Denver Broncos | News

Mason's Mailbag: Jordan Taylor, Trevor Siemian, fullbacks and more

As always, 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.

He has a decent shot, but as was the case last year, the wide receiver field is crowded with the return of last year's No. 3 receiver, Jordan Norwood, along with Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer, each of whom had flashes of brilliance. If the Broncos do not have the deepest group of wide receivers in the NFL, they're likely among the top three teams.

Taylor will likely have to continue making some dazzling plays if he is to stick on the roster, because Norwood, Fowler and Latimer all have significant roles on special teams, with Norwood by far the most experienced punt returner on the roster. And if the Broncos keep another receiver to focus on returns -- Bralon Addison, Khalif Raymond and Mose Frazier are among the top candidates -- then Taylor's window becomes narrower unless he can establish a role for himself on special teams.

During this year's OTAs, Taylor picked up where he left off last year from an outstanding spring and summer, followed by a stint on the practice squad that included extensive additional work with Peyton Manning as he rehabilitated from his foot injuries. He appears to have the ability to succeed -- but he might have to take someone's spot to crack the 53-man roster, and then might have to wait on an injury or two to see any extensive playing time offense.

It depends on who ends up being the quarterback and the game situations faced by the team.

If Paxton Lynch ends up starting, look for Head Coach Gary Kubiak, Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison and Quarterbacks Coach/Passing Game Coordinator Greg Knapp to craft game plans tailored to Lynch's strengths -- which at this point include comfort making calls at the line of scrimmage and in running no-huddle offenses, which he did extensively at Memphis.

If it's Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian, expect a bit less no-huddle and hurry-up and a more traditionally-paced attack, with the use of quick-pace tactics determined by the game situation and the potential for catching the defense in favorable one-on-one matchups.

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Everyone seems to dismiss Trevor Siemian. It seems to me that he has as good or better arm strength as anyone on the team but he gets no 'respect', seemingly. What's up with that?**

-- Tom Thompson

Those whose opinions truly matter -- the coaches -- aren't dismissing Siemian, so that's the key thing.

Probably the biggest reason he gets dismissed by some is his relatively unheralded status. He split time at quarterback at Northwestern, was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in college. All of those were typical characteristics of a "project" quarterback.

His draft status as a seventh-round pick also leads to the "no respect" angle in the eyes of some. The bottom line is that successful seventh-round QBs are the exception and not the rule, particularly in the last decade. The 15 quarterbacks drafted in the seventh round from 2006-15 include just six who threw passes in the regular season -- and just two who threw more than 40 career passes: Tyler Thigpen (509 career passes) and Matt Flynn (357 career passes).

So from the raw numbers, the odds were against Siemian when he was drafted.

But he's made it to the second year; every day he remains with the Broncos, his chances of a long career increase. He showed promise last year in the preseason, particularly in terms of his poise and command; he showed the intangibles of an NFL quarterback. His accuracy has improved; based on practice, he has crossed that 60-percent threshold that is now a baseline for being an NFL passer.

He has a legitimate shot now, whether observers want to believe that or not.

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I keep reading different verdicts regarding starting fullback. Will it be Juwan Thompson or Andy Janovich in your opinion?**

-- Kari McConkey

First, I don't think any "verdicts" on roster competitions without a clear-cut starter are made in July with training camp still more than two weeks away.

It's a tough battle to handicap, although if they are going for one spot, Andy Janovich appears to have a bit of an edge at this point because of his experience at the position and a role on special teams that appears to be extensive, based on how he was used during OTAs. His special-teams contributions were part of what caused the Broncos to take him in the first place.

Still, Thompson has value. He, too, has a prominent special-teams role, and with two years on the roster, he's proven he can handle some tailback responsibilities. Further, he and C.J. Anderson already have good timing together; as Anderson said in June, "I kind of know what he's thinking." 

The prospects could depend on how many overall backs the Broncos keep; if they retain five backs, you could see Thompson being in the mix at both tailback and fullback, as the one man who could play both spots. I am looking to buy our starting quarterback's jersey. Should I pick up a Paxton Lynch Jersey should I pick up a Mark Sanchez jersey?

-- Joshua Candillo

Neither. Sanchez has one year left on his contract and Lynch is still unproven.

I always recommend buying jerseys of proven players whose place on the roster and in Broncos history is relatively secure. The safest bet is retired players, and if you must buy the jersey of a quarterback, buy a John Elway or Peyton Manning jersey. Their contributions are secure; their legacies in Broncos history are intact. Along with the jerseys of other Broncos legends like those of Champ Bailey, Karl Mecklenburg, Rod Smith and plenty of others, No. 7 or No. 18 will never go out of style.


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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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