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Broncos' QB competition set to being in training camp
Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said it over and over throughout the last month: the quarterback competition between Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian will not really begin until the opening of training camp.
With two blasts of an air horn at the end of minicamp on June 15, the clock officially began ticking down toward the dawn of that competition.
Joseph didn't want either quarterback to get a leg up during the four weeks of OTAs and minicamp; he and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy wanted to keep the focus on learning the scheme, which introduced different elements each day. They alternated work with the first team on a period-by-period basis.
But even if the competition had been roaring at full speed the last few weeks, it would still be considered close to even. Siemian was steadier early, as expected. Lynch surged as OTAs progressed, although Siemian got the better of matters during Wednesday's practice, at one point completing 11 consecutive passes.
But "winning" one day is not what Joseph wants to see.
"You have to be patient with the guys. You have to not take evaluation as a daily deal, but as a collective, full evaluation as far as time.
"It can't be, 'Monday he's better; Tuesday, he's better.' It has to be a collective result as far as who was more consistent over time."
If that is the primary standard, it could favor Siemian. But Lynch's improved deep ball and resilience has also caught the eyes of coaches and teammates.
During Tuesday's practice, Lynch threw one of his worst passes of the month, misfiring on a quick out during a seven-on-seven period. Taurean Nixon who was subsequently waived one day later easily grabbed it and scored.
The next play, Lynch went back at Nixon, throwing deep for Cody Latimer and connecting on a deep pass up the right sideline.
"That's one thing we talked about early on in the offseason program. We're going to make mistakes, not just at the quarterback position, but everybody," McCoy said. "There's going to be a play where you get beat, and you've got to respond to it.
"That's what you want all the players to do."
Consistency and resilience. Whenever either Lynch or Siemian shows he clearly has more of both than the other, Joseph plans to end the competition and name his Week-1 starter.
"It could be the first week of camp or it could be the end of preseason. I'm not sure," Joseph said. "When I see a clear separation, I'll call it off."
If training camp is like the OTA and minicamp practices that were open for media observation, it might take a while.