CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Broncos quarterback competition remains just that. Veteran Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian split first-team reps on Saturday, with neither creating separation.
Sanchez, 29, has been considered the slight front runner for multiple reasons. He is a natural leader and his work with Broncos receivers before training camp left him more comfortable in the offense. Sanchez continues to make correct reads on underneath routes, and taking positive yardage when plays break down. However, he threw an interception on Saturday to Chris Harris, a turnover that prompted speculation he had benched. He was not. He returned to first-team work in the drills soon after and shared duties on Sunday, following a mapped-out plan set before practice.
Sanchez brings something Siemian can't: experience. Teammates admit Sanchez has strong command in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. Sanchez's challenge is striking a balance on when to convert shots down field, while protecting the football. He owns 86 touchdowns and 84 interceptions in six seasons and has not opened the season as a starter since 2012 with the New York Jets.
Siemian, 23, represents a potential remarkable story as Peyton Manning's successor. The Broncos drafted him in the seventh round in 2015. He peaked coach Gary Kubiak's interest as he whipped fastballs in the cold wind at Northwestern. Siemian blew out his left knee in his senior season, altering his pro path. For a few weeks, he began looking for jobs in commercial real estate and medical device sales, where he once served an internship.
As his body healed, Siemian reconsidered his options.
"I wanted that chance to get my foot in the door. I didn’t want to be that guy sitting on his porch talking about what could have been if my knee didn’t get hurt," Siemian said. " So I gave it a go."
While his inexperience shows at times, Siemian impresses teammates with his arm strength and knowledge of the playbook. It remains a stairstep process for the Broncos' quarterbacks. They are attempting to make a move forward while also installing the offense, which takes roughly eight days. Their evaluation is far-reaching from ball security and completion percentage to recognizing keys for audibles.
"The eye in the sky never lies," Siemian said.
Kubiak successfully managed the quarterback drama involving Manning and Brock Osweiler last season. He has not set a timetable for naming a starter.
"I think Trevor and Mark are doing really well. I was looking at some numbers on (Friday night) and they are good. They are consistent," Kubiak said. "We've got to keep it going. I want to see them do things a little faster. But that comes with confidence in what we are doing. Hopefully we will get going a little better."
Rookie Paxton Lynch ran with the third team, receiving plenty of reps as the Broncos attempt to microwave his development. Lynch showed his athleticism in the first drive of camp. In 3s vs. 3s, the former Memphis University star connected with receiver Kalif Raymond on a 39-yard touchdown.
"There are ups and downs at this level. It's our job to motivate him. The bottom line is to get him to be as good a player as he can be," Kubiak said. "He's working really hard. He just gets hung up mentally sometimes. He gets a little slow so I am trying to speed him up."