ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With a three-game losing streak caused mainly by a pile of turnovers, Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday the team is considering a change at quarterback.
And the choice, at the moment, is between current starter Trevor Siemian and backup Brock Osweiler. Joseph said Paxton Lynch, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, “won’t be in the mix” to start Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“When you lose three in a row and how we’ve lost the football games, again [Monday] on offense with four turnovers, I think everything is for discussion,” Joseph said. “It’s fair to say, right now, everything is being discussed. … It’s unfair to your team if you’re not discussing that position.”
Because the Broncos are on a short week and leave for Philadelphia after Friday’s practice, Joseph is expected to share his decision with Siemian and Osweiler Wednesday morning, then the rest of the players at the team meeting.
Siemian, who has won the job in back-to-back training camp battles, threw three interceptions in Monday night’s 29-19 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Only the Panthers’ Cam Newton and Cleveland Browns rookie DeShone Kizer — each with 11 — have thrown more interceptions than Siemian’s 10 this season.
Siemian is 29th in the league in passer rating (76.8) and has been sacked 25 times — tied for second highest among the league’s starters. The Broncos, despite owning the league’s No. 1 defense, have lost four of the past five to drop to 3-5.
Asked whether Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has protected Siemian well enough recently, Joseph said: “I think he has, but I’ve said all along we can coach and play better. … [Siemian] has to play his way out of bad plays and not make them worse, that’s his job as a quarterback.”
“I just turned it over, couple of bad decisions, tough to win, tough to beat good teams when you turn it over,” Siemian said after Monday’s loss to the Chiefs.
Osweiler was signed by the Broncos just before the season after Lynch suffered a right (throwing) shoulder injury in a preseason win over the Green Bay Packers. Osweiler spent four seasons with the Broncos after being the team’s second-round pick in the 2012 draft.
Osweiler started seven games for an injured Peyton Manning in 2015 and then left in free agency for Houston. But after he threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions as the Texans’ starter in 2016, he was traded to the Browns; the Browns then released him during the preseason.
Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said Osweiler could undergo “football rehab” with the Broncos. Elway said during a Tuesday appearance on the Broncos’ partner radio station that the team would “be fine” if Osweiler were named the starter.
Joseph said the decision comes down to whether the coaches could “do a better job of simplifying [Siemian’s] life” and get improved play, or whether the change to Osweiler could shake the team out of its doldrums.
“I think Trevor has been pressing to be a special player for us,” Joseph said. “Trevor is a young quarterback that hasn’t played that much NFL football. It’s a new system that he’s inherited with Mike McCoy here, so his inconsistencies have come just by him pressing, trying to make big plays.”
Joseph said he, Elway, McCoy and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave will make the call. Joseph also left open the possibility of putting Lynch in the lineup at some point this season as Lynch’s shoulder improves and he practices more.