DENVER —** In his final postgame press conference of the season, Trevor Siemian said he knew he owed his success as starting quarterback to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. He had trusted him as a seventh-round draft pick in 2015, and then as the starting quarterback with just one regular-season snap to his name as he entered the 2016 season.
Now, having finished his season with 206 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a win over the Raiders, Siemian brought his year-end totals to 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and nine wins. And the trust from Kubiak made that all possible.
"I love Kube. I think I owe him a lot, obviously," Siemian said. "I had no business being drafted. I had no business really being around, so I owe him a lot for giving me a chance, getting me in the door and giving me a chance to play."
When Siemian took control of the quarterback competition in the offseason and earned the starting role, Kubiak didn't say too much, but said all that was needed.
"[He said] just that I earned it." Siemian said. "He gave me an opportunity [and] said, 'Make the most of it.' I wish we could have gotten to the playoffs, obviously, but [we made] a lot of good memories along the way, for sure."
This win was surely one of those memories. For Siemian, it was also a chance to get rid of a lingering aftertaste from the previous week's loss to Kansas City on Christmas Day. Though it wasn't one of Siemian's best performances of the year, a win was enough to provide that comfort.
"I think I could have played better, could have played worse, obviously," Siemian said. "But a win's a win. I think there's times I've played better and we've lost, which hurts. So I'll take a win any day of the week."
With the season finished on a positive note, Siemian took a step back and looked at the progress he made.
The Broncos defeated the Raiders, 24-6, in their season finale at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Photos by Eric Bakke, unless noted)
"I think I've learned a lot just playing — a lot of things I need to work on, no doubt, but the one thing is that I'll never forget is the locker room and the guys and the coaches, and how much I enjoy being around those guys," Siemian said. "It was special, for sure. Just really proud to be a part of it."
And Kubiak was proud for Siemian to be a part of it. He came away pleased with the quarterback Siemian has become since the Broncos drafted him with the 250th overall selection of the 2015 NFL Draft.
"You have to be very encouraged," Kubiak said. "He was a seventh-round pick. When we came out of camp — let's face it — people thought our quarterback would be a lot of guys. They didn't think it would be Trevor. He went out there and had his team right there. Four, five weeks ago, we're right there. We just didn't play well enough at the end to get ourselves in. "We're in a tough division, but you have to be very encouraged. Trevor knows and I had this talk with Trevor and Paxton last night, how competitive their situation is going to be. They're both good young players. It's about wanting to be great. I think they both want to be great. They're going to have to show this football team that. I'm proud of Trevor and the job he did this year."