Paxton Lynch

Broncos Plan To Start Paxton Lynch On Sunday

The Broncos have suffered through another down season in 2017. However, the team will get one final look at second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch in their final regular season game, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link).

Paxton Lynch (Vertical)

Head coach Vance Joseph confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that he plans to start Lynch this weekend. Klis passes along, that Joseph thinks Lynch’s injured ankle will be healed enough for him receive a fair evaluation on the field.

The 2016 first round pick has started just one game this season, which came in a loss to the Raiders in Week 12. Lynch injured his ankle in that contest, but didn’t look good when he was healthy, completing 9 of 14 passes for just 41 yards, along with with no touchdowns and one interception.

The 23-year-old has been a major disappointment to a Broncos organization that wanted him to be the successor to Peyton Manning coming off their Super Bowl victory almost two years ago. That plan has clearly not come to fruition as Lynch has only appeared in four games since that time because of injuries and poor play.

Nevertheless, with neither Trevor Siemian or Brock Osweiler separating themselves this year, the Broncos would like one last look at their young quarterback before the they embark on the offseason. While Lynch is still on his rookie contract for 2018, I would still expect Broncos executive John Elway to be on the hunt for a starting caliber QB in the coming months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Paxton Lynch Suffers High Ankle Sprain

The Broncos’ late-season audition plan for Paxton Lynch hit a snag in the first of those starts, and the injury that caused Lynch to leave the Raiders game Sunday will force the team to start another quarterback against the Dolphins.

Lynch suffered a high ankle sprain, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). He will not play against the Dolphins, Klis reports. Trevor Siemian will start in Miami.

Vance Joseph announced Lynch suffered this injury (per James Palmer of NFL.com, on Twitter) and said he will miss between two and four weeks, so this stalls a crucial evaluation for the second-year passer. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter) this figures to be a minimum three-game absence for Lynch.

By Week 13, the Broncos will have started three different quarterbacks in three games. They appear set to revert to their original lineup, with Brock Osweiler backing up Siemian. But this stalls a Lynch evaluation process that’s already overdue, considering the franchise invested a first-round pick in him last year.

Lynch has started just three games, and this meaningless stretch for the 2017 team could have doubled as a test run for the Broncos to determine if they can put faith in Lynch next season or if they need to re-enter the quarterback market. This injury further muddies that prospective decision.

As he has at just about every juncture of their overlapping tenures as Broncos, Siemian fared better than Lynch on Sunday, leading the team to two touchdowns in the second half. Lynch finished 9 of 14 for 41 yards (2.9 per attempt) and left the game with the Broncos down 21-0 in Oakland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Lynch, Staley, Buchanon

The Broncos turned to another quarterback, but got the same results in today’s loss to Oakland. Second-year signal caller Paxton Lynch was the latest passer to rack up a defeat during the team’s seven game losing streak. However, the loss was not the only thing the former first round pick suffered on Sunday.

Lynch was forced to exit the game in the third quarter after an apparent right ankle injury, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. The quarterback was seen very emotion on the sideline when he learned that his day would be done. It’s a crushing development for Lynch, who’d been waiting for his chance to get on the field as he’d been recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.

Trevor Siemian was good in relief, but with the team at 3-8 and clearly out of the playoff hunt, I’m sure head coach Vance Joseph wanted to see what he had in his young gunslinger. It remains to be seen just how serious the injury actually is, though it appears to be distinct possibility that the team will have to switch starters again in Week 13.

  • The 49ers have dealt with a variety of injuries this year, but seemed to avoid another to one of the team’s best players. Left tackle Joe Staley left the game for just one play after an apparent leg injury, but was able to return without much issue. The veteran lineman clarified after the game that he simply hyperextended his knee and is fine, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that linebacker Deone Bucannon has injured right leg, says Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. While the news is concerning on its own, there is added negativity because it’s the same leg that Bucannon had surgery on during offseason, which forced him to miss the first three games of the year. It’s not known just how long it’s expected to keep the 25-year-old out, but the team does have three reserves in Josh Bynes, Scooby Wright and Bryson Albright to take those snaps should the injury force Bucannon to miss time.
  • The Seahawks came out of their win over the 49ers with few injuries of their own. Head coach Pete Carroll said that defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was “Ok” after leaving in the fourth quarter, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. However, Henderson also passes along that second-string tight end Luke Willson suffered a bit more serious of an injury after he was removed in the second quarter with a concussion. Carroll did mention to reporters that the tight end has a chance to play in next week’s game, but he obviously must pass concussion protocol first. In the meantime, both Jimmy Graham and third-stringer Nick Vannett were able to find the end zone without Willson in the lineup.

