22 Aug The Struggles of Trevor Siemian
Trevor Siemian has done one thing well during his brief starting stint in Denver: convince fans, even experts, that he’s a viable option at quarterback.
Give the Northwestern grad credit, earning a starting job has been a struggle for players drafted much higher than Siemian. Winning the starting job over former first round pick, Paxton Lynch, is hardly an endorsement. A quick look at Simian’s 2016 tape would suggest that he won the Broncos quarterback job by default. If he doesn’t play better, a whole lot better, he won’t be under center come opening day 2018.
The obvious flaws that sink most quarterbacks aren’t Siemian’s issue. It’s the easy throws, the lay-ups, that opened the door for the ill-prepared Lynch to have a crack at the job. Siemian consistently misfires on short throws, costing the offense valuable yardage and first downs.
The accuracy issues are not contained to one area of the field. Whether it’s the right flat, left flat, hook zone, perimeter stick routes, boundary speed outs, Siemian’s location is an adventure more often than it’s not.
Throwing swing patterns to backs requires repetition. The timing and mechanics for these routes are not the same as attacking vertically. Siemian hasn’t exactly mastered this part of his game.
Throwing a flat route to the tight end on the opposite side this time, Siemian leaves the ball too far inside. If the Chargers defensive back catches this football, it’s six points the other way – the kind of play that loses a game.
Slant patterns are supposed to be among the easiest throw a quarterback has in his arsenal. Throw too high, or too far out in front, and the danger of a turnover is increased tenfold. On this play, there isn’t a lurking safety or linebacker, but it’s an easy miss that costs the Broncos easy yardage.
Here is another example of Siemian missing on an in-breaking route. This time, throwing at the receiver’s feet.
This play is another easy throw moving to the right. Not only is Siemian late on the read, he throws it back to the inside of the field for another wide open miss.
On third down and four, if the defense is giving any sort of cushion, the throw has to come out on time and on location. The former is not an issue here but, again, the location is way off and the Broncos have to punt.
If the easy throws are a challenge, the more difficult ones are nearly impossible. This first throw requires a certain level of velocity and zip, as well as pinpoint accuracy. Siemian possess none of the above.
Going to the left again, the route has an underneath defender. Again, there is a requisite level of spin and touch that has to be put on this ball. Instead, Siemian throws it towards the bleachers.
Siemian’s flaws go beyond basic accuracy issues. Making simple reads are no picnic for the second year starter. A staple of any offense that is predicated on play action, a misdirection boot with a two layered flood route combination has to be automatic. Here, Siemian ignores the wide open defender for an open field completion and throws back across the field into double coverage.
This play is that same read. Again, he opts not to throw to the open man near the perimeter. He chooses to throw back into the flow of the defense with a crowded passing lane and a tight window down field.
Seeing the field pre-snap is another basic requirement of playing quarterback in the NFL. Coaches and defenders at this level are smart, and they will throw things at a QB that must be perceived early and adapted on the fly. On this play, the Colts send a weakside corner blitz leaving the slot wide open. Siemian never sees it and takes the sack.
Denver’s defense and wide outs are among the best in the business. The Broncos went from Super Bowl champions to playoff spectators in one year. The lack of running game was the primary reason for that lack of success, but poor quarterbacking was near the top of the list.
Paxton Lynch riding the bench for a second year is worrisome. Losing out on the job to a quarterback as ineffective as Siemian means it might be time to bring up the dreaded “B” word.