Bryan Cranston will forever be known as Hal and Heisenberg to his fans, but I always enjoyed his role in Argo and mostly for that one scene. I envisioned meetings that John Elway and Gary Kubiak had about the quarterbacks this summer playing out very similarly to the ones our government had on how to deal with the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Elway: “You’re really going to start Trevor Siemian?”
Kubiak: “You gave me Sanchez and two guys who have never started a game. There are only bad options, it’s just about finding the best one.”
Elway: “And you don’t have a better bad idea than this?”
Kubiak: “This is the best bad idea I have, sir. By far.”
I’m sure I’m paraphrasing a tad, but yeah, I bet those meetings were pretty similar. That’s because the Broncos don’t currently have any good options at quarterback. Mark Sanchez continues to be haunted by the mistakes that have doomed his career, which may even cost him a spot on the roster. Paxton Lynch looked very much like a rookie against the Rams, missing open receivers and letting the defense rattle him. That leaves Trevor Siemian, the lesser of three evils. The least defective of a group of misfit toys.
By no means do I believe that the second-year signal caller out of Northwestern is a scrub. He seems to be a good teammate and generally does an efficient job of managing the game. On the flip side, he is conservative to a fault and thus far doesn’t appear capable of carrying the team when things start to crumble around him. In a way, Trevor is the latest iteration of Kyle Orton: he plays well enough for stretches to make you forget how completely unspectacular he is.
Some may interpret this as me rooting against Trevor or hoping that he’ll fail. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Broncos are always more important than any individual player and I really don’t have a preference for who plays quarterback this season as long as it’s best for the team. They could start Miles the Mascot under center for all I care if it meant they would win more games. It could also seem like I’m not even giving Trevor a chance before he’s had some time to prove himself. He’s going to get that opportunity whether I want him to or not, but I always try to call things the way I see them.
Based on what I saw from Trevor in the preseason, he’s just another guy. He’s not terrible but he also doesn’t inspire much confidence.
There are many who would disagree because they are adamant that Trevor’s ceiling as a player is much higher than what he’s shown thus far, and believe me I hope they are right. Nothing would make me happier than if Siemian turned out to be the next Tom Brady, just like I would be thrilled if Sports Illustrated called me tomorrow and asked if they could run this column in their next issue. Pipe dreams are entertaining, but they aren’t that feasible.
Now if the Broncos were loaded offensively, this may not even be something worth discussing. Siemian could quietly steer the ship and let the offensive machine do its thing, but while the Broncos certainly have a lot of talent at the skill positions, it’s in the trenches where so much uncertainty remains. Going against the Rams and one of the top defensive lines in the game revealed that the Broncos have a lot of work to do up front, and there’s concern over whether or not they will be able to hold their own at the line of scrimmage.
That was the key for the offense when I wrote about it last month and nothing has changed with training camp and preseason almost in the books. An offense with great balance usually doesn’t require its quarterback to perform beyond a level that is expected of him. One that is still finding its way often needs someone that can bail his teammates out and make plays happen out of thin air. I fear that Siemian will be the one who needs to be bailed out early in the season and I’m just not sure if our offense will be up for the challenge.
And make no mistake, the challenge for Trevor will be tremendous as well. In a little over a week, the Carolina Panthers will march into Denver hoping to get even with the defending Super Bowl champions. They’ll be out for blood and looking to make Siemian pay for every mistake and every moment of hesitation.
Welcome to prime time in the NFL, Trevor. The water is deep and we are going to find out very quickly if you can float.