It’s easy to blame the quarterback. To be fair, the Denver Broncos’ offensive issues are not all on Trevor Siemian.
But for the fifth straight week the Broncos scored fewer than 20 points. They fell to 3-4 with a 29-19 loss Monday night to the Kansas City Chiefs. And the Broncos will have to consider if maybe benching Siemian could help.
“Not sure,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said about a quarterback change after the game, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “But losing three games in a row and having five turnovers tonight, anything’s possible.”
Siemian’s struggles are the Broncos’ fault. He’s not a great quarterback who can carry an offense when nothing else is going well, and the Broncos were well aware of that. There was never much mystery about his game. He could run your offense but he couldn’t be your offense. If the Broncos could block, run the ball effectively, and have their receivers make plays with the ball in their hands, Siemian could be fine. Carson Wentz is an MVP candidate, and last year he and Siemian were both first-year starters. Go and compare Wentz’s numbers last season with Siemian’s numbers last season. You’ll be surprised.
Nobody assumed Siemian could ever be an MVP candidate like Wentz is now, or that Siemian could ever develop like Wentz, but we’ve seen Siemian efficiently run an offense. But this season the Broncos’ run game isn’t very good. The offensive line allows too much pressure, and that’s clearly affecting Siemian. The receivers aren’t playing great, especially with Emmanuel Sanders out with an ankle injury (Bennie Fowler dropped a touchdown pass Monday night that would have helped a lot). Denver gets practically nothing from tight end. There’s little talent on the offensive side of the ball, mostly because general manager John Elway has drafted really poorly on offense. As a result Siemian has been asked to do way too much, and he has played about as you’d expect in that role. That’s not the type of player he is. He never will be that type of player, either.
Two interceptions showed how Siemian is sinking in quicksand. On one, he rolled right on third-and-short and could have had an easy first down by running ahead and out of bounds. Instead he heaved a pass deep down the sideline that was picked off. That’s not his game. He never would have tried to do that last season.
In the fourth quarter, with the Broncos barely hanging onto any chance at a comeback, Siemian rolled right and threw back across the middle of the field. He never had a chance. It was picked off easily, his third interception of the game. That’s not a good pass for any quarterback, though perhaps someone like an in-his-prime Brett Favre could pull it off. Siemian can’t. He’s pressing too hard because nothing else on the Broncos’ offense is working. Even when Siemian threw a touchdown pass with 1:55 left to cut Kansas City’s lead to 29-19, he made a miserable throw on the two-point conversion and never gave Demaryius Thomas a chance.
But it’s easier to make a switch at quarterback than find a new offense, and Siemian is clearly not seeing the field well and he’s not making good decisions anymore. Last season he was mostly effective because he stayed in his lane. On some plays Monday night he wasn’t going out of his lane, he was veering off the entire freeway. Broncos backup Brock Osweiler is nobody’s idea of a solution anymore, but Joseph might owe it to his team to find out what he can do. Or maybe Joseph gives Siemian another shot until 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch gets healthy, then makes a change.
Either way, Siemian is struggling and it’s not getting better. The Broncos’ season, which includes a rough schedule the rest of the way, is slipping away. Joseph hasn’t wanted to make a change at quarterback, but he might not have any choice.
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