Broncos to start Paxton Lynch at QB against Raiders

Jeff Legwold ESPN Senior Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — At 3-7 and with a six-game losing streak in hand, the Denver Broncos will announce Wednesday that Paxton Lynch will start at quarterback Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, sources told ESPN.

The team’s quarterbacks were to be informed of the decision Tuesday, and coach Vance Joseph is expected to announce the move to the team Wednesday morning.

Lynch, who injured his right shoulder Aug. 26 in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, has not played since. He was the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback, behind Brock Osweiler, in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and it was the first time he had been in uniform this season.

Lynch will be the third quarterback to start a game for the Broncos. Trevor Siemian was benched following three interceptions in a loss Oct. 30 to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos have gone 0-3 in Osweiler’s starts.

On Monday, the Broncos fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and announced that quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave will serve as the interim offensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. Joseph said he made the move to “stabilize” the offense.

The Broncos’ two turnovers against the Bengals led to 13 Cincinnati points. The six-game losing streak is the team’s longest since 1990.

“[The coordinator change] was more about the quarterback position and hoping to get a better guy in to, again, stabilize the offense and not give the ball away so much,” Joseph said Monday. “That hasn’t happened. … Brock’s had three starts now and the same problems have occurred.”

Lynch, who was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2016, will get his third career start. Lynch lost back-to-back training camp battles with Siemian for the starting job and had not practiced until earlier this month because of his shoulder injury.

Joseph said Monday he wanted to meet with Musgrave and the rest of the offensive staff to see “who’s the best guy for our football team.” He said at the time that all three quarterbacks could be considered.

Lynch’s two starts in 2016 included an Oct. 9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and a Dec. 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars — games Siemian missed with shoulder and foot injuries, respectively. It’s likely that the Broncos will cocoon Lynch in a run-heavy game plan, much like his past start in Jacksonville.

In that 20-10 Broncos win, Lynch was 12-of-24 for 104 yards without a touchdown or interception. He was sacked twice and the Broncos ran the ball 28 times.

Asked Monday if it was a lot to ask of Lynch to change offensive coordinators and then start less than a week later, Joseph was quick to say he believed Lynch could be prepared.

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

The Broncos have been far more efficient in a run-first mode this season, but during the losing streak they have trailed so often — every minute of four of the losses — the Broncos have spent much of their time with three wide receivers in the formation in most down and distances.

It hasn’t worked, as the Broncos are 27th in the league in completion percentage (58.8 percent), and tied for 25th in the league in yards per pass attempt at 5.5. Their 17 touchdowns also tie them for the second-lowest total in the league.

Osweiler was asked Sunday if he felt the Broncos would try to get Lynch into the lineup.

“I’m not worried about that,” Osweiler said. “I’m never going to look over my shoulder. I’m just going to show up to the building every single day and be myself, work as hard as I possibly can and everything will take care of itself. That’s how I look at that.”

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/21505884/denver-broncos-start-paxton-lynch-qb-sunday