Kubiak makes it official: Siemian becomes Broncos starter

Seventh-round won job with strong preseason
Posted at 9:41 AM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 16:46:13-04

DENVER --- Trevor Siemian looked at his phone on Saturday night and knew his life had changed forever. 

"I get a lot of texts from numbers I don't recognize," he said with a smile. 

Siemian is the new starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Coach Gary Kubiak made official Monday what was obvious when Siemian started the final two preseason games. 

It is an improbable story, the seventh-round draft pick with a bum knee taking over for Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Siemian won the job with more consistency than Mark Sanchez. Siemian finished the preseason -- he won't play in the final game on Thursday -- with 27 completions in 43 attempts for 285 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. 

"I am not trying to be Peyton. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer. I (learned) preparation Monday-Saturday from him," Siemian said. "I just tried to be myself (in this competition). I have tried to keep the same mindset the whole way through."

Siemian remained calm as a lagoon with the media, saying he received cool texts from his parents. Coach Kubiak explained his decision after Monday's rain-soaked practice. 

"Is it a lot to ask of a young kid? Yeah. But not the team. He has the earned the right to start," said Kubiak, who praised Siemian's ability to digest and implement a full game plan, leaving no need to curtail the playbook because of his inexperience.  "Everyday he showed us he can do this. He showed he believes in himself. I feel like it is the right decision. I knew it would be a tough decision."

Siemian said after Saturday's game he was ready to take the position. He has impressed teammates with his calm and leadership. He will become the the first Northwestern quarterback to start an NFL opener since Otto Graham in 1955. The last Northwestern quarterback to start in an NFL game was Randy Dean with the New York Giants in 1979.

"The guys gave him a big hand when I told them. They know how hard Trevor has worked," Kubiak said. "I believe in this kid. I know what he can do for this team and what the team can do for him."

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders praised Siemian's slow heartbeat. He shared an ancedote of Siemian singing the lyrics to a Miley Cyrus song as he walked into the huddle.

"He is calm, cool and collected," said Sanders, who first believed Siemian could be an NFL starter when catching pregame passes from his last season. "This year, offensively, I can't say it enough, we will be better."

Lynch completed 6 of 13 passes against the Rams, showing his inexperience. Sanchez did not play. And unless he takes a paycut -- he hadn't been approached as of Sunday night -- he's unlikely to remain on the roster. Sanchez completed 20 of 30 passes for 219 yards, but committed three turnovers in two games.

Kubiak plans to play Lynch the entire game on Thursday. He said Siemian might have played if the game was on Sunday, but this preparation is entirely different because of a short turnaound and a Thursday night season opener. 

The Broncos have reached out to a few veteran quarterbacks in a possible third-string role. One name mentioned is T.J. Yates, a street free agent who played for Kubiak in Houston. But that player would be the "In Case of Emergency" break glass player. If it reaches that point, the Broncos are heading the wrong direction.

Kubiak believes in this team, believes they can chase another title. And the pursuit will hinge, in part, on the play of Siemian.



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