Trevor Siemian was 'clear-cut winner,' but now the real work begins

No surprise that Siemian is Broncos' starting QB (1:38)

The NFL Live crew breaks down the Broncos' reported decision to name Trevor Siemian as the team's starting quarterback over Paxton Lynch. (1:38)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Don't look now, but Trevor Siemian has started fresh, in an open competition, and won the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback job in two consecutive summers.

He's done it with two different coaching staffs, two different playbooks in two different scenarios. And Monday Broncos coach Vance Joseph said that ability to adapt was among the reasons Siemian was named the starter over Paxton Lynch after a competition, this time around, that stretched back to the start of the team's offseason program in April.

"That's a huge deal for him being a seventh-round pick and being an NFL starter and win the job two years in a row, that's a tough deal," Joseph said. "Paxton's disappointed, but he understood. He is going to support Trevor, and moving forward he knows that he's one play from playing. He can't lose his enthusiasm to keep getting better as a quarterback."

Siemian, a seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft, won the job as the surprise entrant in 2016, when he outplayed Mark Sanchez and Lynch before former coach Gary Kubiak named him the starter after the Broncos' third preseason game. This time Siemian and Lynch, the Broncos' first-round pick in 2016, competed for the job almost from the time Joseph took the job in January.

And with Siemian having won the job -- again -- his career arc and that of Lynch are in different places. It means Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, as well as Joseph, will have to manage them both.

"In my opinion, we have two quarterbacks," Joseph said Monday after declaring Siemian the "clear-cut winner" of the competition. "Most teams can't say that and I truly believe that. We do have two guys. Whoever would have played, I would have felt comfortable with, but Trevor was more consistent with what we asked those guys to do as a starting quarterback."

But now Siemian has to be the leader behind center for a team that, frankly, believes it's better than has been portrayed in the national narrative. Siemian will be in his second season as a starter and has to turn the toughness and decision-making he showed last season into touchdown drives. The Broncos need to be far better closing the deal than they were last year.

Asked Monday if he believed he could make the jump from this second quarterback competition to being a long-term starter, Siemian said, "I hope so, I mean, I think I can. I've got a long ways to go. I know where I can get better, I also know some of the things I do do well."

"I want Trevor to be himself," Joseph said. "He's a bright guy. He's focused. Trevor gets no credit for being a guy with a great arm. That's never been talked about as far as Trevor's arm talent. He's got a great arm. Just be yourself, Trevor. Use your weapons. Be a leader and play good football for us. Be a leader. Just be Trevor. That's all we want."

Several times this offseason, Joseph has said openly that the fact Siemian had thrown for more than 3,400 yards in 14 games in his first year as a starter in '16, when the team went 8-6 in those starts, was overlooked at times. Siemian played most of the season with a shoulder injury and an ornamental run game that finished 28th in the league.

But this time Siemian gets a team that spent money in free agency and a first-round pick on its offensive line in order to protect the quarterback better and expects to have a run game that can tip the scales.

"He won nine games last year and probably could have won 10 or 11," Joseph said. "So I'm excited about Trevor; protecting him more than we did last year, running the football better and continue to play great defense. I think he fits the bill for us."

Lynch is left as a first-round pick who is waiting his turn on a team that wasn't comfortable letting him try to learn on the job. He has to make better decisions in the pocket, be more reliable working through his progressions and work as hard as Siemian did when he was the team's No. 3 quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.

Lynch vowed Monday he would not "sit around and pout" as the Broncos moved through the regular season.

"What's holding him back is experience. It's not simply about how tall you are, arm strength, how fast you run," Joseph said. "What's holding him back now is experience."

"I'm very happy with how I handled myself through this whole process," Lynch said. "And how I'm progressing as a player. I'm making the right strides, I'm heading in the right direction, I'm very excited about that."