ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Trevor Siemian will start at quarterback for the Denver Broncos in the Sept. 8 season opener against the Carolina Panthers, coach Gary Kubiak announced in a team meeting Monday morning.
Kubiak made the announcement just before the players broke off into position-group meetings.
"I think he's earned the right to be our guy,'' Kubiak said. "I go back and look at the body of work throughout the course of the offseason, watch training camp, throughout the preseason, how far he's come. I watch how much he's improved in my opinion, the grasp that he has with what we're doing, to me he's earned the right to go out there and be our starter.''
It is the next step in Siemian's staggering offseason journey. The 2015 seventh-round pick -- whose lone snap on the field last season was a kneel-down just before halftime in the Broncos' Dec. 20 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- will now succeed Peyton Manning.
The last time Siemian started a game, it was for Northwestern on Nov. 22, 2014 at Purdue.
Siemian closed the deal Saturday night with his performance in the Broncos' preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. But Kubiak had consistently said it was a "body of work'' that would be at the root of the decision.
Siemian looked composed and comfortable as he finished 10-of-17 for 122 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Rams. It is unclear, for the moment, what Kubiak's plan for the No. 2 quarterback is and what it all means for the near future of Mark Sanchez.
"It's not that other guys didn't do something, it's more how far Trevor has come as a player,'' Kubiak said.
Rookie Paxton Lynch followed Siemian into Saturday's game as the Broncos' No. 2 quarterback, and Sanchez did not play. Kubiak had said following the game he would make a decision this week on a starter.
Siemian has consistently shown he made the most of his time with Manning in the Broncos' run to the Super Bowl win last season. He has been the most consistent player at the position over the last few weeks and is ready to hear his name and the word "starter'' in the same sentence.
"I think every day he kind of showed us 'I can do this, I'm going to be competitive in this situation and that I believe in myself,' " Kubiak said. "And you just saw him grow every day throughout the course of the offseason and when he came back from the summer he was even better.''
When asked following Saturday's game if he believed he would be named the starter, Siemian said he was "confident" but that it was up to Kubiak.
Asked if he believed he had done enough to be the starter, Siemian said: "I do, but again that's not my call. I'll just try to be the best teammate I can be.''
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Broncos will be the first defending Super Bowl champion to start a quarterback with zero career pass attempts in the following season's opener.
Kubiak hinted which way he was leaning in his evaluation of Siemian's play after Saturday's game.
"I'm impressed -- I think he's very calm,'' Kubiak said. "I can tell by the way he handles the team in the huddle, he's got control of what's going on. Gets a bad break on the 'go' ball and comes right back and goes down the field. I think what I see is a guy getting better."