The Denver Broncos are going to deal with rookie mistakes at quarterback this season. The sooner everyone realizes that the sooner this team can move on to the future. Paxton Lynch, not Trevor Siemian, is the future. He should be the week one starter against the Carolina Panthers.

It’s clear Mark Sanchez isn’t in Denver’s plans this season. Following a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, it appeared Denver’s brain trust was content letting Sanchez warm the seat for whomever they were going to groom long-term. That was until Sanchez proved his “turnover machine” reputation wasn’t a thing of the past. After Sanchez turned the ball over three times in two preseason games, Gary Kubiak decided to turn the page.

The job then became Lynch or Siemian’s. It’s a head-scratcher why Kubiak chose Siemian over Lynch.

Either way you spin it Kubiak is swimming in uncharted waters. No defending Super Bowl champ has ever begun a season with such an inexperienced starting quarterback. On average, the defending NFL champion has started their title defense with a quarterback that had 74.8 starts. That’s a far cry from Lynch’s or Siemian’s 0.0 NFL starts. When is comes to games that matter they are equals, and that’s all that matters.

Kubiak hasn’t been shy about the pace at which they are hoping to develop Lynch. Following the announcement that Siemian had seized control of the starting job Kubiak was asked how fast they were planning on bringing Lynch along and his answer was telling.

“As fast as we can get it,” Kubiak said.

Then, why in the world is a seventh round pick from Northwestern (whose college team got better after he left) being handed the starting gig? Especially considering the amount invested in Lynch, a first rounder John Elway traded up to grab.

Lynch has made his fair share of mistakes in the preseason and training camp but he’s never going to be completely ready for the NFL until he starts getting regular snaps when they count. His development is going to hinge on adjusting to the speed in the NFL and reading defenses during the regular season, not running the practice squad or taking a limited number of first team reps at Dove Valley.

No doubt, Denver’s first-round draft pick is a work in progress and Thursday night proved as much, Lynch’s strengths and weaknesses aren’t a secret. He has a cannon and his athleticism is undeniable. But, he struggles looking off defenders, reading defenses pre-snap and he can’t throw a touch pass to safe his life – much of what you’d expect from a rookie quarterback, as defenses in the NFL are more complicated and throwing windows are tighter.

That said; throw what you saw in the preseason out the window. Truthfully how much stock is anyone buying in the preseason? Remember when the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason then lost 16 straight regular season games? Or when the Patriots laid an egg in the preseason only to go on to win the Super Bowl? Players rarely go full speed and coaches prepare bare-bones game plans. The preseason reveals little when it comes to prognosticating success in the regular season.

If Lynch were backing up Brett Farve, Joe Montana or even Peyton Manning we’d be having a different conversation, but he’s not. As it stands now Lynch is backing up the guy who backed up Manning’s backup last season. Lynch gains nothing holding the clipboard for Siemian.

Championship windows in the NFL are tight. They can close as quickly as they open with injuries and free-agency reshaping rosters on an annual basis. Right now Denver has a championship roster (outside the question marks at quarterback), making the speedy development of a quarterback so imperative.

Dealing with Lynch’s growing pains this season makes the most sense. If he’s the player that Elway believes he is (Denver’s scouting department had Lynch rated as the second-best quarterback in the draft) it’s better to let him work out his demons now rather than blow another year of a historically great defense in 2017.

Siemian isn’t the quarterback of the future and the Broncos have said as much. There’s no reason for this team to deal with his mistakes this season only to bang their heads against the same wall the following year. To proactively relieve that headache, Lynch’s development needs to be trial by fire this season.

It’s not if or when; the time is now for Paxton Lynch.