AFC West Notes: A. Smith, Broncos, M. Williams

After jumping out to a 5-0 start this year, the Chiefs have lost four of their last five games, making themselves vulnerable to the surging Chargers and even the Raiders in the AFC West. The team’s offensive struggles have contributed to that swoon, and quarterback Alex Smith has fallen off a bit after a torrid first half. He is coming off a miserable performance in Kansas City’s loss to the lowly Giants last week, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Chiefs would only turn to rookie first-rounder Patrick Mahomes if Smith were to get hurt. Smith will remain under center the rest of the year, though Kansas City still plans to shop him in the offseason as it prepares to usher in the Mahomes era.

Now for more notes from the AFC West:

  • New Chiefs CB Darrelle Revis will likely make his Kansas City debut next week, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Paxton Lynch is back under center for the Broncos, and Rapoport (video link) says they want him to start the rest of the year so they can fairly evaluate what they have in last year’s first-rounder. The team will run a much simpler offensive scheme for Lynch than what it employed under former OC Mike McCoy, and Lynch has been encouraged to simply do what he does best, which is run around and improvise.
  • We learned earlier today that the Raiders are likely to fire OC Todd Downing at season’s end, and that McCoy is an obvious candidate to replace him. Within that story, we cited another La Canfora article in which the CBS scribe reported that the McCoy firing might have been just the tip of the iceberg for the Broncos. He suggests that there is speculation that head coach Vance Joseph could be out after just one year on the job, and at the very least, that Denver could shake up other parts of its coaching staff.
  • Broncos GM John Elway has taken a lot of heat for his club’s 3-7 record in 2017, but Mike Klis of 9News.com says that criticism is largely unwarranted. In an interesting piece that pits Elway’s draft results against those of his long-tenured colleagues, Elway comes out near the top of the heap of NFL general managers, which makes Klis believe he will be able to turn the ship around in 2018.
  • We learned Friday that Chargers rookie wideout Mike Williams avoided an ACL tear during his team’s Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys, and Rapoport tweets that Williams has been diagnosed with a bone bruise. While Williams is expected to miss next week’s contest against the Browns, he will be week-to-week thereafter, which is a big deal for a team that has forced its way back into the playoff hunt.

Broncos To Start Paxton Lynch At QB

First, the Broncos made a change at offensive coordinator. Now, they’re making a big change under center. In Week 12, the Broncos will start Paxton Lynch at quarterback. Tuesday was an off day in Denver, so head coach Vance Joseph waited until Wednesday morning to deliver the news to the rest of his staff and the players. Paxton Lynch (vertical)

[RELATED: Broncos Fire OC Mike McCoy, Promote Bill Musgrave]

In some ways, this has been a long time coming for the 2016 first-round pick. In another sense, this was a quick ascension up the ladder. Last week, Paxton suited up for the very first time in 2017 as Brock Osweiler‘s backup with Trevor Siemian marked as a healthy scratch for the first time since Peyton Manning retired. This Sunday, Lynch will start, Siemian will serve as the QB2, and Osweiler will be left off of the active roster.

Last season, Lynch was on the field for three games and two starts. In that short sample, he completed 49 of 83 passes with two touchdowns against one interception. The Broncos have had some concerns about Lynch’s NFL readiness, but there’s no time like the present given their 3-7 record.

Last week, when discussing the possibility of starting Lynch, Joseph indicated that he would tailor the offensive game plan to the rookie’s strengths.

That’s on the coaches and myself if he does play for us to make have a system that fits Paxton,” Joseph said Monday. “He’s practiced the last two weeks. Again guys, it won’t be soccer. It’s football for him. What he’s practiced the last couple weeks may be called a little different. It may be called more of the same stuff, but it’s just football, so he’ll be fine.”

Lynch’s first start of the season will come on Sunday against the Raiders.

The news was first reported by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Paxton Lynch To Be Active In Week 11

The Broncos have dressed the same two quarterbacks throughout the season, but on Sunday against the Bengals, the reeling team is set to change its structure.

Paxton Lynch will suit up for the first time this season, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter), adding that Trevor Siemian will be a healthy scratch for the first time since Peyton Manning retired.

Having lost five games in a row — each by double digits — the Broncos appear to be reaching the point of a rare season out of playoff contention down the stretch. This would seemingly give the team a window to give Lynch the extended audition he’s yet to have. A preseason shoulder injury shelved the former first-round pick for this season to date, but he stands to be Brock Osweiler‘s backup against Cincinnati.

Lynch made two starts last season, going 1-1, and replaced Siemian midway through an October 2016 win as well. At 3-6, the Broncos are teetering on the verge of being removed from realistic postseason contention. And Osweiler is only signed through this season. Siemian, who beat out Lynch for the starting job in consecutive seasons, is signed through 2018. Lynch can be controlled through the 2020 season.

