DENVER -- QB or not QB? That is the question.
Um, Bill Shakespeare, no it's not. We have moved on. The story has mercifully shifted to other issues on the roster after Trevor Siemian outplayed Paxton Lynch to win the starting job. The Broncos hold their exhibition home opener tonight with plenty at stake. These games don't count, but they matter to several players against the Green Bay Packers.
Let's take a look at My Take 3 Keys to Broncos vs. Packers:
1) Take over Trevor
Siemian no longer needs to look over his shoulder. He beat out Lynch, fair and square. Siemian's next challenge remains more difficult: showing he can improve an offense that ranked near the bottom of roughly every meaningful offensive category last season. It starts with the final dress rehearsal Saturday night. Siemian receives a half of playing time to rev the motor.
“I think we’re getting to that point in camp where we’ve gotten plenty of reps under our belt. We certainly have a much better feel now than I did when we started. I think it’s only going to continue to get better. I just really like the scheme a lot and I don’t just speak for myself. I know everybody is enjoying the scheme. We’re doing some really good things I think.”
While uncertain after June OTAs, coach Vance Joseph has become bullish on Siemian after watching him camp. He sees more upside than critics who believe Siemian has reached his ceiling, casting him as a backup quarterback.
“Absolutely, I think Trevor gets no credit for his arm talent. He won nine games last year and probably could have won 10 or 11," Joseph said. "So I’m excited about Trevor; protecting him more than we did last year, running the football better and continue to play great defense. I think he fits the bill for us.”
2) Will the real Jamaal Charles please stand up?
Jamaal Charles boasts a resume as impressive as anyone on the Broncos. Problem is he has played eight games in the past two seasons because of knee injuries. The Broncos spent the past several months getting him healthy. He ditched the right knee brace this week, and is poised to make a statement and make the team Saturday. He must show he has a role for the Broncos to guarantee his $1.5 million if he's on the opening week roster.
“I don’t try to do too much. I try not to put pressure on me. I’ve been playing football going on 10 years and I’ve been playing football since high school and Pop Warner," said Charles, whose attempting to beat out Stevan Ridley, who, unlike Charles, can play special teams. "Just go out there and have fun, that’s the most exciting thing. Go out there and just have fun and let it come to you.”
Everything I have seen from Charles the past two weeks suggests he will play well. He has shown burst. But how will his knee feel after the game? That is part of the equation as well. He will run in front of the starting line as center Matt Paradis makes his debut this week following offseason hip surgeries.
3) Hello, Von. Be Careful
Von Miller rolls with the punches. He's DFW -- Down For Whatever. He will make his preseason debut tonight. That's the good news. The bad news? He's making his preseason debut. After watching the Patriots lose star receiver Julian Edelman (knee) for the season and Kansas City lose Spencer Ware (knee) for several weeks on Friday night, it's fair to wonder if Miller should play. The Broncos can ill afford to be without Miller. The defense looks strong and has stopped the run better -- holding San Francisco to 25 yards on 10 carries in the first half last week. Playing against Aaron Rodgers, even for a series, offers a nice test. But frankly, this defense looks ready. Defensive end Derek Wolfe tweeted a picture Saturday morning saying he's "almost 100 percent" after spraining his right ankle. He should be cleared for the Sept. 11 season opener along with defensive end Jared Crick (back spasms), who was doing incline running and agility drills this week.
"Whatever VJ wants me to do, I’m going to be ready to go. Preseason, regular season or playoffs, it doesn’t matter to me anymore," Miller sadi. "It’s just like baseball, whenever it’s my turn to pitch, I’m going to go pitch. It doesn’t matter the game, I’m going to go out there and be me if it’s my time to go."