Welcome to life after Manning: Siemian, Sanchez, Lynch kick of Broncos’ QB competition

The sun sets over Sports Authority Field. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  sports; sports authority field; broncos; sunset; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty

The sun sets over Sports Authority Field. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

What a difference a year makes.

When the Broncos kicked off OTAs in 2015, a guy named Peyton Manning was lining up under center with the Broncos’ first-team offense. You might have heard of him. Most career passing yards ever, most career TD passes of all time. A lot of records. A couple Super Bowl wins.

This year, it was Trevor Siemian who ran the Broncos’ first-team offense when OTAs began Tuesday. A second-year player out Northwestern, Siemian has all of one career passing attempt in the NFL. Just a slightly less seasoned hand than Manning.

Siemian is one of three quarterbacks along with Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch who is vying for the Broncos’ starting QB post. Siemian is widely viewed as a longshot to get the gig, but there he was, taking reps with the first team Tuesday.

Some of that was due to injury. Sanchez, who Denver traded for in March, was only able to participate in the first OTA practice on a limited basis. He’s still dealing with the effects of surgery on his left thumb. Sanchez wore a soft cast on the injured digit. Coach Gary Kubiak said Sanchez will be ready to take team reps starting next week, per The Denver Post.

Rookie Paxton Lynch, who Denver chose in the first round of Aprils’ NFL Draft, practiced with the second team.

The Broncos’ staff has repeatedly said that the quarterback competition is a three-horse race. General manager John Elway and coach Gary Kubiak have heaped praise of Siemian, although it seems unlikely he’ll emerge the winner.

We’ll know more when Sanchez fully recovers from the thumb injury and Lynch gets more snaps. For now, though, there’s just a lot of uncertainty. So it goes when a legendary quarterback retires and his replacement leaves in free agency.