The Denver Broncos didn’t just lose to the Oakland Raiders in Week 9. In the defeat, Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian had one of his worst games, failing to complete even 50 percent of his passes for the first time in his career.
Following the game, coach Gary Kubiak stopped short of threatening to bench Siemian. But the coach did acknowledge that his quarterback will have to get better.
#Broncos Kubiak on QB change. "I feel really good about what Trevor's doing, but Trevor's like any other player — he's got to get better."
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) November 7, 2016
Unfortunately for Siemian, that has not happened. In fact, he’s gone in the other direction.
In Siemian’s first three starts, he completed 67 percent of his passes for 756 yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 95.9.
Over his last three outings, the quarterback has completed 52 percent of his passes for 716 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a 76.9 rating. So, while he’s thrown fewer interceptions, Siemian has gotten worse in practically every other way.
That, of course, impacts more than just the passing game. If opponents don’t have to respect Siemian’s vertical game, then they can stack the box and limit Denver’s rushing attack.
More often than not, the Broncos’ defense has been good enough to overcome Siemian’s flaws, hence the 6-3 record.
But teams like the Raiders can score points. Even in a strong game for the Denver defense, remaining opponents like the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs (twice), New England Patriots and Oakland again should be good for at least 20 points. If Siemian and the Broncos’ offense can’t answer that, it’ll be hard to take them seriously as a Super Bowl threat.
None of that is to say that Denver isn’t a real contender. But Kubiak is right. If this team is going to realistically compete for another Super Bowl, the quarterback has to be a lot better.