CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Paxton Lynch lost the starting job. And now he will lose meaningful reps, sidelined the first two weeks of the regular season, according to Broncos coach Vance Joseph. An MRI revealed a sprained throwing shoulder, leaving Lynch to rest and recover.
His absence creates an avenue for former Northern Colorado star Kyle Sloter, the people's choice this summer, to secure the backup job. The Broncos are considering all options, though adding a vested veteran remains unlikely because of the reluctance to guarantee a year's salary for two weeks of potential clipboard duty.
Sloter has a prime opportunity, scheduled to play the entire game with receiver Jordan Taylor, a former prep quarterback, serving as the emergency backup. Does Sloter believe he has a chance to stick on the 53-man roster?
"I think that's a possibility, but that's out of my control," said Sloter, sporting a cap because his newly shaved rookie buzz haircut has left his head sunburned. "I am going to go out there and do the best I can. I am really, like they say, just playing for a job."
Sloter's parents will be in town for the moment. Along with 70,000 or so of his closest friends. He has become a fan favorite during training camp. He appreciates the support, particularly on social media.
"I respond when I can because I think it means something to people. When I was a kid, it meant something to me when they responded, so I try to do it when I can and give a simple answer" Sloter said. "It's pretty cool to have people reach out to me."
He knows the offense and has played well in the preseason. Coach Vance Joseph has insisted the past two weeks that the Broncos would only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. However, Lynch's injury potentially changes the dynamic.
The argument against adding a veteran for one regular season game is easy: the player's salary would guarantee for the year, perhaps an unnecessary expense if Lynch is ready by the second week, if not sooner. There will be a number of veterans available this week when the roster purge from 90 to 53 players begins in earnest on Friday and continues into Saturday.
"We will consider all options," Joseph said.
Lynch hurt his throwing shoulder against the Packers. He slid awkwardly headfirst on a scramble, and had his throwing arm smashed as he attempted recover a fumble. Lynch went 16-for-24 for 90 yards in the preseason. Sloter, an undrafted free agent, has completed 16 of 20 passes for 193 yards and a team-best two touchdowns.
Taylor will take quarterback reps Tuesday. He is looking forward to the opportunity.
"I might throw into double coverage," Taylor joked.
Nose tackle Kyle Peko practiced Monday. He's been out since June with a broken bone in his foot. "No issues," he said. He's in a fight to make the team ... The Broncos waived defensive lineman Jimmy Bean after he failed to pass his physical. ... Defensive end Zach Kerr is unlikely to play in the season opener after bruising his knee. There's hope he would be ready in two weeks. ... Defensive ends Derek Wolfe, who is walking and out of a boot after spraining his ankle, and Jared Crick (back) are on track to play the season opener. ... Will Parks (hip pointer) and T.J. Ward (hamstring) practiced. ... Center Matt Paradis told Denver7 he felt "great," following his first preseason action after multiple hip surgeries. ... Jamaal Charles had no issues with his knee. He is practicing without a brace. ... The Brocos face difficult roster decisions, potentially carrying four injured players on the active roster in Shaquil Barrett (hip), Devontae Booker (wrist), Shane Ray (wrist) and Lynch. There is a possibility Barrett will be ready for Sept. 11 vs. the Chargers given his recent progress. ... Joseph indicated that Allen Barbre and Max Garcia could continue rotating at left guard during the season. That all but guarantees that Barbre makes the team. There's no such guarantee for Ty Sambrailo, who has struggled this summer, and Michael Schofield, a valuable utility player who might lose out in a numbers crunch.