QB decision tops camp to-do list for 2017 Denver Broncos

Preseason games to dictate Broncos' starting QB (0:58)

Jeff Darlington says Denver head coach Vance Joseph is expecting to decide in preseason if Trevor Siemian will be replaced by Paxton Lynch. (0:58)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos open training camp on July 26 at UCHealth Training Center here, and the first full team practice is scheduled for July 27. Here’s a closer look at the Broncos camp:

Top storyline: You could say it’s the new coaching staff with Vance Joseph at the helm. Or you could say it’s one of the league’s elite defenses trying to keep itself at the front of the line. But who are you kidding? The Broncos’ impending decision at quarterback will lead the way through the summer. Either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch will win the job. But this is a tough one for the coaches. If they hand the job to the guy who doesn't really win it, a veteran locker room filled with players who believe the Broncos are still Super Bowl contenders will not be happy.

QB depth chart: Siemian started 14 games last season and earned piles of respect from his teammates for the way he handled the pounding he took behind suspect offensive line. Lynch has all of the physical tools, but he needs to show he understands more of what defenses are trying to do in front of him. Rookie Chad Kelly will almost certainly start camp on the physically unable to perform list, but the Broncos believe there is plenty of potential in their seventh-round pick provided he shows maturity.

Bubble watch: The Broncos have created crowded wide receiver and running back meeting rooms. That means some folks who have been in uniform and contributed in recent seasons, such as wide receiver Cody Latimer and running back Juwan Thompson, will have to fight like never before to keep their spots.

That rookie could start: The Broncos might have a tinge of disappointment if rookie left tackle Garett Bolles isn’t in the lineup for the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. Bolles opened the offseason program behind Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo on the depth chart at left tackle. By the time the Broncos had concluded their work in June, Bolles was splitting time with Sambrailo as the starter. Bolles is athletic and more advanced in pass protection than he is in the run game, but he’s trending toward being right where the Broncos hoped when they made him the 20th overall pick of the draft.

Keep their word: The Broncos handled their quarterback competition with efficiency and transparency last season. Siemian was the clear winner and he started. They must do it again this time because the team’s players want to back the winner. To be the team they believe they can be, though, the Broncos can’t simply hand Lynch the job because he’s a former No. 1 pick. It's the same reason they didn’t hand Bradley Roby a starting job at cornerback or why they took Von Miller off the field on some third downs as a rookie in 2011 because of mistakes in coverage. Joseph and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy have said the quarterback battle will be a straight-up competition that leaves the draft résumés out of the equation.

Find the five: The Broncos will begin yet another training camp without knowing exactly what their offensive line will look like. They simply have to find continuity in a group that has struggled for much of the past two seasons. They pulled it together, just enough, in the Super Bowl run to close out the 2015 season, but it won’t matter if the Broncos pick Siemian, Lynch or bring Elway out of retirement behind center if they can’t protect the quarterback far better and run the ball with consistency. Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, a respected assistant around the league, has perhaps the most important to-do list on the staff.

For daily updates at camp, check out the Denver Broncos’ clubhouse page.