ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The yeah-but part of a sentence is a big part of September life in the NFL.
The season's calendar has plenty of pages left, there is far too much of the story left to be told to get too wrapped in what happens right after Labor Day. Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. knows this, he's one of many players in the team's locker room with a Super Bowl ring after the 2015 team handled its week-to-week business from end to end that season.
But Harris saw what plenty of his teammates saw Monday night from quarterback Trevor Siemian. And Harris believes a few more games like that one and maybe, just maybe, more people outside the team's locker room will appreciate Siemian as much as the guys inside the locker room do.
"I never understood why people, even some people in Broncos country, don't have Trev's back all the time, never have full confidence in him," Harris said. "We see him every day, he can make all the throws, very smart, intelligent guy and if you give him time he's going to pick you apart. That's what he did (Monday) when he had that time."
Siemian was in control in Monday night's win against the Los Angeles Chargers, an efficient 17-of-28 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Siemian also showed more willingness to pull the ball down when he saw some open space to run with six carries for 19 yards, including his first career rushing touchdown.
He had a bad luck interception that bounced off Chargers cornerback Desmond King's shoe before Chargers safety Adrian Phillips reeled it in, but he also saw Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward drop what could have been an interception returned for a touchdown. Overall, though, the Broncos saw Siemian play with a comfort level in the offense with completions to seven different players and three scoring drives in the Broncos' first six possessions.
But it was the mobility that was the biggest change from last season when Siemian played much of the year with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. One of Siemian's touchdown passes came on a "free play" after the Chargers had jumped offside and Siemian threw on the move to Bennie Fowler.
"He calls it backyard football, something that he's been doing since he was young," said Broncos running back C.J. Anderson. "We never have a chance to see it, but now he's in the position to make those plays. I don't think he wants to make a living off of it though. Let's just keep him in the pocket. His arm is a lot better than his feet, for sure."
Before Gary Kubiak stepped down as Broncos' coach following the '16 season, one of the tasks he gave Siemian on the developmental curve was "to manage his health," as Kubiak put it. That Siemian had to consider when he should escape the pocket to get what he can or throw the ball away to avoid a hit.
He still took more than his share of hits from the physical Chargers' defensive front -- he was sacked four times behind pass protection that coach Vance Joseph said was "not that good" -- and Joseph added that he would like to see Siemian slide feet first when finishing a run, rather that diving as he did several times Monday night.
"Yes, it's a long season so you don't want to take too many unnecessary hits," Siemian said. "You look back you say, 'yeah I could have avoided that one.' During the play you're not thinking about that too much."
Asked if other people worry about his health more than he does, Siemian added:
"Probably more so than I do, I think it's football," Siemian said. "It's a physical game and I think there's a perception that as a quarterback you don't want to get hit a lot. In the division we play in with the edge guys we play and the fronts we play, I think it's almost an inevitability. You have to be smart, too. I agree with that."
Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys is another potential show-me moment for Siemian. His Broncos' teammates belief in him in the face of the questions from the outside does seem to mirror their belief in what the team can do as compared to what some have predicted.
"Hey man, any quarterback under duress is not going to play like he should, it doesn't matter who it is, that's why we like to put quarterbacks under duress as a defense, no matter who they are," Harris said. "Trev can make those plays. If we protect him, give him field position as a defense, everybody will see."