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Pat Kirwan shares thoughts on Broncos QBs, defense

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Former New York Jets general manager and current Sirius NFL Radio host Pat Kirwan stopped by Broncos training camp on Monday as part of a tour across the country.

He took a few moments to catch up about the Broncos quarterbacks and defense.

Aric DiLalla: What are you looking to see when you travel to various training camps?

Pat Kirwan: I've been to 11 of them now. I was in Miami yesterday, Seattle tomorrow. So I'm in the middle of it. First off, when you get a good practice in like this, you do get a clearer picture of things. The quarterback question, which is everybody's first question, it's an interesting battle and it's not settled by any means. I could make a case for or against all three of them right now. I think at the end of the day, I don't know if I'd want to go first if I were the quarterbacks. I think the guy that goes second might go longer.

AD: Do you have any expectations for what may happen here in that competition?

PK: You're so built on defense and your intention [is] to get better in the running game, which I hope will happen. I think it will. It means you need less and less from the quarterback, which means the guy who's safest with the ball is gonna end up winning the job or keeping the ball.

So far, the Northwestern kid [Trevor Siemian] looks like he's pretty good in that area. Paxton [Lynch], I don't think is ready. Next year, late in this year. But you're gonna be good all year. So there's not gonna be a reason to play him to get him experience. So that's just a next year deal for him.

[Mark] Sanchez, he might end up coming off the bench to help you. He's the one guy that could take less experience reps. Sooner or later, you're gonna have to decide in a week, who's gonna start getting all the reps. The young guy, [Siemian]'s gonna need the reps. I'd say Sanchez is the guy that doesn't need the reps, so I could see it going that way. … You can't keep splitting reps and be ready for the season. So who needs the most reps? [Siemian], and he might look just as good right now, based on today.

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AD: What do you think about the rest of the AFC West right now?**

PK: I saw Kansas City. They're very good. They're waiting on Justin Houston. He may not come back all year, but they're a very good football team -- balanced. They've got a stockyard of running backs; Alex [Smith] is underrated, and I would expect Alex to have his best year as a pro. So they're going to be heavy competition. I don't want to say the Raiders are overrated because the Raiders themselves aren't saying it, but their fans are. They're a 7-9. So I think it's a battle for first with Kansas City. I would not leave San Diego out of the mix. Now, for [the Broncos], San Diego's not as big a problem because you have these matchup corners. But if you don't have matchup corners and you play San Diego, [Philip Rivers] is still gonna beat you. It's going to be close, but I like you and Kansas City fighting it out. I see you splitting head-to-head.

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AD: This defense has said over and over that they can be better than they were last year. Do you see that?

PK: I don't see that yet. A couple things: No. 1, they're not really getting challenged by the offense yet. So say what you want, I've been to some places where one-on-ones this time of year and the quarterback of the ones is a franchise guy. Up in New England, [Tom] Brady makes that defense look questionable every day. So I've got to be careful about overrating them without Malik [Jackson] and Danny [Trevathan]. We'll see how the subs all work out. But I don't think you can replace them totally. So I think there's a little bit of work to do. I wouldn't play DeMarcus [Ware] all summer. Labor Day, start warming him up. You're gonna have to win with defense in more games than not.

Now last year, I look at every game tape against teams that made the playoffs. That's how I look at teams, because at the end of the day, we're talking about can you get there? So last year, how'd you do? You went 5-2 in season against playoff teams. You only gave up 20 points a game. If you do that again, against the good teams, and give up 20 points, you'll be 5-2 again. In that sense, they'll be just as good. That's how I see it. And then, you ended up 8-2. You played, counting the playoffs, 10 games against playoff teams. I've been to camps where there's two games against playoff teams and they lost both. So you've already played against the heaviest competition, you know how to play it. I stood on the sideline last year when you beat Brady in the [AFC] Championship Game. So do I think the defense will be that right away, maybe not. Gotta figure it out.

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