Broncos' Vance Joseph remains open-minded about veteran quarterback

Posted at 10:02 AM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 15:04:36-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the first time Wednesday, the Broncos cracked the door open on the pursuit of a veteran quarterback.

Coach Vance Joseph told Denver7 he remains comfortable with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. However, he did not rule out adding an experienced signal-caller in free agency. Tony Romo was not mentioned by name, but his situation could soon clarify with the Dallas Cowboys prepared to release him.

"I think having a veteran quarterback who has won games in the past brings excitement to your locker room and your city," Joseph said. "That being said, we have two young guys who won nine games combined and should have won more. Moving forward we are satisfied with the two young kids. We need to fix the offensive line, run the football better and protecting the passer better is a must."

What would change the Broncos' commitment to a Siemian-Lynch derby for the vacancy? The right name perhaps?

"I am not sure. Right now we have two guys, and there's no one available to talk about," Joseph said.

Romo's status continues to inch toward resolution. The feeling has been for weeks that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will do right by Romo, releasing him to pursue a starting job after he lost his spot to Dak Prescott. According to multiple reports, Romo, who turns 37 in April, believes he can play 2-to-3 more seasons. He appeared in only five of the Cowboys' last 32 regular-season games, undermined by two collarbone breaks and a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra in his back. In his last healthy season in 2014, Romo threw for 3,705 yards with 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

Romo is scheduled to make $14 million this season. To facilitate a move to Denver, he would likely have to be willing to lower his base salary given the team's desire to address multiple needs under the salary cap. The Broncos are expected to express interest in Romo when he becomes a free agent. 

Teams consistently listed as potential suitors for Romo include the Broncos, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears. 

Joseph addressed Siemian's recovery from elective surgery on his left shoulder and Lynch's growth curve. Siemian told Denver7 last week he is out of the sling and healing on schedule. Siemian admitted he would know a more definitive timeline after a follow up exam later this month. 

"Trevor's doing fine. He's rehabbing everyday in the building. He's on track for OTAs (in April)," Joseph said. "It's his left shoulder. We feel good about where he's at."

Joseph also added that the focus of OTAs will center on the quarterbacks learning new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's system, which is about 60 percent implemented at this point. 

"The competition will be during training camp," Joseph said.

As for Lynch, this remains an important offseason for him to improve. He went 1-1 last season and appeared uncomfortable under center and with the verbiage of an NFL offense.

"Is he ready? I am not sure. Obviously he has great skills. He's a tall man with a big arm," Joseph said. "But is he ready? That's a tough question."

Joseph painted the picture of a Broncos team that will be aggressive in free agency as it attempts to fill holes on the offensive and defensive lines. Denver is seeking a left tackle after cutting ties with Russell Okung, and Joseph plans to talk with general manager John Elway about right tackle Donald Stephenson's status on Tuesday. The Broncos must decide by March 13 whether to guarantee Stephenson's option. 

Joseph said the team's preference is to find a left tackle in free agency, if possible, and not attempt to convert a right tackle. He also said center Matt Paradis, who underwent surgery on both hips this offseason, should be ready for the start of training camp.

Defensively, Joseph discussed multiple issues. He stressed the team's strengths create options given how the Broncos defend the pass and rush the quarterback. He likes the physicality of inside linebacker Todd Davis, who is a restricted free agent, and kept the window open, if only slightly, for the return of rusher DeMarcus Ware.

"Lots of things going into that as far as where he wants to be, how much he wants to play and his role," said Joseph of Ware, who projects as a 20-snap player if he remains with the Broncos. "That's a work in progress."

As a first year coach, Joseph appeared comfortable in the spotlight Wednesday as he continues to grow into his role. He inherits a team poised to rebound.

"We won nine games last year, and you would think we won three," Joseph said. "That's a good thing. We have a top 10 defense and the offense isn't as bad as people think. We need to finish in the red zone. But we aren't that far away."


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