For the first time in the 2017 regular season, Paxton Lynch will be in uniform this Sunday when the Broncos host the Bengals. This comes eleven weeks after Lynch sprained his right (throwing) shoulder in the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. The former first-round pick is in line to serve as the back up to Brock Osweiler.
The move to suit up and also serve as the backup quarterback is significant. Osweiler was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday with a right shoulder injury. The injury occurred in the second series of the first quarter after being shoved to the ground by Patriots’ defensive lineman Deatrich Wise after throwing the ball away. However, both Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph and Osweiler are not concerned.
“It’s no big deal,” declared Osweiler. “It’s something that I was able to play the entire game with. I didn’t miss a single snap. I’m going to be ready to go Sunday and it’s not going to cause any problems.”
With Osweiler being a limited practice participant, Lynch took all first-team passing reps including deeper throws. Joseph stated that Lynch looked good and took command of the huddle. The second-year quarterback used the time away from the team to continue to grow mentally.
“Since I couldn’t be out there practicing while I was in the training room you know, watching from the inside out. It was just a big emphasis for me being on my iPad (playbook) the whole time because I couldn’t be out there getting reps. So I feel like mentally I’ve taken a step forward,” noted Lynch. Lynch also admitted that it has been hard watching from the sidelines.
“It’s been tough, obviously you want to play,” stated Lynch. “You know I love the sport and I love playing football, so I want to play regardless of the situation. But I think the guys have done a good job and they’re going to continue to move forward and we all are.”
As a rookie in 2016, Lynch started only two games. In his two starts, Lynch went 1-1 and threw for a combined 327 yards while adding a touchdown and an interception.
Despite Lynch’s return, Osweiler is not worried about looking over his shoulder, but rather plans on staying focused on playing to his ability along with the task at hand.
“Really at the end of the day you could boil it down to everybody’s kind of looking over their shoulder,” said Osweiler. “Every single year, regardless of how long you have been in this league, how successful you’ve been, teams are always trying to find someone better and cheaper to replace you. That’s just how this business works. If you’re going to let those little things affect you, then you probably won’t be around too long.”
For now, Osweiler remains the Broncos’ starter. However the sign that Lynch is healthy and slated to be active Sunday potentially serves as a sign of the inevitable. At 3-6, the Broncos playoffs chances are slim to none barring a late season miracle. With nothing to play for, it would be wise for Elway and company to at least further evaluate their first-round quarterback.