Many outsiders tabbed Trevor Siemian as the leading man for the Denver Broncos starting quarterback job after coach Gary Kubiak named Siemian the starter for Denver’s all-important third preseason game.
That probably isn’t the wrong estimation to make. Typically, the eventual starting quarterback gets the bulk of the reps in the annual dress rehearsal. But, the man fighting to overtake Siemian, veteran Mark Sanchez, isn’t ready to give up the starting job just yet.
Sanchez hasn’t looked particularly great during his first preseason in Denver after a stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. He went 10-of-17 for 120 yards in Denver’s second preseason game. His performance hasn’t been terrible, but Sanchez also hasn’t done much to quell the doubters. Despite his lackluster preseason, Sanchez hasn’t stopped competing.
“It wasn’t like, ‘OK, that’s it,’ and throw in the towel,” Sanchez said, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “I think a lot of people interpreted it that way, but that’s never been my attitude. I don’t quit, and I’ll take this thing down to the wire if that’s what it takes.”
Whoever wins the starting job will immediately feel the mounting pressure to lead the Broncos back to another Super Bowl. Sanchez actually has winning experience with a strong running game and an elite defense. He managed the New York Jets to consecutive AFC Championship game appearances behind a powerful ground game and a stellar defense behind him.
Siemian doesn’t have any experience at all. He’s yet to throw a professional pass, but he does have a year in Denver’s system and the unprecedented advantage of learning under Peyton Manning. The seventh-round pick’s collegiate statistics aren’t inspiring either, as he threw for only 27 touchdowns in four seasons at Northwestern.
But, clearly college performance doesn’t matter. Sanchez was once a golden boy at USC and was drafted fifth overall by the Jets in 2009. Siemian flew far more under the radar when he went pro, but now he’s the front-runner to start for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Just don’t tell Sanchez that.