ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Paxton’s fine.
These are all sentiments that Denver Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph has shared since the start of the season, some three months ago.
Nearly every single time Joseph mutters words along these lines—specifically after a loss or after a game in which a quarterback has a poor performance—fans are driven crazy as they’ve seen the opposite happen right in front of their faces. And looking at the season as a whole, these frustrated fans are justified.
For the season, Trevor Siemian—the team’s initial starting quarterback to begin the year—has statistically performed the best of the three quarterbacks. Yet even his numbers are underwhelming. The team has gone 3-4 in his starts, averaging 227.3 passing yards per game to go along with 11 total touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 60.8 completion percentage for a passer rating of 79.2.
Brock Osweiler—the second man the team turned to—was winless in his three starts, averaging 175.3 yards per game through the air to go along with three total touchdowns to four interceptions on 53 percent completion for a passer rating of 65.5.
Finally, in Paxton Lynch’s lone start of the season on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders—in which the team lost and Lynch left midway through the third quarter due to injury—he threw for 41 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception on 64.3 percent completion for a passer rating of 38.4.
All three quarterbacks have been the first string, second string, third string and inactive for at least one game this season.
During his preparation for Denver’s Week 13 bout against his former team, the Miami Dolphins, Joseph threw all of his go-to phrases to the side for an honest 45-second assessment of the quarterback play on his roster thus far this season.
“It’s not good,” Joseph said when asked what it means that three different quarterbacks have started a game for the team this season. “That means that you haven’t had one guy who has played good enough to stay in the role. It’s not good.”
“When you’re playing with three quarterbacks, not because of injury, it’s not a good thing,” he said with clear frustration not only in his voice, but in his body language. “When you don’t have success at the quarterback level, it’s a lot of things. It’s blocking and it’s throwing and catching. It’s all of those things. It’s details. I can’t say it’s all of those kids’ fault. It’s a unit issue. But, it starts with the quarterback.”
This, frankly, is neither news or a surprise to anyone who has watched the games, looked at the statistics above or analyzed the Broncos’ quarterback play in any other form this season. What was eye-catching, however, was what the head coach added to this honest statement.
“We have to find the right guy for our football team and that’s where it starts in this league,” Joseph stated.
That statement alone says a lot.
Since it appears through the eyes of the Broncos’ head coach that the team hasn’t found their quarterback of the future, they’ll start that search again this offseason. Fortunately, the Broncos will have the means, and multiple ways, to do so.
Eyeing a potential top-five pick in next seasons draft, Denver could draft a quarterback early in the first round to develop him into their franchise man. They also will have at least $26-plus million to spend in free agency, which will financially allow them to be in play for any quarterback on the market—from Kirk Cousins, to Eli Manning to Tyrod Taylor, and potentially even Drew Brees.
As if a long drawn out game of quarterback carousel lasting throughout the season didn’t show you the Broncos’ quarterback situation clearly enough, Vance Joseph has now told you.