Practice performance will determine if Paxton Lynch dresses as No. 2 QB

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the week drew to a close, Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph still wasn’t ready to publicly say whether quarterback Paxton Lynch will be in uniform for the first time this season Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Lynch, who suffered a right shoulder injury in the Aug. 26 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, has worked as the backup to Brock Osweiler in practice this week. It was the first time this season Lynch had worked as even the No. 2 quarterback in practice and it was his most extensive work throwing since his injury.

Osweiler will start his third consecutive game Sunday since Trevor Siemian was benched after a three-interception night in the Broncos' Oct. 30 loss at Kansas City. After Friday’s practice, when Lynch worked as the No. 2 in drills during the open period for third consecutive day, Joseph was noncommittal whether Lynch would be in uniform.

“That’s still being discussed. He practiced all week and looked fine, so we’ll see," Joseph said.

Joseph said the Broncos will have only two quarterbacks active for the game, so either Lynch or Siemian will be the backup. And when asked what the determining factors would be in the decision, Joseph said simply: “The determining factors will be how well we thought Paxton practiced this week. ... He could be up."

The Broncos will have to consider what they’ll do at tight end as well. Two of the three tight ends on the roster -- Jeff Heuerman (knee) and A.J. Derby (shoulder) -- have been ruled out for the game as they did not practice this week. Virgil Green is the only healthy player at the position on the current 53-player roster. The Broncos do have two tight ends on the practice squad -- Austin Traylor and Brian Parker -- but the Broncos would have to release another player, or move a player to injured reserve, to sign one of them to the roster.

The Broncos could use more two-back formations to cover for Derby’s and Heuerman’s injuries or they could use a tackle as a second tight end in some of their personnel groupings. Tackle Donald Stephenson has been limited this week with a calf injury, but Joseph said he would be healthy enough to play as a second tight end if needed.

Allen Barbre will get his second consecutive start at right tackle.