Despite being a seventh-round pick, Siemian is 11-10 in two seasons as a starter. He earned the nod over Lynch in Week 17 of last season despite Denver being eliminated from playoff contention. Siemian guided the Broncos to a 3-1 start this season but lost his next three and was benched for Osweiler.

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AFC Notes: Osweiler, Cousins, Jim Harbaugh

The Broncos have tried to tinker their playbook a bit to suit Brock Osweiler‘s strengths, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). However, Rapoport calls tonight’s matchup with New England Osweiler’s final audition, and if he should continue to struggle, Paxton Lynch — who is reportedly getting healthier — will be given the chance to show what he can do.

Now for more rumors from the AFC (we rounded up some NFC nuggets earlier today):

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes that the Jets‘ chances to acquire Kirk Cousins in the offseason improved after Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to San Francisco, thereby (presumably) taking the 49ers out of contention for Cousins’ services. Of course, it all depends on what Washington does, but Cimini thinks New York will make a major QB acquisition one way or another. He thinks the club will either pursue Cousins or another quality veteran (like Alex Smith, should he become available) or else trade up for one of the top signal-callers in the draft.
  • Browns LT Joe Thomas is battling an injured triceps that has knocked him out for the remainder of the season, and he remains undecided about his future, even though Cleveland gave him a pay raise for the 2018 season. As Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com writes, however, the Browns’ outlook could play a role in his decision. Thomas said, “Is it going to be for trying to pursue a championship or are we trying to pursue a playoff berth or are we trying to pursue a first pick overall? Those are all things that could play into that decision.”
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that, when the 49ers were considering trading former head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Browns offered San Francisco two third-round picks and offered Harbaugh a five-year, $40MM contract. Harbaugh, though, did not want to go to Cleveland, but sources close to the current University of Michigan head coach say his eventual return to the league is “inevitable.”
  • Rookie Gareon Conley might be the Raiders‘ most talented corner, but he has only been able to appear in two games in 2017 due to a shin injury that has taken longer than expected to heal. Per Scott Bair of NBCSports.com, Conley’s prospects for the remainder of the year will become clearer this week. If he is able to return to practice, he could work his way back into the mix. If not, Oakland will place him on injured reserve, thereby ending his first professional season.

AFC Notes: Luck, Fournette, Watson

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says no one is exactly sure what the future holds for Colts QB Andrew Luck, who was recently placed on IR and ruled out for the remainder of the year. Per Rapoport, Luck has met with at least four doctors and has been advised that he should not throw for two to three months, though surgery is not in the cards at this point. Rapoport says all indications are that Luck will be healthy for the start of 2018, but Alex Marvez of Sporting News is not so optimistic. Because of the way the Colts publicly handled the situation, Marvez does not put much stock in reports that Luck will be ready to go by the start of 2018 — especially since he still cannot throw without soreness 10 months after surgery — and he says Indianapolis is facing the possibility of Luck never playing again at a high level and being on the hook for $87 million in salary guaranteed against injury. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets that Luck will be reevaluated in December, and that the Colts are “not ignoring” the 2018 QB draft class.

On that sobering note, let’s take a look at more rumors from around the AFC:

  • The Colts claim that cornerback Vontae Davis is out for today’s game due to non-injury reasons, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hears that is actually a cover-up for the fact that the Colts have not disclosed Davis’ lingering groin injury in recent weeks. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star says there is more to Davis’ absence than the team is letting on, but he believes Davis’ absence is due to personal reasons and is not injury-related.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was deactivated for today’s game against the Bengals, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the star rookie missed treatment, a workout, and a team photo this week, which led to his benching. Head coach Doug Marrone is clearly trying to change the culture in Jacksonville, though Jags fans have to hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the team’s playoff push.
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is expected to miss eight to nine months as a result of his ACL tear, though the last time he tore his ACL, he missed only five months, so Houston is hopeful for a shorter timeline.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Broncos QB Paxton Lynch is under consideration to start in the team’s Week 10 matchup against New England, but Mike Klis of 9News.com says (via Twitter) that report is inaccurate. Klis reports that Lynch is not yet physically ready and that Brock Osweiler will keep the job if he plays well.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, there are some Browns coaches who believe GM Sashi Brown intentionally scuttled the team’s near trade for A.J. McCarron, presumably because he believed the cost (a second- and third-round draft choice) was too high. Even if Brown is right about that, his efforts to intentionally sabotage the trade represent a massive breach of protocol and will only intensify the much-discussed rift between the team’s coaching staff and front office. But even if Brown did not act duplicitously, and even if the botched trade was simply due to human error, the fact that the coaching staff thinks Brown intentionally nixed the deal suggests things have gone beyond the point of no return in Cleveland.

