ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – If comfort is any factor in the Denver Broncos’ “50-50” quarterback competition, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were, appropriately, tied after Day 1.
The QBs split the snaps Tuesday at new coach Vance Joseph’s first minicamp practice. Both were sharp and steady during the 20-minute open period. Afterward, each of them displayed a confidence that wasn’t as readily apparent last year when they were grappling behind Mark Sanchez.
With a year’s head-start on Gary Kubiak’s playbook, Siemian eventually beat out Sanchez and Siemian, who proved a slow study in adjusting from the “Air Raid” offense at Memphis to the run-based version of the West Coast offense.
Now they’re learning offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s offense together.
“Truthfully, I thought it went better than I expected it was going to go today,” Siemian said. “So, I thought it was a really clean operation. Guys are still kind of giddy that first day back and practicing against each other, so it was good. I think we got a lot done today.”
Lynch certainly looked much more comfortable, both on the football field and the podium.
“I knew my way around a little bit more compared to last year (when) everything was moving a million miles an hour, it felt like,” Lynch said. “But I’ve been around the guys for a year, it’s a new playbook, it’s a new coaching staff. But the fact that I’ve been around these teammates for a year and I’ve gotten to know them on and off the field, it’s a little easier.”
The new scheme could even the playing field in what Joseph promises is an open competition.
“I’m still learning a lot versus last year I kind of thought I had it figured out, so to speak,” Siemian said when comparing this year to last. “You don’t know what you don’t know. But, that and I’m a little older, too. So, just growing more comfortable out here, playing a year certainly helps.”
Both quarterbacks mentioned the camaraderie of everyone having to learn a new offense.
“Everyone’s learning together, which is a cool thing,” Siemian said.
Joseph, who has said he hopes the QB competition goes deep into August, said he was pleased with Day 1.
“It was really sharp today,” Joseph said. “They threw the ball well, both guys did.”
A familiar face joined the quarterbacks in the backfield: running back C.J. Anderson , who practiced for the first time since tearing the meniscus in his right knee against Houston on Oct. 24.
“It feels good to be back,” said Anderson, who took up boxing during his rehab to keep his weight down and his skills sharp.
The only player sitting out the first practice was center Matt Paradis, who is recovering from operations to both hips and isn’t expected back in action until July.
Watching Colin Kaepernick go unsigned in free agency doesn’t make Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall regret joining the former 49ers QB in taking a knee during the national anthem last season.
“Not at all. I think it kind of made it all worth it once I got my award from Harvard,” said Marshall, who received the 2017 Courage Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color for his stance against social injustice, his discussions with the Denver police about their use-of-force policy and his work in the community.
Marshall said he realizes quarterbacks are often the face of the franchise and he understands how owners might not want the hassle “so he’s probably being black-balled.”
“But I still stand by what I said, that he’s the best quarterback in free agency,” Marshall said. “He’s better than all of those that got signed, the Matt Barkleys, the Nick Foleses, I think he’s better than all of those guys. I think that’s a fair assessment, honestly.”
Star cornerback Aqib Talib said it was “definitely a relief” to learn he won’t face any league discipline for accidentally shooting himself in his right leg during a night of drinking in Dallas last June.
He said he was “just glad I can put it behind me.”
Talib received a letter from the league recently informing him that while he wouldn’t be suspended or fined, he has to complete a firearm safety course and tell the NFL about all the firearms he owns.
“I definitely will,” Talib said.
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