- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Trevor Siemian’s biggest takeaway from his career-best performance wasn’t the masterpiece of pinpoint passes in the face of heavy pressure but a sprained left foot he suffered on one of five sacks.

It will sideline him this weekend.

The Denver Broncos ruled out Siemian for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville, meaning rookie Paxton Lynch will make his second career start.

Siemian had hoped to return to practice Friday but head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos informed coach Gary Kubiak his starter wasn’t ready.

He’ll be in a walking boot Sunday when the Broncos (7-4) turn to Lynch, who lost his debut eight weeks ago, against the Jaguars (2-9).

The Broncos are scrambling for a playoff spot after their loss to Kansas City in which Siemian threw for a career-best 368 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. He was injured on his last sack, when Tamba Hali powered past Russell Okung to drop the second-year QB.

The Broncos are hopeful Siemian returns next week when they travel to Tennessee.

“I think it’s still a day to day process,” Kubiak said. “When we tried to get him going a little bit today we realized it was time to go ahead and make a decision” to start Lynch this weekend.

Lynch lost to Atlanta in Week 5 when Siemian was out with a bruised left shoulder. Lynch, a first-round pick out of Memphis, had a poor performance against the Falcons, and four days later, Siemian was back in the lineup at San Diego even though he lacked mobility and zip on his throws.

Siemian finally returned to health last week following the bye, when he was able to get some rest and a second injection in his non-throwing shoulder.

Now he’s hurt again.

Kubiak said Lynch had a good week of practice but stressed “we need to play good around him. That’s our job as a football team, to help him out.”

So, expect to see Lynch in the shotgun a lot Sunday. He’s much more comfortable there rather than under center, where the Broncos have him lining up with one foot farther back to help with his raw footwork.

Siemian won the job in camp in big part because he can digest Kubiak’s entire West Coast offense while Lynch is limited after operating such a basic spread offense in college.

The coaching staff’s message to Lynch is more “go win the game” than “go win the job.”

“The biggest thing is to not overload him too much, let him be free and play. And like I said, the key is the football team playing well around him,” Kubiak said.

Lynch said Friday he’s glad he’s gotten his first game and the accompanying butterflies out of the way already: “It feels good to have game reps under your belt and I’m excited to go get another one,” he said.

Siemian will make the trip although he might sit in the coaches’ box with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison rather than stand on the sideline because of the boot.

The Broncos also promoted speedy wide receiver/punt returner Kalif Raymond from the practice squad with rookie fullback Andy Janovich (ankle) going on injured reserve.

Raymond could supplant Jordan Norwood as the Broncos’ punt returner. Norwood had two muffs last week, one of which led to a safety and the other to a turnover at midfield and a shove in the back from teammate Aqib Talib.

Kubiak wouldn’t commit to a change at punt returner, saying only that Raymond would play.

“Really it’s a reward more than anything. I mean, this kid does everything, scout team, there’s not a rep he misses, whether he’s playing DB, wide receiver. So, he deserves an opportunity to help us out,” Kubiak said.

“His speed is just crazy,” said Lynch, who has worked with Raymond on the scout team.

Raymond, an undrafted rookie from Holy Cross, was promoted five days after the Broncos watched another speedster, Tyreek Hill, score against them on a rush, a reception and a return.

Raymond aims to give the Broncos a similar spark.

“With my size and stature, speed is one of my assets,” said Raymond, who’s 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds. “If I can make that impact from a speed standpoint, that’s what I plan to do.”

Although receiver Bennie Fowler (knee) is out for Sunday, Raymond’s promotion gives the Broncos an astonishing eight wide receivers on their active roster to go with two long snappers and just five D-linemen.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide