Co-starter Trevor Siemian has been gifted an opportunity few second-year seventh-round picks are afforded: the possibility of starting at quarterback Week 1 for the defending Super Bowl champions.

With Peyton Manning enjoying retirement and with Brock Osweiler bolting for Houston, the Denver Broncos were left with a gaping hole at football’s most-important position. A hole so gaping that the Broncos’ best options are the Mr. Seventh Rounder or Mr. Butt Fumble.

On Saturday, though, Siemian had an opportunity to do the previously unthinkable and snatch the starting job away from Mark Sanchez.

And for awhile it looked as if that was exactly what he was going to do.

In what may be the most important game of his young career, Siemian started off hot, as he led the Broncos down the field on a 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive. He contributed 55 yards on five of six passing, while C.J. Anderson capped it off with a 19-yard rushing touchdown.

Broncos Country was ready to call the fight.

But then things began to turn south for Siemian.

On his first drive, the second-year quarterback succeeded by “dinking and dunking” his way down the field, and that’s fine. He was accurate, he protected the ball and (based on the touchdown) it worked. But what Siemian didn’t do was push the defense or test his arm down field.

On the second drive, it would hurt him.

Facing a third-and-long, Siemian checked down to a crossing Jordan Norwood for three yards, forcing a fourth down. At first it looked like a safe, responsible play — don’t force the ball and give your defense a chance to do what they do best.

The issue, though, was that he had two receivers deep down field for an easy first down.

And that exemplifies the problem with Siemian: He’s too safe.

Yes, Sieman seems to be the safest option, but sometimes safe can hurt, especially when the quarterback is most important — in the fourth quarter and on third downs.

If you’re going to succeed in this league, you have to be willing to take chances. And if you don’t, you better make sure you’re perfect, otherwise.

Siemian didn’t do that, tossing a pick-six and proving that he is, in fact, capable of turning the ball over.

Siemian certainly didn’t knock himself out of the quarterback competition, but he didn’t earn it, either. And unfortunately for him, this was his best opportunity to do just that.

Heading into Week 3 of the preseason, Gary Kubiak still has a difficult decision on his hands.