ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Trevor Siemian got the day off but only as a precaution.
Rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch ran the Denver Broncos’ offense at practice Wednesday with Austin Davis also getting some work in while Siemian watched from the sideline and gave his bruised left shoulder another day to heal.
“With what we did today, I think the other guy needed all of the reps,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “Trevor didn’t need those reps.”
Siemian said he hopes to practice Thursday and certainly plans to be under center Sunday when the Broncos (4-0) host the Atlanta Falcons (3-1).
“I’ll see how I feel in the morning,” he said.
Kubiak is prepared to give Lynch his first NFL start if he has to, although he’s said he would be OK with giving Siemian the nod even if he isn’t able to practice during the week.
“I’d take it all the way to game day. I trust Trevor,” Kubiak said. “He knows exactly what we’re doing and he’s very bright. He’s on top of everything today. He’s a part of the walk-throughs and everything that we’re doing so he’s on top of everything. We’ll just see where he’s at physically.”
Lynch was impressive in relief Sunday, throwing for 170 yards and a touchdown in sealing Denver’s 27-7 win at Tampa after Siemian got hurt.
Siemian, the 250th overall draft pick in 2015, has outdueled top overall picks Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Jameis Winston along with Andy Dalton, a second-round pick, in his first month as Peyton Manning’s successor .
Siemian said he’s seen the hit he got hurt on just before halftime but doesn’t begrudge Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald for flinging him to the turf.
“He’s bringing me to the ground and I just fell funny,” Siemian said.
Siemian said he figures he’ll have to work through both the pain and the physical limitations whenever he does return to the field.
“I feel better than I was yesterday, so I haven’t tried to do too much,” Siemian said.
Kubiak held a three-way QB competition this offseason but Siemian and veteran Mark Sanchez quickly separated themselves from Lynch, who slowly adjusted from the spread style he ran at Memphis to Kubiak’s West Coast offense with is thick playbook that Lynch compared to a phone book.
“He’s much improved as far just handling himself, handling the huddle and those types of things,” Kubiak said. “His confidence throwing the ball and stuff, he’s always had that. Just handling all of the aspects walking in here today, getting a game plan that’s different than the one he had last week. He adjusts a little quicker so I think he’s just more confident in his ability each week to refocus, start over and get ready to play.”
Lynch said he figured he’d get his shot to run the offense Wednesday.
“It feels good to get more reps,” Lynch said. “I’m just doing the best that I can in case I do play on Sunday.”
Kubiak insisted he was preparing one game plan for whichever QB starts.
“You don’t tweak game plans,” he said. “You plan to play.”
Running back C.J. Anderson said Lynch’s growth over the last few weeks means coaches don’t have to dial it down for him.
“You can just tell the preparation from OTAs and from training camp all the way to now that it gives us the opportunity to not go and be conservative, to go run our offense the way we want to run it,” Anderson said. “That’s probably the biggest area he’s improved in. As far as all the intangibles, the arm strength and getting out of trouble with his feet, he’s been born with those. His preparation and understanding the offense better you can actually see that.”
The Broncos dealt with musical chairs at quarterback on their way to winning Super Bowl 50, so this is nothing new.
“We’re confident with anybody we got back there,” Anderson said.
The Broncos have won an NFL-best nine consecutive games and they’ve done it while playing four QBs: Manning, Brock Osweiler, Siemian and Lynch.
“A great defense always helps,” Anderson said, “and then the 10 guys on offense doing their job to make the quarterback’s job easier. People say it’s a quarterback-driven league, and all our quarterbacks have played well with their opportunity. If we continue to do our job the way we know we can do it, it makes their job that much easier.”
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton