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From the Pocket: Siemian, Lynch find big plays and bright spots during biggest test yet

Posted Aug 19, 2017

Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch reflect on a pivotal night in the Broncos' quarterback competition.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Trevor Siemian joked late Saturday night he just wanted to put a second-quarter throw within 10 yards of Jordan Taylor.

“He’ll make a play for you,” Siemian said.

The third-year quarterback did one better, as he delivered a strike on a back-shoulder throw that came when both Siemian and Taylor read the cornerback’s coverage and adapted from a designed go route.

The 19-yard pass capped off Siemian’s first drive of the night, during which he went 4-for-5 for 49 yards. He’d finish the game with a 128.2 quarterback rating after completing 8-of-11 passes for 93 yards.

Asked afterward whether he thought he’d done enough to win the starting job over second-year player Paxton Lynch, Siemian kept his answer simple.

“I think so,” Siemian said. “I’m not the coach, but I think so.”

Siemian’s best play of the drive may have come on a pass that barely registers as a blip in the game book. On first-and-10 from the 49ers 25-yard line, Siemian spun away from a sack that would’ve knocked the Broncos out of field goal range, and he tossed the ball out of bounds in the direction of Taylor on the left sideline.

Three plays later – including a nullified touchdown pass to De’Angelo Henderson – Taylor was celebrating in the end zone.

“I just don’t want to get hit back there,” said Siemian of his ability to escape. “At a certain point your internal clock goes off and you’ve got to get the hell out of there. That’s pretty straightforward, I think.”

During Lynch’s time with the first-team offense, he also showed the ability to escape trouble in the pocket. Unlike Siemian, though, Lynch took off down the field for extra yardage.

In addition to Lynch’s passing totals – 9-of-13 for 39 yards – he also added 27 yards on the ground on three carries.

Two of those three carries were for double-digit yardage and resulted in first downs.

As Lynch continues to receive reps, he said he’ll better learn when to tuck the ball and when to stand in the pocket and look downfield.

“I think that I will only get better as I continue to get more reps and continue to play,” Lynch said. “I think that the more I learn, the more I’ll know whenever I can take it down and run and when I need to hang in there. But right now I think I’m doing a pretty good job at knowing when to take it down and run with it.

“I know that the coaches keep encouraging me to pull it down and make a play with my feet and I think that I’ve just got to show them that can be smart with the ball when I take it down and protect myself.”

During one of the plays in which Lynch stood in the pocket, he had a chance to make a big play downfield. Demaryius Thomas was streaking down the left sideline, but Lynch’s throw overshot him by a few yards and landed in the end zone.

After the play, Thomas looked for a flag from the nearby referee.

“I think that he might have gotten grabbed a little bit coming out of his break,” Lynch said. “It was a double move and I think that he had him beat, but he might have got grabbed a little bit. I know when I came to the sideline, I was talking to him [and] he said he got held up and Tyke [Tolbert], the receivers coach, was saying the same thing.

“So I guess he just got held up a little bit. When I threw it, I thought it was a good throw but when I came to the sideline, we talked about it and I guess he got held up.”

In the moments after, Lynch made sure he kept his head up despite the missed connection. That’s something both Thomas and Head Coach Vance Joseph have stressed throughout the process.

He’ll continue to do so as Joseph approaches a decision at the spot. The Broncos welcome the Packers on Aug. 26, for a game widely considered across the league as a dress rehearsal.

For both players, those reps could be critical.

“I think just as a player, you want to play as much as I can,” said Siemian when asked if it’s important for him to start against Green Bay. “I’m still young and I want to get as many reps as I can get, truthfully.”

Saturday night in the Bay Area, both quarterbacks made theirs count.

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