LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Trevor Siemian spent 10 days in Ireland recently, sightseeing, even sneaking in a few rounds of golf. A college buddy drove Siemian and his girlfriend around, a harrowing experience if only because of the different lanes, narrow roads and the driver seated on the opposite side.
Siemian recommended the trip to anyone who has the opportunity to go abroad. Make no mistake, Siemian need not travel 4,355 miles from Denver to find anonymity. He is rarely recognized, and Friday morning demonstrated how he doesn't take himself seriously.
To help kick off Dick's Sporting Goods' "Celebrate Youth Sports Weekend," Siemian surprised 15 local kids from the Jeffco Midget Football Association with a $150 gift card to buy gear. As the Broncos quarterback appeared, one child said, "Yeah, Trevor Siemian!" while another added bluntly, "Did you invite Von Miller?" Moments later, a mother of a kid told Siemian he "smelled good," to which he replied, "I remembered to shower this morning."
Such is life for a quarterback attempting to establish his footing and win a competition against second-year pro Paxton Lynch. It does not bother Siemian. As a seventh-round draft pick, he takes nothing for granted. Yet, there's no doubt he's driven to keep the starting job. Winning it a year ago under similar circumstances could help in a derby that begins in earnest on July 27.
"For all of us it's a clean slate, right? Each year, it's like that and we have a new coaching staff anyway. That's how I am approaching it," Siemian said from the store in Lakewood. "But I played last year and I have some of those experiences that I can lean on and hopefully grow from and continue to improve."
Siemian and Lynch plan to jumpstart the process late next week with a brief passing camp. Plans for it to occur in Los Angeles fell through, but the pair will receive some reps a few days before training camp.
"We will get some guys together and throw it a few times, which will be good," Siemian said.
Like most players, Siemian took time to relax before returning to the playbook. He feels comfortable in new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's scheme. It is considered quarterback friendly with more diverse receiver routes and additional freedom to audible at the line of scrimmage. I asked Siemian how he can win the job after going 8-6 as a starter while passing for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
"I think if I just keep getting better. I did some things I can build on last year, and there's things I want to do better. For me I am just focused on improving," Siemian said. "If I just take care of things on my end, I think everything will work out. I am excited to get going. For me, it's keeping the same mentality that I want to be better than yesterday."
The receivers want clarity sooner rather than later. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas prefer a choice after the second preseason game, if not before. They seek additional reps with the starter. Siemian has no timetable, saying he understands how it becomes difficult to gain rhythm with the quarterbacks alternating, but appreciates how quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave divided the reps in mini camp.
"That's coach (Vance) Joseph's (decision on the starter). It's probably a good thing the receivers aren't coaching the team," Siemian said with a laugh. "Yeah, coach Joseph will make the right call for the team and put us in the right spot to win games."
Regardless of the starter, the offensive line will feature a new look from training camp a year ago. The Broncos boast new starters at right guard (Ron Leary), right tackle (Menelik Watson) and left tackle (Garett Bolles or Ty Sambrailo). Connor McGovern manned the center spot in the offseason, but Matt Paradis told Denver7 and Siemian that his hips are healthy following surgeries.
"I think Connor did a really good job of stepping up. Mentally, he was pretty dang good. No doubt that Matt is the glue up there," Siemian said. "I talked to him a couple of days ago. He's doing good. He's ready to roll."
The juxtaposition between the Broncos former starter and Siemian remains jarring. Siemian walks through public without bother. Peyton Manning hosted the ESPYs this week.
"He was pretty good. Nobody was safe there for awhile," Siemian said. "I was scared for Troy. I didn't know if Troy was going to get thrown under the bus."
I appreciate Siemian's concern. I embarrass myself without help on a daily basis. Siemian's dry wit was on frequent display Friday, as was his caring side. He loves spending time in the community. As part of this weekend event, Dick's will donate 1 percent of all sales to support youth teams across the country. Any customer accompanied by a child wearing his or her youth uniform or team gear will receive 20 percent off their total purchase.
Siemian enjoyed shopping with the kids, helping them pick out cleats and training shoes.
"For me, that's as cool as it gets. It's one of those things where it's easy to say now because I play ball. But sports, especially when I was younger, did so much for me," Siemian said. "It shaped what I think are the good parts of me: learning team work, sportsmanship and all those types of things. It's really cool to be here with Dick's. These guys do a great job. It's just a cool deal for me."