ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – What if I told you that you could have a quarterback who, in his first year as a starter, had a better passer rating than Cam Newton and Jameis Winston did, more yards than Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco did, more yards per attempt than Andrew Luck and Derek Carr did, more yards per game than Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott did and more touchdowns than Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater did?
You'd take him, right?
Well, Broncos fans, you got him.
That's right, when you compare the 2016 stats of Trevor Siemian to every other first-year starter in the last decade, the Broncos' quarterback ranks in the top third of just about any passing stat you can drum up. Ranking in the top 10 of many and in the top five of stats like yards per game, fourth-quarter comebacks and 300-yard games.
Here's the cold, hard truth—if those were the stats of Paxton Lynch listed above, Broncos fans would be using them on a daily basis to try and convince the world that their former first-round pick is the next great. As for Siemian, well, most fans probably didn't know those stats until just now.
Oh, and did I mention that those numbers were accrued with a pretty significant shoulder injury? An awful offensive line? No running game?
The thing about Trevor Siemian is he's better than you think.
"Uhh, most definitely," said an adamant C.J. Anderson of that very notion. "You know, I was arguing with some of my boys the other day—we put up Matt Ryan's rookie year and put up Trevor's 'rookie' year, the stats are similar. You know, I'm not saying he's going to be Matt Ryan but..."
Maybe it's because he wears Birkenstocks with socks and rocks baggy sleeves on his jersey. Maybe it's because he says things like, "Golly, it sure is a pain in the butt." Maybe it's because he looks more like the commercial real estate agent he almost became than an NFL quarterback. Maybe it's because he was a seventh-round pick. Or maybe it's simply because he plays in the shadow of Peyton Manning and John Elway.
Whatever the reason, people have this misinformed idea that Trevor Siemian is not, can not and will not be good. There are folks on the radio yelling in your ear that he's already reached his ceiling, twitter users roasting his arm strength at every turn and writers penning "game-manager" all over the young quarterback.
Anderson, another player who was doubted early in his career, thinks it's most certainly about draft position.
"That's how I feel," he told BSN Denver without hesitation. "Us low-round or undrafted guys just have to prove that we belong, compared to the high-round guys proving that they were supposed to be that pick."
Maybe therein lies the issue, instead of looking for greatness in Trevor Siemian, people are looking for failure. It's time, though, to start looking for more in 13. After all, he is closer than anyone on the planet to becoming the Denver Broncos franchise quarterback, and sometime during this season, it's quite possible that the team could make a long-term commitment to the former seventh-round pick.
Broncos fans, it's okay to get behind Trevor Siemian.
Put aside your love for tall, athletic-looking quarterbacks, your too-high standards for quarterbacking in Denver and any preconceived notions you have about what a QB can and cannot be. Allow yourself to see that Trevor Siemian's young, young career is actually on a pretty promising path.
During the preseason, Siemian has averaged eight yards per pass attempt, that would have been good enough for top five in the NFL last year. His adjusted completion percentage—which accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes and passes where the quarterback was hit while throwing—this preseason is an eye-popping 100 percent.
Sure, you can chalk that up to the measly preseason or cite small sample size but what if, what if *gasp* a second-year starter could actually improve? What if it's absolutely ridiculous to claim that a player has reached their ceiling after one year of starting in any sport? What if that guy who somehow keeps winning the starting job in Denver could actually end up being a damn good quarterback in the National Football League?
Go ahead and give Trevor Siemian the benefit of the doubt, because here's the thing about Trevor Siemian, he's only just begun.