By Arnie Stapleton, AP Pro Football Writer
DENVER (AP) — Broncos rookie Paxton Lynch will make his first NFL start Sunday when Denver hosts the Atlanta Falcons, a person with knowledge of coach Gary Kubiak’s decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t make the choice public, said Siemian’s sprained left shoulder isn’t 100 percent and the hope is that the extra time will allow Siemian to start Thursday night in San Diego.
Siemian sprained his AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder just before halftime of Denver’s 27-7 win at Tampa Bay last weekend and Lynch completed 14 of 24 passes for 170 yards and a TD in relief.
Kubiak reiterated Monday that Siemian was still his starter but would only play this weekend if his health allowed. On Friday, Kubiak said the short turnaround before the Chargers game would have no bearing on who he decides to start against Atlanta.
The Falcons (3-1) bring the NFL’s top-rated offense but the league’s 30th-ranked defense into Denver on Sunday, where the Broncos (4-0) are seeking their 10th consecutive victory.
Lynch got all the snaps with the starters with Siemian sitting out Wednesday’s practice, and he continued to get the bulk of the reps even as Siemian returned Thursday and gradually increased his workload.
Unlike last year, when the Broncos had to make major changes in their game plan depending on whether Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler was starting, the coaches only have to thin the playbook a little bit with Lynch, the 26th overall pick out of Memphis in the April draft.
“It definitely feels good knowing that I’ve played in a game if I were to start or play in this game,” Lynch said Wednesday. “It feels good to get some game reps under your belt so you’re not just thrown out there.”