ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — John Elway isn’t going to speculate.
Whether or not the Broncos’ backup quarterback for the 2018 season is on the current roster remains to be seen, but Elway won’t make a decisive statement about the topic at this juncture.
“We’ll wait and see what happens,” Elway said Thursday. "We’ll wait through this week and see what happens and go from there. I feel like we still have time. At the end, guys continue to take their reps and we’ll go from there.”
The Broncos’ president of football operations/general manager also won’t speculate about Paxton Lynch’s future with the team if Chad Kelly or another quarterback takes control of the backup position.
“I’m not going to get into the hypotheticals right now,” Elway said. “We’ll cross that bridge — we still haven’t played two preseason games yet. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”
Instead, Elway is focused on how both Lynch and Kelly can improve as they aim to earn the backup role.
For Kelly, that means building off a 14-of-21 performance in the preseason opener in which he threw for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“I had a feeling he was going to play well,” Elway said. “He’s a competitive guy, he’s played a lot of snaps and he’s instinctive. He took advantage of the opportunity that he had. He was looking forward to going out and playing and chomping at the bit. It did not surprise me, the way Chad played. He played very well. He’s got good instincts. He deserved the chance to play with the twos this week.”
And for Lynch, who Elway admitted was in a tough situation, that means finding some success against the Bears during his limited playing time.
“We’re going to see Paxton against their thirds, too.” Elway said. “It’s the same role, it’s just reversed. I hope Paxton takes advantage of it and goes out and plays well.”
As both Kelly and Lynch try to put their best foot forward, Elway will have to decide whether either is capable of serving as the team’s backup quarterback.
Because as Elway said Thursday, the most important quality he’s looking for in Case Keenum’s backup is simple.
“Somebody that can win football games,” Elway said. “I think that’s the key thing. The backup is a guy that you have confidence in that if something were to happen to your starter, that he has the experience and the ability to come in and help you win a football game. Not necessarily carry the football game, but help you win a football game. It’s a different quality because you have to be ready all the time, and mentally be ready all the time. You don’t get a chance to play a lot of time.
“I think that’s as hard as it is to find a starter. It’s just as hard to find a guy that can backup. We’re always looking for those.”