ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Over the course of his last five starts, Denver Broncos first-year starting quarterback Trevor Siemian has averaged more than 300 passing yards per game and thrown nine touchdowns, all while sitting near the top of the league in terms of hits suffered. In that same span, only two other quarterbacks in the league have averaged over 300 yards per game: Washington's Kirk Cousins and New England's Tom Brady.
Within the Broncos organization, belief in the former seventh-round pick is as high as ever, much in part to his tangible development throughout the season. It could be argued that his lat two starts have been the best in his career, just about all you can ask for from a first-year starter.
On Thursday, due to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison being out of town for a family matter, Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp met with the media and when asked about the development of his young quarterback, he lit up
“He’s showing us he’s got a great knack to handle a lot of pressure," Knapp explained. "Think of the game he’s played in this year, and there’s been a lot of big games for a young quarterback. He’s proven that he can keep a pretty steady mindset through an up-and-down, tough, close game throughout the season. When a guy’s like that, you want to keep pushing him. Sometimes players don’t know how far they can go until you push them as a coach, and that’s what [head coach] Gary [Kubiak] has been doing. I love it because he has made strides progressively throughout the season for a young quarterback that hasn’t had a lot of game experience in the NFL.”
Going all the way back to training camp, the Broncos have pushed Siemian, and he has continually responded. Something about the kid's demeanor appears to allow him to fill his plate to the brim without getting overwhelmed. But quarterbacking the Denver Broncos comes with an even greater weight on your shoulders: the expectation of excellence.
There are three Super Bowl trophies in the lobby of the Denver Broncos' headquarters, and all three have been delivered to the Mile High City by all-time great quarterbacks. The refusal to accept less than greatness in Denver extends to the quarterback position more than anywhere else on the field.
So often, young players aren't able to handle expectations like that, but Siemian's even-keel manner allows him to shake all of it off. That doesn't mean he isn't cognizant of it, though, and that's just as important.
“He gets it. He likes the challenge. He doesn’t question it. He understands the standard that’s been set here," Knapp said. "I tell any quarterback that comes into this building, not many places where the GM is a Hall of Famer and the head coach is really good at coaching the quarterback position. So the standard is set high here. I, fortunately, went through it in San Francisco in my growth when Bill Walsh was in the building and Steve Young was the quarterback, you like it like that. That’s what’s going to drive you. You’re going to find out if a player wants to be great. If that’s the standard that’s been set here by those that are in the building, that’s what’s going to be expected of those playing in the game.”
Siemian's response to the pressure that's been put on him, the challenges his coaches have put on him and the standard he is held to as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos is a big reason more and more people are starting to believe he has a chance to hold on to that job for an extended period of time.
More from Knapp's meeting with the media:
On if early criticism of Paxton Lynch is unfair
“Way too young. I’ve coached quite a few guys in the league and been through the ups and downs of a young quarterback. He’s only played two-and-a-half games. Your first year, you’re still learning the offense. I don’t care who’s played; the first year is a learning curve like no other because it’s one thing just to learn the playbook, but then to have to go and execute against a moving defense, it takes time. I think he’s a done a good job of protecting the ball for a young quarterback in the two-and-a-half games that he’s’ played. But there’s no doubt he’s still learning about, and I’m pleased with his progress. It takes time for a young guy to learn.
On how a rookie like Cowboys’ Dak Prescott can succeed in his first year
“I think he’s been able to get a lot of reps to get him going to that point where he’s played and gained confidence. They’ve leaned on the run game real well for him. That’s helped him, so he doesn’t have to be throwing the ball a lot. In that situation for him, I think it’s worked out well where he got a whole lot of reps early on because of the injury, and that’s made his progress increase.”