Joseph misses mark with QB competition remarks
Vance Joseph has a serious quarterback controversy on his hands in his first season as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, but following Thursday’s come-from-behind win on the road against the Chicago Bears to open the preseason, Joseph completely missed the mark when it comes to the QB situation he inherited from Gary Kubiak.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are the two quarterbacks vying for the starting job in Denver, but on Thursday night neither really pushed themselves out in front of the other in the competition. Realisticily, one of those guys will eventually be named the starter, but Joseph seemed to miss the forest for the trees with his comments about undrafted rookie free agent Kyle Sloter out of Northern Colorado.
Following the win, Joseph told the media that there was no chance Sloter could win the job, regardless of how he plays in the final three preseason games. Maybe that directive came from up top, starting with John Elway, but to say a guy can’t win the job regardless of how he plays is beyond stupid.
I understand the fact that Denver invested so much draft capital in Lynch and so much development time in Siemian last year, but the fact of the matter is that neither is really running away with the job, but the one guy who continues to put up consistent performance day after day is Sloter.
Sure, he’s not the flashy name at quarterback, but neither was Siemian last year when he took over for the retired Peyton Manning. What Siemian did was come into camp, display consistent qualities that put faith in the coaching staff and his teammates, and went out and put up an 8-6 record with solid passing numbers as a starter in his first year.
By no means am I advocating for Sloter to win the starting job based off of his performance in the fourth quarter against the Bears, but to come out publicly and say a guy has no shot at winning a job that is supposed to be wide open is detrimental to the 2017 Broncos, as well as future editions of the Broncos under Joseph.
In an ideal world, Lynch wins the job due to his play on the field, not because of his draft status. From there, the Memphis product goes on to be the franchise QB Elway expected him to be when he traded up in the 2016 NFL Draft to get the tall, mobile quarterback.
Sometimes things just don’t work out the way everyone hopes they do. Lynch may very well turn out to be the franchise quarterback most of the fan base wants him to be, but to write off a guy like Sloter for the job because of where he sits on the depth chart is insane.
It’s not like Sloter is some borderline NFL quarterback. The UNC Bear transferred from Southern Miss to get playing time and lit it up at UNC, throwing for 2,665 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his senior year, adding three rushing touchdowns. He’s got the height, arm strength and mobility that a guy like Lynch has, so why should he be easily overlooked for the job?
If all late-round or undrafted quarterbacks were written off for the starting job, the NFL wouldn’t know the likes of Tom Brady, Joe Theismann, Rich Gannon, Tony Romo, Kurt Warner or Warren Moon. Most of those guys are Hall of Famers already, while a few others will most likely wind up in Canton as well.
But before you go reading further into that than you should, I’m not saying Sloter is a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback. That would be downright silly.
What I am saying though is that if you can play, you can play and it shouldn’t matter where you’re drafted or how much you were signed for. If someone is clearly the best for the job, they should be playing.
Right now it looks like Siemian is still too conservative, Lynch is woefully inaccurate and Sloter is calm, cool and collected in Mike McCoy’s offense.
I’d like to see the UNC product get a shot against second-teamers in the next preseason game. If he aces that test as well, maybe he should get a shot with the starting unit in the third preseason game.
Just don’t write off a guy this early. It’s not what’s best for the team whatsoever.