Extra Points: Vikings, Zeke, Williams, Lynch

Sam Bradford does not have a return timetable after making a brief cameo in Chicago earlier this month. The Vikings quarterback is still experiencing knee pain, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). However, Minnesota may be set to finally have some quarterback depth again after its Week 9 bye. Teddy Bridgewater is expected to come off the PUP list after the bye, and Rapoport expects him to immediately compete with Case Keenum for the Vikes’ starting job. A mostly Keenum-led team this season, the Vikings lead the NFC North after their win over the Browns on Sunday. Bridgewater reclaiming his job might be a bit tricky considering where the team is in the standings and how long it’s been since the fourth-year passer was at the controls. But a Bridgewater return gives the Vikings options they don’t currently have with Bradford still on the mend.

Here’s the latest from around the league.

  • Ezekiel Elliott did not travel with the Cowboys back to Dallas on Sunday night, instead trekking to New York for his seminal court date, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). Elliott did not attend his previous hearing with New York’s Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans earlier this month. The Cowboys star back rushed for more than 100 yards for a second straight week and has five touchdowns over the past two games but could see his suspension go into effect as early as next week if Monday goes poorly for his side.
  • Trent Williams is hoping the Redskins‘ bye week gives him time to heal his knee injury, but the Washington tackle isn’t certain that will do the trick, per John Keim of ESPN.com. Williams said earlier this month he’s hoping to put off surgery until after the season but revealed Sunday (via Keim) some doctors have told him that’s a six- to nine-month rehab process. Calling this a deep bone bruise, Williams added other medical personnel have said he can go the rest-and-recover route. So this bye week will be critical for the status of Washington’s injury-ravaged offensive line.
  • Speaking of left tackle injuries, Joe Staley suffered an orbital bone fracture Sunday. But the 11th-year 49ers edge blocker received a bit of good news, with Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reporting (via Twitter) no surgery will be required. Still, this could end any Staley trade speculation and keep him in San Francisco for another full season.
  • Paxton Lynch is no longer on the Broncos‘ injury report, and the second-year quarterback could be in uniform Monday night for the first time this season, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The Broncos have not received much help from their offense the past three games and have fallen to 3-3. The team obviously would be interested in getting its 2016 first-rounder on the field at some point, but Trevor Siemian won the job in the preseason. However, if the Broncos slink out of the playoff race as a result of a brutal upcoming schedule — the Chiefs, Eagles and Patriots represent Denver’s ensuing three games — Lynch could be summoned for a full-on audition.
  • Devon Still is considering retirement. The former Bengals rotational defensive lineman told TMZ he plans to decide in a couple of weeks if he will pursue a shot at another opportunity or not. The 28-year-old interior defender is currently a free agent, having last played with 2016 Texans. The Jets cut Still in August.
  • T.Y. Hilton is rumored to be on the trade block. Florio hears from multiple sources the NFL’s reigning receiving-yardage leader is available. Florio opines a future Hilton-type talent could come out of a mid-round draft pick, allowing the Colts — now run by a decision-maker in Chris Ballard who did not draft the sixth-year wide receiver — to offload Hilton’s $13MM-AAV contract and improve the roster with the savings.

Broncos QB Paxton Lynch To Miss Time

Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch is expected to miss “a couple” regular season contests while dealing with a shoulder sprain, head coach Vance Joseph told reporters, including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter links)."<strong

If Lynch is sidelined for the early portion of the season, the Broncos would be forced to turn to 2017 undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter to act as Trevor Siemian‘s backup. The only other quarterback currently on the Denver roster is rookie Chad Kelly, who is on the non-football injury list. Kelly is expected to spend his first NFL season on injured reserve, so he isn’t an option to serve as a No. 2 quarterback.

If they aren’t comfortable rolling with Sloter as their only reserve signal-caller, the Broncos could look to the free agent market in search of another quarterback. Colin Kaepernick, whom Denver was interested in prior to the 2016 campaign, stands out as an obvious solution, and Joseph said “every option will be considered” when questioned specifically about Kaepernick, per Jhabvala. Other free agent passers include Christian Ponder (who spent time with the Broncos in 2015), Robert Griffin III, Shaun Hill, Zach Mettenberger, and Bruce Gradkowski.

Lynch, a first-round selection in 2016, lost Denver’s starting quarterback job to Siemian through his performance in training camp and the preseason. Given that he’s only set to miss a few games, Lynch probably isn’t a candidate for injured reserve/designated to return unless his injury worsens. Instead, the Broncos will be forced to carry at least three quarterbacks (Siemian, Lynch, and a backup) while Lynch recovers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.