ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --After an offseason and training camp of splitting first-team repetitions, the Broncos' months-long quarterback competition ended Monday with the announcement that Trevor Siemian will start the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Head Coach Vance Joseph said that Siemian was the "clear-cut winner" and was "more consistent with what we asked those guys to do as the starting quarterback."
The choice ends the battle for playing time between Siemian and second-year veteran Paxton Lynch, who alternated first-team repetitions from the start of organized team activities through last week's practices against the 49ers in Santa Clara, California.
"I was pleased with both guys, but overall, the operation of the entire offense, decision-making [and] ball placement was more consistent with Trevor. That's why he won the job," Joseph said.
"I met with those guys this morning. They understood that. We just finished our team meeting, so everyone's on the same page. We're all going to support Paxton moving forward. He's a young player who's got a bright future still."
Joseph's announcement carries the weight of an anvil, especially in light of his statement last week that he wants the announcement of a starter at any position to carry a sense of permanence with it.
"It's a huge deal to name a starter at any position, so it's a permanent decision," Joseph said. "Outside of injury; [if that happens] that's different. But as far as Trevor being our guy, he's our guy. That's why time was not an issue. It was just getting it right so that we're not backpedaling in two weeks.
"So Trevor is the guy."
Joseph also said throughout the offseason and training camp that he wanted to see one of the quarterbacks create separation before he and the coaching staff came to a decision.
A significant component of that separation was their work in the Broncos' first two preseason games. Joseph said that game repetitions would carry more weight than practice work, and Siemian stood out the last two weeks, completing 14 of 18 passes for 144 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He successfully ran the two-minute drill in last Saturday's win over the 49ers, capping the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor.
Among projected Week 1 starters, Siemian's quarterback rating of 118.5 over the last two weeks ranks 11th.
Lynch completed 15 of his 22 passes the last two weeks, but threw for just 81 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per attempt. He had no interceptions or touchdowns and posted a quarterback rating of 74.2.
"He's a guy with rare talent, and with time, he can be a good quarterback," Joseph said. "But at this moment right now, Trevor's the guy for our team moving forward."
The ups and downs of the Siemian-Lynch duel eclipsed all other Broncos-related stories throughout the offseason and training camp, and at times a sense of fatigue about answering repetitive questions regarding the competition seemed to set in among players and coaches.
Now the Broncos can finally move ahead knowing their starter for the season opener.