Broncos rookie Paxton Lynch reportedly to get first start in showdown vs. Falcons
The Denver Broncos' 2016 quarterback saga has taken another turn, as rookie Paxton Lynch reportedly will make his first start Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Broncos' rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch will start Sunday vs Falcons, as @MikeKlis reported. Trevor Siemian not quite ready.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2016
It's been a wild eight months since the Broncos' Super Bowl victory. Peyton Manning's retirement and Brock Osweiler's defection left the team looking for a QB, and after some preseason drama — the audition for Mark Sanchez and failed trade for Colin Kaepernick — the team settled on little-used backup Trevor Siemian as the starter.
Siemian responded by winning his first four starts, completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 824 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions. However he was knocked out of last week's game against Tampa Bay with a shoulder injury and hasn't recovered sufficiently. That opened the door for the 22-year-old Lynch, who was a solid 14 of 24 for 170 and a TD in relief.
Now he gets a Week 5 showdown with the Falcons, NFL's hottest offense. Matt Ryan is completing 72.1 percent of his passes and averaging 368.3 yards per game. However, the Broncos defense has corralled Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston, while the Falcons' defense has allowed 31 points per game.
The Broncos reportedly hope Siemian, who sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder just before halftime of Denver's 27-7 win at Tampa Bay, will be able to start Thursday night in San Diego.
The Falcons (3-1) bring the NFL's top-rated offense but the league's 30th-ranked defense into Denver, where the Broncos (4-0) are seeking their 10th consecutive victory.
Lynch got all the snaps with the starters with Siemian sitting out Wednesday's practice, and he continued to get the bulk of the reps even as Siemian returned Thursday and gradually increased his workload.
Unlike last year, when the Broncos had to make major changes in their game plan depending on whether Manning or Osweiler was starting, the coaches only have to thin the playbook a little bit with Lynch, the 26th overall pick out of Memphis in the April draft.
"It definitely feels good knowing that I've played in a game if I were to start or play in this game," Lynch said Wednesday. "It feels good to get some game reps under your belt so you're not just thrown out there."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.