ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - As the Broncos close in on the end of their offseason program, coach Gary Kubiak formally put the race to the team's starting quarterback as tie between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian.
Sanchez has worked with the starters in practice for the past two weeks, including last week's minicamp, but after Tuesday's practice Kubiak said Sanchez and Siemian have a substantial lead over rookie Paxton Lynch.
"They've all done good things -- what we're trying to find is that consistent guy,'' Kubiak said immediately after Tuesday's official team activities. "I think Trevor and Mark have kind of looked each other in the eye the whole offseason. When I sit and watch them practice, I think they're right there banging on each other, think the young kid is extremely talented and young. He does a lot of great things and then he has his trouble, so we're trying to find a consistency somewhere.''
Asked to elaborate on what he meant by "looked each other in the eye,'' Kubiak said:
"I think they're looking each in the eye throughout the course of the offseason. Who's ahead? Who's [No.] 1? I think those two guys are right there with each other; it's a very competitive situation. They're obviously ahead of the young guy. ... Those two guys have been very close.''
Kubiak said he will meet with the coaches in the coming days to decide if the team will keep a definitive 1-2-3 look during work in practices when training camp opens in late July. Since arriving in a trade from Philadelphia, Sanchez has had the look of the team's starter in practice, but several Broncos players repeatedly said Siemian was getting noticed.
Kubiak's public acknowledgement of Siemian's work and place in the conversation about the team's starting quarterback is affirmation of the praise from Siemian's teammates in recent weeks.
It also means Kubiak isn't afraid of a defending Super Bowl champion opening up training camp with a quarterback battle underway. And that message has been received by the quarterbacks as well.
"Definitely a different role for me, but not much has changed in the way I'm going about things,'' said Siemian, who was a seventh-round draft pick by the Broncos in 2015. "I'm trying to operate the same. I think that's kind of what got me into this position and what is going to help me through."
Kubiak also removed the assistant coaches from the equation during Tuesday's practice, as he told quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison to step aside and let all three quarterbacks run the no-huddle in team drills, including some goal-line situations as well as two-minute drills.
"I tried to create a little chaos in practice, I wanted to see how some of our young guys react to a little craziness on the field,'' Kubiak said. "We basically went speed all practice, no huddle all practice, get the coaches out of their hip pocket, throw them out there, throw all kinds of situations at them and see how they react in certain situations.''