Broncos coach Vance Joseph says QB evaluation begins in training camp

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Paxton Lynch threw a pick six to cornerback Taurean Nixon and rebounded with two long scoring strikes down the right sideline. Trevor Siemian connected on an over-the-middle bullet to receiver Jordan Taylor for a first down and showed elusiveness on a scramble downfield. 

It mean nothing. 

Broncos coach Vance Joseph remains true to his word that the past two months have been defined by the quarterbacks learning the playbook. The evaluation will begin in training camp.

"I don't have a timetable on it. It could be the first week of camp. I am not sure," Joseph said Tuesday after the first day of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp before breaking for the summer. "When I see a clear separation I will call it off."

No player has created enough distance to declare a winner. That was anticipated as they absorbed coordinator Mike McCoy's new playbook. Joseph is seeking a player who makes good decisions and takes care of the football. But he also needs someone to make plays after the Broncos offense ranked near the bottom in third down conversions and red zone touchdown percentage last season.

If there is a risk in slow playing this derby through the exhibition season it is in leadership. Joseph admitted it can be awkward to act like the man if you don't know your status. The quarterbacks have been instructed to approach the situation as if they are both going to be the starter to help ease the transition.

"It was different than when Peyton was here. It's my second year in a row doing it so you just have to be yourself. That's the role, right?" Siemian said. "I think we are all doing good job of that. And obviously the older guys like (Demaryius Thomas) and Emmanuel (Sanders) are doing a good job too."

Lynch admitted he feels more comfortable in this offense and it has allowed his athleticism to play out to create a true race for the spot. As for as leadership, his 6-foot-7 frame dictates his style.

"I have to be aware of how I react. I can't put my head down," said Lynch, discussing the importance of good body language. "And if I need to get them going, I will. Obviously I believe in myself and what I can do."

Tuesday was a difficult day for those under center. The defense, as has been the case multiple times this offseason, won the day. They bring an intensity that is unique to June practices. As safety T.J. Ward put it recently, "You always hunt better when you are hungry." This defense carries a chip on its shoulder that would make a Dorito blush.

"The competition is going to go on for awhile. They are competing. We are competing," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "We are just trying to make it hard for the quarterbacks. We have been playing at a high level for all of these OTAs because we've just got that chemistry. We just need to continue to improve and get in shape. That's the main thing."

There were notable shifts upfront on Tuesday along the offensive line. Ronald Leary is now starting at right guard after previously working on the other side. Max Garcia moved to the left guard spot where the Broncos believe he is more suited. Rookie Garett Bolles continues to open eyes. After spending the first few weeks on second team, he is rotating at first team left tackle with Ty Sambrailo. It is a clear indication of Bolles' progress and gives him a chance to compete for the top spot in training camp. 

Footnotes

Tight end A.J. Derby did not practice because of a hamstring injury. It was likely he could have participated if it were a game week, but there is no reason to risk it. ... Nose tackle Kyle Peko injured his foot, and limped off under his own power. Peko later tweeted that "God Got Me!" It is believed Peko broke a bone in his foot, but he has time to heal before training camp in late July. ... Defensive end Derek Wolfe brought intensity to practice. He was involved in two quick skirmishes with the Oline, including center Connor McCovern, who is filling in as a starter as Matt Paradis recovers from hip surgeries. ... The expectation remains that kicker Brandon McManus will sign his restricted free agent contract by Thursday's deadline. 

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