The Denver Broncos on Friday introduced Case Keenum as their starting quarterback for the 2018 season.

Yes, the starting quarterback.

Head Coach Vance Joseph made no bones about it. There will be no competition this year. Sorry – this audio content is no longer available.

Keenum, who last year led the Minnesota Vikings to and NFC North title and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, enters the 2018 season as the undisputed starter for the Denver Broncos.

“He’s the right person for our locker room. He’s a guy who has been through a lot of ups and downs in his football career and he’s hardened to it. It won’t be too big for him to be a Denver Broncos quarterback, which is a big task,” Joseph said.

When pressed on his depth chart, Joseph was clear.

“Paxton Lynch] is the two, absolutely. Chad Kelly is the three right now.”

It’s an unfamiliar situation for Joseph. In his first year as head coach in Denver, 2017, Joseph was thrown into the middle of a quarterback competition between the 2016 starter, Trevor Siemian, and the team’s 2016 first-round draft pick, Lynch.

It was the second year in a row the Broncos held an open competition for the starting quarterback position. For two consecutive years Siemian won the job. And for two consecutive years the Broncos missed the playoffs.

Siemian has since been traded to the Vikings, and now Joseph doesn’t have to worry about making a choice at his most important position.

Joseph said Friday that it’s a good thing his team will enter the 2018 season knowing exactly who will be under center. But attentive Broncos fans will remember that during the course of last year’s quarterback competition Joseph would often espouse the value that open competitions can have for a team.

Sifting through many of Joseph’s comments from the past year, along with comments from Broncos GM John Elway and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, it’s clear that there is no clear answer to whether or not they think a QB competition is good for the team.

Some of their answers, like Elway’s from this year’s NFL Combine, can be contradictory even within themselves.

As such, we’ve tried to make sense of their comments from the past year to get a better overall sense of their feelings.

The key is as follows…

? = QB competition is bad for a team

? = QB competition is good for a team

? = Neutral quote, neither good nor bad

3.16.18 – Case Keenum’s introductory press conference

Vance Joseph on not having a quarterback competition…

“The benefits are that we can move forward with a starting quarterback. That’s good for everyone involved. That’s good for the players and that’s good for the coaches who are building a scheme around a player. Obviously, the last two years here it’s been a competition in training camp, and that takes away from what you want to do. If you have to do it, you do it, but if you don’t have to you don’t want to. It’s a good thing having Case going into OTAs and training camp as our starting quarterback. It’s good for the players and it’s good for the coaches.”

Translation: ?


2.28.18 – 2018 NFL Combine

John Elway on how important it is to know who your starting quarterback is at the start of training camp…

“It helps a lot. I’m not sure there are a lot of Super Bowl teams that haven’t known who their quarterback is going into training camp. But then again, [Eagles QB Nick] Foles was not the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles going into training camp either. That kind of shoots that down [theory] right there. We won’t lose hope if we don’t have the starter named by training camp—let’s put it that way—because of Foles. I think it’s important for continuity. Then again, if you can go into camp with a very healthy competition between a couple quarterbacks that you think have a good chance to make you better as a team, than that is a good situation to be in also.”

Translation: ???


8.29.17 – 2017 Preseason

Emmanuel Sanders on whether knowing who the starting quarterback is makes improving the offense easier…

“It’s a lot easier when you’re not going through a quarterback competition. You can look at the guy and know that at fourth and three, you’re going to be the guy that is throwing these passes. Let’s work. Let’s gain comradery, let’s gain chemistry and let’s get better, so that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Translation: ?


8.23.17 – 2017 Preseason

Vance Joseph on how competition for starting positions benefits the team…

“That’s just players. Anytime they’re competing, it makes them better. That’s what we want at all positions. We want competition to make guys better.”

Translation: ?


8.19.17 – Immediately following the preseason game against San Francisco

Vance Joseph on embracing the idea of competition positions and if it matters if one player is a top prospect and the other is not…

“That does not matter. Whoever wins the job, wins the job. He’s the best guy for our football team. So, where you’re drafted does not matter. It’s about performance not potential.”

Translation: ?


8.16.17 – 2017 Training Camp

Vance Joseph on whether competition at certain positions will continue after starters are announced…

“I was talking about the entire roster. The question was, if a guy won a job, what’s that mean for our football team? That means he’s the starter and it’s permanent. We take our time and decide who’s our best 11 on both sides of the ball in all three phases, matter of fact. When that’s determined, that’s pretty permanent.”

