ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — From afterthought to starter, Trevor Siemian is Peyton Manning’s successor.
Coach Gary Kubiak told the team Monday that Siemian will be the starting quarterback when the Denver Broncos face Carolina in the season opener Sept. 8.
Siemian will become the only quarterback with zero passing attempts to take over a defending Super Bowl champion in Week 1.
Kubiak informed Siemian, Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch of his decision before telling their teammates at their morning meeting.
A seventh-round selection out of Northwestern last year, Siemian has just one NFL snap on his resume, a kneel-down when he was the No. 3 QB last year behind Manning and his longtime backup, Brock Osweiler. Siemian becomes the first Northwestern quarterback to start a season opener since Otto Graham in 1955.
Manning retired a month after Denver’s 24-10 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and Osweiler left for Houston 48 hours later.
General manager John Elway quickly acquired Sanchez from the Eagles and drafted Lynch in the first round. The Broncos will save $3.5 million and a conditional seventh-round draft pick if they cut Sanchez, as expected.
With Lynch needing some seasoning as he adjusts from the spread offense he ran at Memphis, the QB competition came down to Sanchez, who has 72 career NFL starts, and Siemian, who wasn’t even a full-time starter in college.
Siemian had the most experience in coach Gary Kubiak’s West Coast offense and showed a lot of progress in the offseason. When the Broncos broke for vacation after OTAs in June, Kubiak declared Siemian and Sanchez were “neck and neck.”
Sanchez appeared to have the early hold on the job when training camp began last month, but he was done in by turnovers, a career-long bugaboo. He fumbled twice inside the 15-yard line against San Francisco on Aug. 20.
Starting back-to-back exhibition games, Siemian showed off a powerful arm, precise throws, patience in the pocket and poise in the huddle.