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Lynch gets his chance to lead Broncos
It is time for Paxton Lynch to learn by doing.
He's spent 23 of the first 26 regular-season games of his NFL career on the bench watching and waiting while Trevor Siemian and, later, Brock Osweiler got the starting assignments. In those 23 games, the Denver Broncos went 10-13, and in the last eight of those games, they went 1-7 and the offense never accounted for 20 points in any of those games.
There was little reason for the Broncos to stick with what they had. And after dismissing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Monday morning and replacing him with Bill Musgrave, it was easy for them to go with Lynch for their Sunday game at Oakland.
Siemian will back up Lynch. And while Broncos head coach Vance Joseph didn't say for certain that Lynch would remain the starter for the rest of the season, it seems clear that the rest of the Broncos' campaign will be used to determine whether their 2016 first-round pick is the future of the team or whether they turn to free agency or a deep draft class to find their next signal-caller.
"It won't be perfect, but again, we have to coach him to the point where he can be efficient with the offense," Joseph said. "That's what we're doing. Again, running the football is always a must for a young quarterback and giving him a chance to have some easy completions. That's also a must for young quarterbacks."
Lynch's mobility will also be used.
"I'm looking forward to watching him play because he can run around," Joseph said. "His skill set is perfect when you're young. If it breaks down, he can run with the football. I told him, I said, 'Just play. Don't try to be a pocket passer. We call a play and it's not there, take off and run.'"
One thing about this year's process helps Lynch: splitting the repetitions with Siemian during OTAs and training camp. He doesn't have to start from zero when it comes to building cohesion with the first team.
"I think it helped him tremendously," running back C.J. Anderson said. "In the time during training camp when they were battling for the job, he got to see some good looks from our defense.
"One thing I told him that is crazy and I told him all the way back in September, 'You're just one play away. You never know it.' He was one play away.
"I told him, at the time when Billy (Musgrave) was the QB coach, be back there letting Billy know what the reads are, where the ball should go or what coverage it is. Be annoying, kind of how I was. Be annoying. He's done that and he's ready now."
Ready to annoy opposing defenses with his arm and his feet, the Broncos hope.
SERIES HISTORY: 115th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series, 61-51-2. Broncos have won 10 of the last 12. Most historic meeting between these two teams was on Jan. 1, 1978, when the Broncos defeated the Raiders 20-17 to win the first of their eight AFC championships.