By Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press
Von Miller is back to lead Denver’s devastating defense. Still undetermined is who will direct the Broncos’ revamped offense.
Journeyman Mark Sanchez, rookie Paxton Lynch and the unheralded Trevor Siemian are in the mix at quarterback for the Broncos, who lost Brock Osweiler to free agency 48 hours after Peyton Manning’s misty-eyed retirement.
No team has successfully defended its Super Bowl title since the 2004 New England Patriots. The Broncos are the first team since the 2001 Baltimore Ravens to try to go back to back after losing its top two QBs.
After losing the bidding duel with Houston for Osweiler, GM John Elway acquired Sanchez from the Eagles and outmaneuvered Jerry Jones to select Lynch out of Memphis in the first round of the draft.
Yet, it was Siemian, the 2015 seventh-rounder with just one snap on his resume, who looked the sharpest in Denver’s drama-filled offseason, putting him in prime position to upset Sanchez for the starting job.
“I think they’re looking each other right in the eye throughout the whole course of the offseason as far who is ahead and who is one or two,” coach Gary Kubiak said.
“I think those two guys are right there with each other. I think it’s a very competitive situation. They’re obviously ahead of our young guy just from a mental standpoint right now.”
Ideally, Lynch would sit a season as he adjusts to the NFL after running the spread offense in college.
Both Sanchez and Siemian took the briefest of summer vacations before returning to Denver to continue their quest to take over an offense that features just four returning starters.
The defense lost Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan to free agency, but returns most members of the one of the best defenses in NFL history. His defense is so devastating that Kubiak won’t have to wait for the preseason games to see which of his quarterbacks is his guy.
Kubiak said he’ll ratchet up the pressure — easier with Miller back in uniform — and run plenty of no-huddle over the first couple of weeks of training camp to see who’ll win the job.