NFL

Hard to find a leader to follow in Broncos' QB competition

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- €” Mark Sanchez has thrown 2,424 passes in the NFL.

That's 2,424 more than Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, the two other quarterbacks vying to replace Peyton Manning for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos with the start of the 2016 NFL season 100 days away.

So, you'd think part of Sanchez's duties in Denver would be tutoring the younger QBs.

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Not exactly.

"That's an interesting dynamic," coach Gary Kubiak said. "Mark is the guy with the most experience, but he has no experience here. He's got his own problems right now getting everything down. I'm not going to try to ask him to do too much."

Plus, Sanchez is recovering from surgery to his left thumb that prevented him from taking any snaps during the first few days of OTAs last week.

So, it's actually Siemian who finds himself in the unusual position of being the QB providing guidance despite having never thrown a pass in the pros.

"Even though Trevor is only in his second year, he is a vet to me," Lynch said. "He's the only quarterback in this system who has been here for a year. He was here when Peyton was here, too. I'm sure that he took a lot of stuff from Peyton and what Peyton did in that short time he was here. He kind of does some stuff that he does. I know that's what I would have done."

So, Lynch, who is working on his footwork and cramming mentally -- he said this is the "first time I've seen a playbook that looked like a dictionary" -- €” isn't just picking Sanchez's brain but Siemian's, too.

"I take some stuff from Trevor, too, as much as I do from Mark because Trevor has been in the offense longer than any other quarterback here," Lynch said.

Siemian earned the No. 3 job at training camp last year despite missing the offseason program while recovering from knee surgery. But he got a half season's worth of work as the primary backup because, well, time wounds all heels, and backup Brock Osweiler started for two months while Manning recovered from a foot injury.

Nowadays, Siemian is taking advantage of his snaps with starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at OTAs, and he's more than willing to share a tip or two.

Siemian said he learned from Manning that "sometimes things may mean a little more coming from another player" rather than a coach or coordinator. "I've been here for a year, so there are some things that I can offer up that may help him out."

Siemian couldn't have seen himself in this role just a few months ago even though he knew Manning was contemplating retirement and Osweiler was heading for free agency, where he ultimately took Houston's big offer.

"Last year was a heck of a ride, and I wasn't looking too far ahead. I had no clue what was going to happen. I was just kind of holding on to the seat of my pants last year and taking everything in," Siemian said.

Now, he's the most experienced QB in terms of Kubiak's offense.

"It's a little unique definitely compared to last year with those two guys," Siemian said. "But (offensive coordinator Rick Dennison) and (QB coach Greg Knapp) aren't too far away. They've been great. They're coaching me up a ton. I'm a year in, but there still is a lot to learn. I think I'm trying to do a good job of remembering that and just getting better every day."

Siemian figures throwing to starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and facing the likes of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., whom he went up against last year while running the scout team, can only make him better.

On Tuesday, he worked with the first teamers before giving way to Sanchez, who exchanged the wrap he wore on his left hand for a soft split and had a full workload in team and seven-on-seven drills.

Kubiak, who never had QB stability last year, insists he doesn't necessarily need to know who his starter is going into training camp, saying, "I don't have a timeline on anything."

"Let me just say this: I'm very comfortable with our three guys right now. That's where I'm at. I love the competition that's going on," Kubiak said. "I think every day has been a little bit different. One of them has had a good day. I think it's bounced around a little bit. Time is going to tell. Let's just see. They're all very capable of helping this football team win. That's why they're here."