ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- If you think the Denver Broncos wouldn't even consider pairing a starting quarterback who hasn't started an NFL game with a backup quarterback who hasn't started an NFL game, think again.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak hasn't decided who will be the team's starting quarterback for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Carolina Panthers, nor has he decided what the depth chart at quarterback will look like overall.
But Trevor Siemian, who will start Saturday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, would seem to have the inside track to start the opener. And now rookie Paxton Lynch just might be battling to jump Mark Sanchez on the depth chart as well.
With roster cuts looming, Kubiak was asked after Thursday's practice what impact it would have on the team's decision-making to have two quarterbacks who have not started an NFL regular-season game.
"Zero," Kubiak said quickly. "I'm looking at what's taken place the last six months: how they've handled themselves, how they've handled the team and how they respond to things. That's what I'm looking at."
Kubiak has split practice repetitions between Siemian and Sanchez virtually down the middle through the offseason and training camp. However, Lynch has recently worked a little more with the starting offense, a smattering of plays here and there in recent practices.
If Siemian performs well Saturday and keeps the starting job for the regular season, the next big question for the Broncos would be whether Lynch is ready to serve as the No. 2 quarterback. For Sanchez, who is suddenly facing the prospect of being a No. 3 quarterback with a $4.5 million salary, that could make his spot on the roster tenuous.
If Sanchez is not on the roster to open the season, the Broncos do not have to send a conditional draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles as part of the original trade that brought him to the Broncos.
As of Thursday afternoon, Kubiak said he had not decided who would follow Siemian into the game against the Rams. Siemian did not throw in Tuesday's practice because of a sore right shoulder, but he threw Wednesday and was a full participant Thursday.
"I know who's going first," Kubiak said about the quarterback rotation. "No, I haven't made a decision [about the No. 2]."
Siemian is expected to play at least until halftime, and some of the Broncos starters will play into the third quarter. Asked whether he wanted the second quarterback into the game to play alongside some of the starters in the Broncos' offense, Kubiak said:
"Yeah, my biggest thing is, I'm going to take a look at how long I'm going to play the starters, and then it has to do with what I'm going to do with the other guys," Kubiak said. "We'll see. I'm conscious of Trevor for the last two days. Is he ready to play? Is he full load and go? It sure looks that way to me."