Broncos continue mulling benching Trevor Siemian after third straight loss

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A confluence of factors -- four losses and nine turnovers in five games -- left Broncos coach Vance Joseph continuing to mull benching Trevor Siemian on Tuesday, with a change becoming increasing likely.

"I have to do what's best for the football team. Trevor made three horrific decisions (on Monday). But he had 20 other plays that were really good," Joseph said. "It's about results. End of the day, it's about results. And the end result is not good."

That no decision was made public suggests Siemian is in trouble. Joseph said no decision would be made Tuesday as the coaches continue to meet. The players are off on Tuesday, making it likely an announcement will be made on Wednesday. Again, all signs continue to point toward a pocket change.

"It's under evaluation right now," General Manager John Elway said on the flagship station. 

With the season at a tipping point in Kansas City, Siemian threw three interceptions and failed to complete a single pass under pressure as the Broncos dropped their third straight game. The loss, which featured a strong defensive performance and improved offensive line play, has made Joseph reconsider Siemian's status. 

Ample evidence is available to sit Siemian.

Brock Osweiler has served as Siemian's backup while Paxton Lynch recovered from a throwing shoulder injury suffered during the preseason. Multiple players told Denver7 they believe Osweiler is ready to play, if needed. Joseph said this will not be a practice decision because of the short week, providing more fodder that Osweiler will take over. 

Lynch, meanwhile, has practiced only three times -- all last week -- since he hurt his shoulder on Aug. 26. He's not under consideration at this point.

"It would be unfair to him," Joseph said.

Siemian, voted a team captain, exhibits leadership and toughness required for the position, but his performance has not matched. The former Northwestern standout won the job in training camp for a second straight season, only to see him nosedive after a 2-0 start. 

He has committed nine turnovers over the last five games, directly contributing to the offensive averaging 12.2 points over this stretch. Denver has 13 touchdowns, fifth fewest in the NFL. 

The turnovers have been alarming, and have undermined the team with regularity. The defensive players expressed blunt anger on Monday night. Chris Harris Jr. said there was "high tension. We are losing and giving games away."

"It doesn't bother me guys are upset. They should be. I am upset," Joseph said. 

Monday's performance left Siemian vulnerable. In sticking with Siemian after the Broncos suffered their first shutout since 1992, Joseph preached all week about the importance of ball security and how a solid ground attack could be the embattled quarterback's best friend.

The running game returned with a bang against the Chiefs. The Broncos rushed 31 times for 177 yards on a season-best 5.71 yards per carry. Yet, Siemian made repeated mistakes. He missed open receivers, locked in on first reads with other targets running free and tied a career-high in picks. He badly underthrew Jeff Heuerman on a ball snared by Marcus Peters, and his last turnover featured a mind-numbing across-the-body-toss to a Chiefs defensive back.  

Siemian admittedly has pressed, trying to make big plays. By any measure, his statistics remain sobering. He owns a 3-7 road mark, including 0-3 this year, and has failed to win an AFC West road game in five attempts.

So it appears it could soon be Brock to the Future. Osweiler signed as a free agent at the end of training camp after the Browns released him. He went 5-2 as a starter for the Broncos in their Super Bowl season. He took Houston's money on the open market, and experienced a nightmarish 2016 before the Texans shipped him to Cleveland. He never played for the Browns, requiring football rehab to correct bad habits. He might need more time, but has earned the right to start against 7-1 Philadelphia, it appears.

"The thing is he knows the system. That's why he was a good fit when he came back as a backup," Elway said. "He knows a lot of the players who are here and the personalities. If a decision is made to go that direction, I think we will be fine."

It might be temporary. If the Broncos continue to fade, Lynch could get an extended look as the team determines how to assess the position in the draft and free agency.


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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.

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