ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Perhaps they were happy not throwing against their own swarming defense, but the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks were smooth and productive in a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers Wednesday.
“I thought they did a really good job," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. “It was good for them to see different stuff, they were looking at some different coverages. It’s a really good competition, they’re both becoming really good players. It’s a tough decision for us, but that’s a good thing because they’re doing their jobs."
Kubiak said Wednesday he wasn’t ready to make a public declaration about who would start Saturday’s preseason game against the 49ers -- he joked, “I’ll probably work on it tomorrow" -- let alone who would start the Sept. 8 season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
But all three of the Broncos' quarterbacks, including rookie Paxton Lynch, settled into things against the 49ers’ defense, with Sanchez and Siemian each tossing long touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders in team drills. The three Broncos' quarterbacks have previously found some tough football sledding against the Broncos’ defense, which finished the 2015 season No. 1 in the league and powered a Super Bowl run.
The Broncos have nine starters back on defense in addition to a key situational player in cornerback Bradley Roby, a guy defensive coordinator Wade Phillips routinely calls “a starter." Which means the Broncos' passers were happy to see some unfamiliar faces across the line of scrimmage.
“(Wednesday) was a good test for us," Sanchez said.
“It was pretty dang close," Siemian said when asked how close Wednesday’s practice was to game conditions.
Kubiak said this week, with practices Wednesday and Thursday against the 49ers along with Saturday’s game, would have a significant impact on the decision at quarterback. And while Lynch is considered the long-term solution at the position, both Siemian and Sanchez have split time with the starting offense.
The two also split the work with the starters in Wednesday’s practice with the 49ers.
Asked how he’s managed the competition so far, Sanchez said: “Good plays, bad plays and everything in between. Now it’s just a matter of maximizing those good plays, eliminating the bad plays, even if you’re in a bad play, what’s really the lesser of a few evils... (The) best guy will play. You keep putting your best foot forward, making good throws and good decisions."
Siemian said he’s taking the “day-by-day" approach, and both quarterbacks said they’ll keep competing until they get the decision from Kubiak.
“Playing quarterback is a lot to think about, a lot to focus on, just trying to do my job the best I can," Siemian said. “I’m having a blast out here."
“We’re rooting for each other, to be honest," Sanchez said. “I think it’s hard on the outside for people to see that."