With Peyton Manning walking off into the sunset following a victory in Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos took Paxton Lynch with the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft. In theory, Lynch, a 6-6, 245-pound athletic quarterback, was going to be an ideal fit for Gary Kubiak’s offense, which relies heavily on the running game and mobile quarterbacks.
Key words being “in theory.”
“I think they were hoping that,” former NFL wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Being out there this past week, he’s just swimming in it. He really is. It’s a lot going on for him right now. You can tell he’s not comfortable. He’s a shotgun college quarterback and now they’re asking him to get in the huddle, they’re asking him to get under center, and it’s just a big transition for him. I think it’s very evident that he’s not going to be anywhere near (ready) early in the season. I don’t think at all this whole year he’ll be ready to go. It’s just too much. And you don’t want to put the kid in a situation where it hampers his development, and I think they noticed that right now and they’re going to be cautious with him.”
With Lynch not ready for game reps, the Broncos will almost certainly turn to Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian, neither of whom inspires much confidence. Sanchez, 29, has bounced around the league in recent years, while Siemian is yet to throw an NFL pass.
Which quarterback gets the starting nod is anyone’s guess.
“Mark Sanchez, to me, looked better than I thought he would look,” Stokley said. “He impressed me. But Trevor Siemian, as the days have progressed, he’s gotten better and he’s impressed me also. So right now it’s a coin flip. Both guys are getting even reps, and it’s going to be interesting to see who that opening-day starter is.”
Stokley, who played for the Colts from 2003-06 and won a Super Bowl with Manning, was also asked about Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison. Both will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.
Dungy, who won 10+ games in each of his seven seasons in Indy, was the rare coach who could lead and inspire without yelling.
“That was what was so special about him: He didn’t have to raise his voice to get respect,” Stokley said. “Everybody respected the man for who he was, and he was the same day in and day out. He didn’t change whether we won or lost, and I think guys respected that. Guys appreciated knowing that you were going to get the same person. He didn’t have to yell or scream to get your attention.”
Harrison, meanwhile, is one of the greatest receivers in NFL history, ranking third all-time in receptions (1,102), seventh in receiving yards (14,580) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (128).
“He was unbelievable,” Stokley said. “Marvin is a real quiet guy. Didn’t say a whole lot. But I’ll tell you, nobody works harder than that guy. It didn’t matter if it was Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday. He was going out with the same approach. He wanted to catch balls, he wanted to compete, and he worked hard at it. That’s why he was so successful. When I first got to Indianapolis, just watching him, I said, ‘You know what? I can’t do it like that. I can’t run routes like him.’ Because besides Jerry Rice, I don’t know if there was a better route runner in the NFL ever. So I just tried to emulate what he did, how he set defensive backs up. It was so special. And just the hard work – that’s what stands out when I think about Marvin is the work he put in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It made Sunday easy for him.”