Trevor Siemian’s story started in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. It was sort of a shot in the dark by GM John Elway. No one really expected the kid to start but they were in for a surprise. Siemian practiced under Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning during their Super Bowl run and was actually on the active roster when they won it.
After the high of winning the Super Bowl, adversity appeared immediately. Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler left during the offseason so Elway drafted Paxton Lynch and signed Mark Sanchez. A quarterback competition ensued between first-rounder Lynch, experienced quarterback Sanchez and unproven 7th round pick Trevor Siemian.
Not many would have picked Trevor Siemian to win the starting job (most were expecting Lynch, who the Broncos had traded up for, to win it) but the Northwestern product won it. The ensuing 2016 season got off to a hot start with an opening day victory over the Carolina Panthers which quieted many of the fans not in favor of Siemian.
He ended the season with 18 TDs and 10 interceptions while missing two and a half games; a pretty solid year for a player in his first starting season (the stats were even better than Peyton Manning’s rookie season). The Broncos ended up going 9-7 and just barely missing the playoffs. Fans were unhappy about missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011 but most of their frustration was directed at the porous offensive line and the ancient playbook used by head coach Gary Kubiak. Trevor Siemian was running high. It seemed to be a guarantee that the Broncos would make the cut next year, with Siemian leading the charge provided some changes were made.
The Story of Trevor Siemian
Kubiak retired just after the Week 17 finale against the Raiders. Soon after, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips left for Los Angeles. John Elway brought in Vance Joseph to be the next head coach who then promoted Joe Woods to defensive coordinator and hired Mike McCoy as the new offensive coordinator. With a new coaching staff that was unconvinced of Siemian’s talent, it was clear that they wanted a second competition between Siemian and Paxton Lynch. The competition went until the third preseason game where Siemian emerged victorious over Lynch for the second time. After securing his job again, Siemian seemed secure as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. However, Brock Osweiler came home after a brief stay in Houston and an even briefer stay in Cleveland. Vance Joseph wanted to be clear that Siemian was the starting quarterback but Osweiler was there and ready if Siemian imploded.
The Rise of Trevor Siemian
Siemian did not implode Week one against the Los Angeles Chargers. He exploded. He threw two touchdown passes and one interception while rushing for one more putting the highly regarded defensive end Joey Bosa on skates during the run. The following week, Siemian threw four touchdowns and one interception in the 42-17 rout of the seemingly invincible Cowboys who were fresh off a 13-3 season. Only the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles have had a better score differential against the Cowboys this year at 37-9. By the end of week two, the Broncos were the talk of the NFL with their quarterback at the center of that discussion. Siemian even made an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter during his dominant stretch. Siemian was at his highest point between the end of week two and the beginning of week three.
The Broncos lost to Buffalo the following week due to a weak offensive showing. The loss was chalked up to the fact that the Broncos had been focused on the Raiders the following week and most people thought that they had simply overlooked the Bills. When the Broncos played the Raiders, however, the offense still looked weak. Siemian’s lone touchdown pass was a badly thrown ball that tight end Virgil Green somehow caught one-handed while running full speed. The Broncos held on to win the game 16-10. The game was won but a small sense of anxiety kicked in for Broncos fans and those opposed to Siemian started to gain steam. Still, most expected the Broncos to fix their offense during their well-timed bye and business would be back to normal against the winless Giants.
The Fall of Trevor Siemian
It turned out that the offense only got worse after the bye. Siemian looked downright awful against the Giants throwing two interceptions to one touchdown. One of those interceptions was a pick-six where Siemian injured his shoulder after missing the tackle. He did not finish the half and Osweiler finished the half. Siemian played in the second half and Broncos fans expected a turnaround. There was none. Siemian’s haters came out in full force after the game and the arguments were fierce across Broncos Country. The main defense for Siemian was the injury he sustained as well as the play-calling. Overall, it seemed that more fans were in favor of keeping Siemian than not at this point. Siemian fans hoped that this was the wake-up call that the Broncos desperately needed.
There was no wake-up call and when the Broncos showed up to Los Angeles for their game against the Chargers as their offense was asleep on arrival. Siemian and company did not muster a single point of offense. When looking at this game compared to the previous matchup in which Siemian scored three touchdowns, it was clear that the team was in trouble, as well as Siemian’s job. The fans were quickly turning against Siemian at this point but the coaching staff was still firmly behind him. It was never said aloud officially but it was clear that Siemian’s performance against the Chiefs the following week was his last chance.
Siemian could not have looked worse against one of the weakest defenses in football at Kansas City. He threw only one touchdown and three interceptions. There was one pick that was one of, if not the worst, pick of the year by any quarterback. This pick sealed his fate. On a third-and-long, Siemian was flushed from the pocket and was in prime position to scramble for a first down if he simply ran toward the marker. Instead, he softly threw the ball across his body towards the middle of the field (a huge no-no) into triple coverage where the receiver had no possible chance to catch the ball. It was the easiest interception the Chiefs had had all year. Soon after, Siemian was benched. There was even talk of benching Siemian at halftime between the coaching staff. With Siemian benched, Osweiler would start the following week. Siemian’s lowest point was still yet to come.
Quickly it became clear that Osweiler was not the solution. The Broncos wanted to see what they had with Paxton Lynch. As Lynch was recovering from a shoulder injury, they did not want to throw him out there unfairly. Instead, they made him the backup a couple of weeks after Siemian’s benching against the Bengals. The Broncos only kept two quarterbacks on the roster for the game and so they had to make one inactive. Only a few weeks after being on top of the world, Siemian was not even wanted on the roster. He had hit rock bottom.
After Osweiler could not defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, a new wave of changes occurred. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired and replaced by ex-offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. With the change in staffing, the question of quarterback was opened up again. Musgrave made Siemian the backup and wanted Paxton Lynch to start against his old team: the Oakland Raiders.
The Rise of Trevor Siemian?
During the game, the cameras periodically showed Siemian silently looking on as the Broncos were on pace for another shutout, this time against one of the worst defenses in the league. Lynch was abysmal, throwing a pick in the end zone and failing to move the ball the rest of the time. Lynch eventually hurt his ankle and had to come out of the game so Siemian had another chance to show the world what he could do.
In a scene reminiscent of Peyton Manning’s return during the Week 17 Chargers game two years ago, the Broncos offense exploded for the first time in nearly three months. After being down 21-0, Siemian threw two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the score 21-14. The Broncos ultimately lost the game on defense and allowed the Raiders to run out the clock but it was not Siemian who lost the game. Rather he was responsible for the fact that the game was close at all. After all of the doubters, all of the questions and all of the adversity that Siemian has faced in the NFL, he finally got a break. Paxton Lynch’s ankle injury will keep him sidelined for two to four weeks which will give Siemian one final stretch to prove himself as a viable starter in the NFL. The ship has probably sailed on Siemian’s chances of starting for the Broncos in the future but there will always be teams that need quarterbacks. What will happen in next for Trevor Siemian? From unknown 7th-round draft pick to the cream of the crop to dumpster fire has-been and now on the rise again, anything is possible for the 25-year-old quarterback out of Northwestern.