Conventional wisdom said all along that the Broncos starting quarterback job would come down to whoever made the fewest mistakes between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian. Sanchez was the heavy favorite before the preseason, but two weeks in Siemian has probably pulled ahead, especially after some costly mistakes from Sanchez Saturday night.
Like we said last night, though, you better not rule out rookie Paxton Lynch. Gary Kubiak confirmed as much Sunday, telling reporters Lynch has "always been in the mix" even though he's inherently behind because he's a rookie.
"He's always been in the mix," Kubiak said. "I just told you guys that he's behind the other two from a knowledge standpoint, but we've been out there competing every day. Everybody is in competition to play."
In his immediate postgame interview on television, Kubiak only referenced "two" different quarterbacks, appearing to indicate the starting gig would come down to Siemian and Sanchez.
But once he got in front of the podium, Kubiak continued to reference three different players and said the guy who is best for the team will start at quarterback.
"I'm going to play the guy that I think is best for our team. We have three guys out there battling. Obviously [Lynch] is a young kid. He did some really good stuff tonight. He made some mistakes, too," Kubiak said. "I think I've continued to tell you guys that he is behind the others from a knowledge standpoint as far as running the group. Obviously we need to keep coming, keep bringing him along.
"We're going to keep working here, find the guy that we think is best for our football team and go from there."
The trickiest part for the Broncos is determining how to handle the reps for Week 3. It would be lovely for Denver to give Lynch some run as the starting quarterback in Week 3 to see how he fares against the best defensive players possible and with the best offensive players possible (multiple times on Saturday night he threw passes that were incomplete but probably would've been caught by the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders).
Snaps against defensive NFL starters are precious in the preseason, however. Siemian needs those. So does Sanchez. Testing out Lynch in the preseason would be a gamble, and it would also potentially create false expectations for starting him moving forward if he's the starter for Week 3.
The likely path seems like a Siemian/Sanchez nod to start the season followed by a mid-season transition to Lynch. But it wouldn't be stunning to see Lynch win the job outright. Take the over on his total number of starts -- he's fully capable of winning the gig and surprising people out of the gates as a rookie.