his way, but also to handle the volume of information that’s required to play that position.”
Denver traded up for and drafted Lynch with the hope of him growing into a franchise building block. Looking back, and considering his body of work, it seems laughable. He twice lost open QB competitions to pedestrian seventh-round selection Trevor Siemian, a stunning lack of development that prompted the team to splurge $36 million on Case Keenum this offseason. Every time Lynch has stepped foot on the field, he’s appeared more dazed and confused than the last.
They say it takes three years to accurately judge a QB. Ergo, Lynch, who’s still only 24, is down to his last chance. He’s expected to compete with another ex-seventh-rounder, Chad Kelly, for the right to back up Keenum, and failure to win that job will tell the Broncos what they need to know.
The powers-that-be remain optimistic, however.
“We still believe that Paxton can be a good quarterback in this league and he continues to work,” Broncos general manager John Elway said last month.
Gannon … isn’t.
“I don’t anticipate, based on what I’ve seen so far, this guy being a Pro Bowl caliber player, or even a mid-range starter for 6-8 years in our league,” he said. “I just don’t see that in him right now. And that could change. But, he’s got to do something.”