The big question surrounding the Denver Broncos this offseason — besides Von Miller, of course — has been about the quarterback situation and who will start come September 8 when the Broncos host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl rematch.

Paxton Lynch, the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft, is expected to come on quickly, but not necessarily start the first few games. Mark Sanchez seems like the favorite to snatch the top spot on the depth chart, but nothing is set in stone just yet.

Jim Fassel, the former Broncos offensive coordinator and NFL Coach of the Year, joined Gil Whiteley on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1340/FM 104.7 to tell him what the rest of the team has to do in order to maximize Lynch’s potential.

GIL WHITELEY LIVE STREAM“You got to do it right,” Fassel said when asked if Lynch should start the season.

“If you get off to a bad start, it’s going to affect you,” Fassel explained. “I think they got to go through training camp and the preseason and see how he’s handling everything. If he’s handling everything, I wouldn’t be afraid to start him. If he’s still struggling a bit, I put him on the bench, because this guy will be their future. You don’t want the fans and coaches to get down on him and lose confidence, because that will take a long time to come back.”

If the Broncos get off to a bad start with Sanchez, it might be tough putting in Lynch to “stop the bleeding.” The Broncos understand they can’t rely on Lynch to come in and be a superhero. If the team wants Lynch to be successful, the defense, running game and special teams all have to be on their A-game during every snap or it will force him into making mistakes.

When Lynch tries to make a spectacular play out of nothing, it could result in costly turnovers. When Fassel was the offensive coordinator for the Broncos during the 1993-94 season, he explained how he told John Elway to rely on the rest of his team and not just himself.

“John Elway’s best season, statistically, was in 93,” Fassel said. “All I told John was, ‘Don’t try and win the game yourself. They pay those guys on defense, also. When you have the opportunity to make a big play, go for it, but if the play starts out bad, don’t try and take a bad play and make it into a spectacular play.'”

Tony Romo, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, was someone who Fassel said tried to make too many spectacular plays. Without much of a run game, Romo would resort to trying to win the game himself and make out-of-this-world plays, which would rarely work and usually result in a costly turnover.

“No run game backfires on you,” Fassel told Whiteley.

The Broncos run game starts with C.J. Anderson, who signed a big contract in the offseason to remain with the team, and with the recent addition of Russell Okung, their offensive line should be better this season.

Fassel believes the right formula for Lynch and the Broncos fits perfectly with coach Gary Kubiak‘s game plan.

“The formula for that is this, and I think it fits (Kubiak’s) personality,” Fassel said. “Establish a great physical run game, play great on defense and all your QB has to do is not get the team in trouble. Let the defense, the special teams, the run game win the game for you.”

Fassel couldn’t reiterate enough how important the rest of the team will be in shaping how Lynch will grow as a leader. He compared Lynch’s situation to that of one legend, Tom Brady, when he took over during the 2001 season after the Patriots started 0-2 and starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe got injured.

“When he had to step in after the second game, he was a sixth-round pick and they were 0-2 and they went on to win the Super Bowl,” Fassel explained. “Defense and special teams helped Brady win it.”

Brady only threw three passes the year before and had barely stepped foot on the field as a professional, let alone a starter. It was the rest of the team that rallied around him, though, and helped propel him to a Super Bowl win and the beginning of a legendary career.

Of course, the Broncos don’t believe Lynch is the next Tom Brady, but, hey, you never know. Perhaps, Sanchez will start off the season 0-2, and Lynch will come in and take his team to the Super Bowl.

If every facet of the game is working for the Broncos, a return to the Super Bowl shouldn’t be so far out of the question for the three-time champions.

Check out the rest of the podcast below…

Catch Gil Whiteley every weekday from 11a-1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.