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Mason's Mailbag: What the Broncos saw in Trevor Siemian from the beginning

Posted Sep 23, 2017

Trevor Siemian's development over the last two years has been one of the best storylines around the Broncos.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

First, let's start with what then-Head Coach Gary Kubiak said about Trevor Siemian on Aug. 2, 2015, when Siemian was starting to see an increased workload as continued to work his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered at Northwestern eight and a half months earlier: “I think he has the arm to play in this league and the brain to play in this league."

A month and three days later, Siemian had shown enough to stick on the 53-man roster, and Kubiak expanded upon his assessment, going back to what he saw before the Broncos selected him in the seventh round:

"We saw the arm," Kubiak said then. "There was no doubt about the arm. When you watch him throw the ball at Northwestern, some of the wind and trees are going sideways and he's out there making throws all over the field. You knew that he had that ability.

"Now everything else, you've got to see, but he really came in and he's adapted very well to the calling system, making long calls and other things he's never been a part of. It's really about his progress, but the physical skills, we knew they were there. With the knee coming along, would this be a long project situation? We didn't know. He's the one that made up the ground."

Since then, Siemian has continued to learn the nuances of running an NFL offense; his knowledge and command have grown exponentially. But Kubiak, now a Senior Personnel Advisor, saw something in Siemian early in the process, and the Broncos are better for it.

Did Vance Joseph's decision to have the team wear full pads more often for training camp help the run defense?

-- Steve Aiken

Through two games, it did, although it's not the sole reason. The addition of Domata Peko Sr. at nose tackle and the additional weight added by Derek Wolfe and Adam Gotsis has helped, as well. But for the entire defense, the extra padded practices seems to have honed the physicality of the defense -- and the offense, as well.

"I think we're physical," inside linebacker Todd Davis said Friday. "I think we come off the ball and we're hitting harder all the way from the O-line to the D-line. I think you see the way we're able to run the ball these first two games. I think that's all [attributable to] us wearing pads so much. I think it made us a much more physical and dominant team."

No, given McManus' performance in training camp and the preseason, which offers a broader sample size and gives you a better evaluation. Special Teams Coordinator Brock Olivo also isn't worried, as he explained at his question-and-answer session with media Friday:

"We're not worried at all about ‘B-Mac,'" Olivo said. "He's a great weapon for us and really, he's had it really good the last six games, if you count the preseason games. Preseason games for a kicker don't change at all, you still have to make kicks. We're fine with ‘B-Mac.'

"He's going to be just fine. Every once in a while a kicker is going to mismanage wind and conditions, but ‘B-Mac' is going to be fine. The great thing about last week was that he came back and piped a 50-yarder right down the center. He bounced back from it already. [The Cowboys] ended up getting the leveraging penalty, which we accepted and we ended up getting seven points out of it."

Does the run set up the pass or can the pass set up the run in this offense?

-- Anthony Miles

Why can't it be both? I think we've seen examples of it working both ways in Weeks 1 and 2, with the run opening up opportunities in Week 1 and early catches from Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders helping force the Cowboys back in Week 2, creating big lanes underneath. If the Broncos can continue passing the football effectively, they won't see eight men in the box very often, and gaps will be there for C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and their other running backs. If teams commit eight men in the box, that will leave single coverage for Thomas, Sanders, Bennie Fowler III and other targets and you can beat them over the top.

Sanders described this well on Thursday.

“If we’re able to keep running the football like that and be multi-dimensional, it’s going to be hard for teams to stop us," Sanders said. "You can sit up there and play zone all you want, but then when ... C.J. and Jamaal [are] running for 150 yards, at some point you’ve got to load that box and now it’s one-on-one with me, Demaryius and Bennie. That is when we have to take over. That is our job.

"As long as we keep running the football, I think offensively we’re going to be fine.”

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The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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