Yes, we are still talking about the Broncos’ quarterback(s) - and the most recent ‘angle-du-jour’ is whether last year’s first-round draft pick has the work ethic to be a leader.
The rhetoric out of Dove Valley regarding quarterbacks for the 2017 season has been inconsistent.
One minute Broncos say they want to be the “first in line” if Tony Romo is cut by the Dallas Cowboys. The next John Elway and his new head Coach Vance Joseph are saying they “are in great shape” with the two they’ve got on the roster - last year’s starter Trevor Siemian as well as first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch.
“I am very comfortable with Trevor. He’s a smart guy, he’s a leader, his teammates love him and they love playing for him.” - Vance Joseph on Siemian.
But a couple of comments from new head coach Vance Joseph on Monday gave perhaps a little more insight into how the Broncos’ brass are feeling - even if we really have no idea what they are thinking:
“I am very comfortable with Trevor,” Joseph said. “He’s a smart guy, he’s a leader, his teammates love him and they love playing for him. So if he’s the guy again, all good. If Paxton comes back and he plays better, all good.”
About Lynch, Joseph had some interesting things to say - especially if you read between the lines (which is always dangerous):
“Paxton’s a young guy with great talent. But playing quarterback in the NFL, it’s a lot more than talent,” Joseph said, adding that leadership is also a major component. “It comes with leadership obligations, it comes with obviously studying and understanding the systems. He’s ready for it. He wants the challenge. He’s looking forward to getting back in and going to work. It’s going to be a fair open competition.”
“Playing quarterback in the NFL, it’s a lot more than talent...It comes with leadership obligation, it comes with studying and understanding the systems. [Lynch] is ready for it. He wants the challenge.” - Vance Joseph
While Joseph’s comments about Siemian are both glowing (“he’s a smart guy...his teammates love playing for him”) and indifferent (“if he’s the guy again, all good. If Paxton...all good), his statements about Lynch indicate some concern about the second-stringer’s work ethic - though Joseph adds he believes Lynch is ready for the challenge (information, by the way, that Cameron Wolfe’s tweet about this quote failed to mention).
Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro addressed this issue on The Afternoon Drive Tuesday, specifically wondering if Lynch does in fact have the leadership/work ethic DNA necessary to be the team’s starting quarterback.
While the two disagreed on Lynch’s likelihood to become a team leader, they conceded that leadership potential - or not - is easy to spot early on.
“Lynch’s personality is goofy,” said Shapiro, noting that there’s nothing wrong with that. “But how much is it that he’s just goofy to the point we don’t know if he’ll ever be a leader, if he’ll study enough, if he’ll ever understand whatever offensive system is in front of him? We just don’t know.”
“If you are a rookie and have the opportunity to beat out a seventh-round draft pick, and you have more physical skills and you didn’t even give this guy a run last year??? Dude that’s on you.” - Eric Goodman on Paxton Lynch
Where Shapiro has patience to see whether Lynch responds this season to the challenge of winning the job, Goodman is more concerned that No. 12 doesn’t have the necessary work ethic to be a long-term player for the Broncos.
“That is 100 percent in your control,” Goodman said of how hard one works. “If you are a rookie and have the opportunity to beat out Trevor Siemian, a seventh-round draft pick, and you have more physical skills and you didn’t even give this guy a run last year - AND PART OF THIS IS BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T STUDY HARD ENOUGH? Dude that’s on you.”
Shapiro however believes it’s possible the quarterback didn’t really know how to effectively study the offense. And by several accounts - like this Instagram video - Lynch is certainly showing some good work ethic this offseason.
For Goodman, the writing is already on the wall; for Shapiro, jury is still out.
Where do you stand, Broncos Country - Paxton Lynch has been on the roster for one season. Is there still time to develop into a hard worker and team leader?