ESPN's Monday Night Football commentator and former head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday he thinks the Broncos can find early wins as Trevor Siemian "continues to progress and show the world what he's all about."
Gruden joined Sean McDonough, Lisa Salters and producer Jay Rothman on a media conference call to discuss the upcoming 2016 season.
Despite being "another quarterback that for the most part is obscure," Siemian can help Denver get off to a strong start as he continues to grow, Gruden said.
Most of that learning, however, must take place once the season begins on Sept. 8 against Carolina.
"You can look at the preseason all you want," Gruden said, "but preseason football is not a real good gauge for how a first-time starter is going to get treated in the NFL."
That said, Gruden thinks Siemian's experience in Head Coach Gary Kubiak's offense will prove to be a strong benefit as the second-year player takes over command of the Broncos offense.
"The thing I like about Trevor is he's been with Kubiak for over a year now," Gruden said. "He's had a chance to sit in the meetings. He's had a chance to watch Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler play. And they do have some really good players, particularly at the skill positions. I just think if they can take care of the ball and be productive in the red zone, they're going to be a hard team to deal with because of this defense."
And even though Siemian enters the year as a first-time starter, Gruden said he thinks Siemian may help the Broncos surpass their offensive output from a year ago. With the return of a stout defense, that puts Denver in good position to pursue another Super Bowl victory.
"They weren't an explosive, consistent offense last year," Gruden said, "and they won the Super Bowl. So if Trevor can play solid football, take care of the ball and use his support, I think Denver can win some ugly games early."
Siemian, who was named the starting quarterback on Monday, and the Broncos make a single appearance on Monday Night Football in 2016. They'll battle Osweiler and the Houston Texans on Oct. 24 on ESPN. The Broncos are currently scheduled to play in prime time on five occasions this season.
The Broncos take on the Arizona Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. MDT on Thursday, with rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch scheduled to play the entire contest.