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Woody Paige: Quarterback question isn't 'done until it's done'

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 16:05:08-05

DENVER — The Tony Romo Denver dilemma doesn’t disappear, dissipate or disintegrate.

It’s got a life of its own.

Just when you thought it was time to compare and consider Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch for the Broncos’ starting quarterback job in 2017, up pops Romo – just like the little monster that ripped through John Hurt’s chest in "Alien." 

John Elway has maintained publicly since Gary Kubiak’s departure that the Broncos’ quarterback situation is settled.

I do remember Elway telling me in February of 2012 that Tim Tebow would be returning as the starting quarterback. I also recall Mike Shanahan saying in the off-season after Elway retired that Bubby Brister would be the new starting quarterback. And, in one case, Brian Griese was the No. 1 quarterback for the opening game, and, in the other, Peyton Manning was The Man.

Last year the starter was supposed to be Mark Sanchez.

It’s never done until it’s done.

The Broncos’ new coach, Vance Joseph, and the new/old offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, and the new quarterbacks coach (and former Broncos’ backup quarterback), Bill Musgrave, are thrilled to talk about Siemian and Lynch, Lynch and Siemian, and all their positives.

And if you were to mention Tony Romo, they would look at two eyes and a third one in the middle of your forehead.

Of course, the Broncos’ discussing Romo in Denver would be construed as tampering – with fines and lost draft choices to follow. Then, the coaching staff and the general manager don’t want to hurt the feelings of the two young, fragile quarterbacks, and they don’t want the Cowboys demanding a No. 1 draft choice in a trade, and I’m not sure the Broncos even are interested in bringing in another old quarterback coming off an injury.

But, then, with Peyton Manning, the Broncos did get to two Super Bowls – and won one. They won the division every year from 2012-2016 and drummed the other three teams in the AFC West. (Yes, he was injured twice – in 2015 and again in his last season. But he was the starter and winner in the Super Bowl, and he did beat New England in two AFC Championships.

And it’s generally forgotten all over Colorado that the Broncos traded for a 34-year-old washed-up quarterback in 1977. Craig Morton turned out to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in the franchise’s first Super Bowl.  He was the only QB other than Elway and Manning to help get the Broncos into a Super Bowl.

They’ve never had a 23- or 23-year old quarterback lead them to a Super Bowl. Elway was a quarterback for 10 games as a rookie when the Broncos made it to the playoffs (losing to Seattle), and they made it back the next season when he was the full-time starter at 25. When he was 26 Elway personally took the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

But neither Siemian or Lynch is, or will be, Elway.

Griese was the quarterback of record in his third season with the Broncos, but he was injured before they got the playoffs.  Jay Cutler didn’t get the Broncos into the postseason when he was here. Jack Plummer, after coming from the Cardinals, did drive the Broncos in the playoffs three consecutive years, but, by then, he was in his late 20s into his 30s.

Siemian and Lynch couldn’t play well enough to lift the Broncos into the playoffs in 2016.  Can one of the two, or both, do it in 2017?

Contemplate this: A Las Vegas oddsmakers has the Broncos at nine victories in 2017, and that record wouldn’t get the Broncos into the playoff again.

The oddsmakers says that if Romo were to be the Broncos’ quarterback in ’17, the over-under victor total would be 10.5-11, a difference of 2½ to three victories. If that eventuality is accurate, the Broncos would be silly not to pick up Romo.

All bookmakers have the Broncos as the favorite to get Romo.  The Texans are second, followed by the likes of three other “B’’ teams – Bears, Browns and Bills. As a free agent, Romo will never go to one of those teams.  He wants to finish with a contender and a chance to make the Super Bowl.

The Broncos and the Texans both possess very good defenses and have a chance at the title. Denver must have the edge, though, because Romo already has indicated to associates that the Broncos would be his priority choice.

Ed Werder of ESPN.com reported this week that Romo has said that the Cowboys will release.

Which should get the Broncos more intrigued.

So the argument in Denver continues, and won’t end until the Romo dilemma is resolved.

So, the Broncos' off-season is merriment, as it should be. 

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