This season, the Denver Broncos know who is under center: Case Keenum.
But with the ever-growing importance of the position, and the likelihood a backup will be needed at some point, the competition for who backs up Keenum — Chad Kelly or Paxton Lynch — has been closely observed through camp.
Last week, Broncos general manager John Elway said he’s not worried, however. The team is confident that if, “knock on wood,” Keenum does go down with an injury, Denver has a guy who can “come in and help us win football games.”
Whether that’s Lynch or Kelly remains to be seen, but thus far in camp “Stokley and Zach” hosts Brandon Stokley and Zach Bye have seen what they’ve deemed an unfair skew toward Lynch.
“To me, they’re really not competing. This thing is set up for it to be Paxton Lynch,” Stokley said.
Bye said in order to “genuinely” evaluate who’s a better backup for Keenum, both Kelly and Lynch need reps with the second-team offense.
“We have not seen an authentic competition. Paxton … has taken reps only with the twos. Chad Kelly, only with the threes,” Bye said. “But here’s why it’s specifically unfair to Chad Kelly. He’s not working with the guys who we’re excited about on this football team.”
That dynamic, however, could change.
When asked about Kelly getting second-team reps, head coach Vance Joseph said on Wednesday he will.
“He’s doing a good job and so is Paxton,” Joseph said of Kelly. “They’re both locked in, they’re both battling, and they’re both making plays out on the field for us. It’s been fun to watch those two compete.”
But the track record, Sandy Clough said on Wednesday, points to Kelly not getting reps with the twos.
“The fact is he didn’t in OTAs, he didn’t in the minicamp, and he hasn’t in the first five days of practice so far,” Clough said. “And I just can’t imagine that Chad Kelly is going to be the backup quarterback.”
And if Kelly it out of the backup race and Lynch doesn’t perform in the preseason, Clough said, it’s logical that Denver would seek out a veteran quarterback to backup Keenum.
“If Lynch doesn’t play well in either the first or the second preseason game, and he’ll get a lot of run in both games I would suspect, then I would think would almost have to make a move for a veteran who would act as Case Keenum’s backup,” Clough said.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.