ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In a perfect world, the Denver Broncos would know who their starting quarterback will be sooner rather than later.
Coach Vance Joseph said Wednesday, as the Broncos’ veteran players reported for training camp and all players went through their conditioning tests, that having a starting quarterback named by the third preseason game would be “ideal.” But Joseph also said he refuses to rush the decision.
Either Trevor Siemian, who started 14 games last season, or Paxton Lynch, who was the Broncos’ first-round draft pick in 2016, will win the job in the coming weeks. Both know the learn-the-new-offense honeymoon is over. Joseph said this spring the coaches weren’t keeping score during the offseason program, but everything Siemian and Lynch do now is being evaluated.
And Joseph affirmed his desire to make the right decision rather than the quickest one.
“I’m not concerned about time,” Joseph said. “In my opinion, time allows for fair competition; time allows for both guys to put their best foot forward. And time allows us to make good, sound decisions. … It’s good for us.”
Then Joseph was asked if he would like to have a starter named by the time the Broncos play their third preseason game, Aug. 26 against the Green Bay Packers.
“[That] would be ideal, but again, it’s going to play itself out,” Joseph said. “It’s going to separate itself. Someone’s going to show they’re the best man for our team, and when he does, I’ll call it off.”
That was a theme Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway touched on Thursday as well. After seeing Siemian and Lynch work through last summer’s training camp battle — which also included Mark Sanchez — and then the offseason program, the expectation is one of the two is going to make the decision clear.
“Even though you may think a lot of times there’s differences of opinion, there really is not,” Elway said Thursday. “I believe the quarterback position — everyone’s going to see it. To me, it’s going to show up. … Those things usually show up.”
The Broncos will open two-a-day practices Thursday, and Joseph said Siemian will be with the starters in the first-team drills. But Joseph said there will be days when Lynch opens with the starters and that the two will be rotated in and out with the starters in drills throughout each practice.
Joseph said he wants both of the quarterbacks to work with as many of the offensive linemen, running backs and receivers as possible.
“The quarterback competition should not deter guys from doing their jobs,” Joseph said. “… Everyone involved wants the best guy for this football team … and my opinion is we have two guys we can win with.”
The Broncos also have tight competitions at running back and wide receiver and could have as many as four new starters on the offensive line.
The Broncos finished 27th in total offense last season, 22nd in scoring and 27th in rushing. Their offseason moves — which include the signings of guard Ron Leary, tackle Menelik Watson, running back Jamaal Charles and Wednesday’s trade for guard Allen Barbre — were made with the idea that the guy who wins the quarterback job will need to have more help around him.
“It’s a huge decision, for those two guys … It makes no sense to hurry for all involved,” Joseph said.
“I think we’re going to be better offensively,” Elway said. “If you look where we were last year, I think there is only one way for us to go, and that’s to continue to get better. … I’m optimistic about what we can do offensively.”