Translation: ?


Vance Joseph on whether the quarterback competition slows the progress of the offensive line…

“Absolutely not. Over and over again, with the two quarterbacks competing, the wide receivers, the running backs, the offensive lines, those guy’s jobs don’t change. They’re blocking their guys. They’re running the right routes. That doesn’t change other guys getting better. Obviously, the QB talk is a big deal, but outside of that, guys doing their job, that’s part of it.”

Translation: ?


7.26.17 – 2017 Pre-Training Camp Media Luncheon

John Elway on the quarterback competition…

“I feel good about that spot. If you look at where we were last year, in my mind, we’re in a much better position this year with [QB] Trevor [Siemian] having a year under his belt. Then, with getting [QB] Paxton [Lynch] in the draft last year, and him having played a couple games and having a year under his belt. There’s always one thing in this league—the one thing that I understand and learn to understand is that there is always going to be an issue somewhere on your football team. Because of the way it’s set up with all the teams in the battle all the time, there is always going to be an issue that you’re going to have to take care of. That’s why [you have to be] flexible, continue to work hard and make sure to take care of every spot on the football team.”

Translation: ?


Joseph on making a decision at quarterback sooner based on other players’ opinions…

“It does matter what the players think because it’s their football team but it’s my job and the staff’s job to find the best guy for the job. The quarterback competition should not deter guys from doing their job. If you’re a receiver, do your job no matter who’s the quarterback. In most camps, most of the receivers, backs, offensive line, are all playing with both guys so it should not matter to the players outside of Paxton and Trevor.”

Translation: ?


Joseph on whether the quarterback competition diminishes offensive effectiveness in practice…

“It does not. It does not, both guys are in the same system.  Again, the quarterback is a huge deal obviously. But for our football team and the system that we put in, the blocking, the throwing, the catching, won’t stop. That should not slow us down. In my opinion, it should help us play better once we find a guy that fits the system and who’s the right guy for us. It’s going to help us play better. Again, I am not concerned with the timeframe. I’m not. I want the best guy for us. It’s here, so it’s going to happen fairly quickly. It’s not like we’re in the spring and I’m telling you guys it’s not even started yet. It’s here and it’s started so it’s weeks away. How many weeks, I don’t know, but it’s weeks away. It has to be.”

Translation: ?


Joseph on the quarterback competition adding intensity to camp…

“Absolutely, that’s what we want. Outside of the quarterback battle we’ve got a serious battle at wide receiver, at running back, at left tackle and at the fifth corner spot. That’s one component that we’re concerned about but there’s battles all over this football team and it should be that way every camp.”

Translation: ?


6.15.17 – 2017 Minicamp

Vance Joseph on how his experience as a player and coach shape how he evaluates each quarterback

“My experience on offense, being a QB my entire life, except for two or three years, it helps me understand all phases of the game. As far as the quarterback deal, I was in a competition in college with [former NFL QB] Kordell Stewart. It was very similar to what these guys are going through, so I get it. It is a tough deal. You have to be patient with the guys. You have to not take evaluation as a daily deal, but as a collective, full evaluation as far as time. It can’t be Monday he’s better; Tuesday, he’s better. It has to be a collective result as far as who was more consistent over time.”

Translation: ?


6.13.17 – 2017 Minicamp…

Vance Joseph on if it’s hard for quarterback to take leadership of the offense during a competition

“I think it’s awkward for guys to be in the competition to be a quarterback and to be a leader. If you’re not the guy, it’s not natural to portray that you’re the guy. It’s awkward, but they’ve both been told they have to do it. You have to assume you’ll win the job and lead this football team.”

Translation: ?



Case Keenum doesn’t have to assume anything. He knows the job is his.

That may put Paxton Lynch in a bit of an odd spot (especially if the Broncos use the No. 5 overall pick to select a quarterback), but it should also relax the pressure on him a bit as he enters camp with a clearly defined role as the backup.

As for Joseph and Elway, while at times they tried to pump up the “good” aspects of a quarterback competition, they were actually relatively consistent in keeping a neutral attitude — especially when the competition was ongoing.

Having a negative attitude in years past about the QB competitions wouldn’t have been good for anyone, so credit Joseph and Elway for doing their best to spin the situation forward while still being both fair and realistic.

Just remember… A quarterback competition can be spun as either good or the bad. But each of the last two times the Broncos have had one, they haven’t made the playoffs.