The Denver Broncos have announced Peyton Manning’s replacement for the 2016 season. Little-known quarterback Trevor Siemian will start in Week 1 when the defending champions host the Carolina Panthers in the first NFL game of the year.
Siemian gets the call to start a new era in Denver, as the Broncos prepare for their first season without Manning since 2011. He beat out Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch for the starting job, getting ready for the first real NFL action of his career.
Drafted out of Northwestern with the 250th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Siemian barely got any experience as a rookie when he played behind Manning and Brock Osweiler. His only appearance came in Denver’s 34-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 of last year, taking a knee on the final play before halftime. But he’s outplayed Sanchez this preseason, forcing the Broncos to try to trade the quarterback that they traded for this offseason.
Siemian wasn’t overly impressive in the preseason opener, and his stat line (7/12, 88 yards, 81.2 passer rating) was worse than that of both Sanchez and Lynch. He completed 10 of 14 passes in the following game, and he secured the starting role by outplaying Lynch in Week 3 when he led two of the team’s three scoring drives. Sanchez didn’t play in the third exhibition game after fumbling twice in Week 2.
Even as he gets ready to make his first start, the clock could be ticking on Siemian. Lynch is the quarterback in waiting, having been selected with Denver’s first pick in the 2016 draft.
But for the immediate future, this is Siemian’s team. Despite his inexperience, the Broncos remain one of the Super Bowl favorites. Denver won the championship last year as Manning and Osweiler combined to consistently give the Broncos little production at quarterback. If Siemian is even somewhat serviceable, he’ll give the defending champs a chance to repeat with one of the league’s best defenses.
Can Siemian be the quarterback that Denver needs him to be? Most NFL fans have limited knowledge of him outside of three preseason appearances.
Below are 10 facts to know about the Broncos new starting quarterback.
- Siemian will be the first quarterback with no regular-season passing attempts to start for a Super Bowl winner.
- After Manning made $882,353 per game last year, Siemian will make $525,000 for the entire season.
- The 24-year-old will be the first quarterback from Northwestern to start a season opener since Otto Graham in 1955.
- Siemian, who boasts good arm strength, considered quitting football to work in real estate after he tore his ACL as a senior in November 2014.
- He attended Olympia High School in Orlando, where Arizona Cardinals’ running back Chris Johnson also went.
- Siemian had little success as a college quarterback, throwing for seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his final season.
- He chose Northwestern over Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State.
- Six quarterbacks were taken ahead of him in teh 2015 NFL Draft.
- Siemian had a 3.9 GPA in high school and was a member of the National Honor Society.
- He initially planned to play both football and baseball at Northwestern after being a standout shortstop, third baseman and outfielder in high school.