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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Trevor Siemian hasn't officially won the Denver Broncos' quarterback job just yet but he has earned the starting nod over Paxton Lynch in Denver's preseason opener at Chicago.
Siemian will get first crack against the Bears on Thursday night while Lynch will start Denver's second game, at San Francisco on Aug. 19, coach Vance Joseph announced Monday following his team's indoor practice.
"I think Trevor's earned that much, you know, to be the first guy out," Joseph said.
That doesn't signal that the Broncos see Siemian as the clear leader in the biggest position battle in the NFL this summer .
"No, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, guys," Joseph said, adding seven more "no's" for emphasis.
"He's first out, he's been first all training camp. He's been first out all spring, OK?" Joseph said. "It's an open competition. The games matter. The games start Thursday. So, I want to get to the games, so we can get to the bottom of this, OK?"
It's obvious to observers at practice, however, that Siemian — solid and steady with glimpses of the spectacular like two deep, accurate throws Monday — has begun to pull away from Lynch, who has regressed since starting out training camp with a pair of solid practices.
Lynch had a rare turnover-free practice Monday but he started out erratic — 1-for-4 with a sack, a scramble and a wild overthrow on his first series — and blundered by throwing away the ball on fourth down from the 12 when Emmanuel Sanders was covered by Bradley Roby.
A similar play last year by Lynch drew the ire of then-coach Gary Kubiak, who implored Lynch to "give your guys a chance!"
Siemian was solid save for an interception by cornerback Lorenzo Doss when receiver Jordan Taylor slipped.
BOLLES GETS THE NOD: While Lynch, the Broncos' top draft pick last year, is showing he's still a work in progress, this year's first-rounder has quickly shown plug-and-play ability. Left tackle Garett Bolles was listed as the starter on the depth chart Monday, ahead of veteran Ty Sambrailo.
"Well, we watched the spring, we've watched the first two weeks of training camp and he's played well and in my opinion he's earned a right to start the game," Joseph said. "That being said, we're still competing there with Donald (Stephenson) and Ty."
Bolles isn't getting caught up in seeing his name atop the depth chart, saying he has four preseason games to really state his case and "I've got Donald and Ty pushing me."
BACKING UP THE NO-FLY ZONE: Doss, a third-year cornerback, and third-round draft pick Brendan Langley both got the message Monday when Langley was listed ahead of Doss as Chris Harris Jr.'s primary backup at right cornerback.
Doss, who has three interceptions in camp, knows he'll have to be more consistent in coverage to leapfrog the rookie, and Langley, one of the most athletic big corners in the draft, knows he can get some playing time early on if he keeps progressing.
"I would say this about the depth chart, it's a starting point," Joseph said. "Those two guys are competing for that fourth corner spot, which is a big deal for our football team. They're one snap from being a starter on sub (packages).
"What went into that? The spring drills, the training camp practices thus far. That's what's determined that he's ahead of him right now, but Doss has played really well. He's made a lot of plays and Langley has a long way to go as far as learning what to do as an NFL corner. So, it's open."
Notes: Joseph said he hasn't finalized plans for his QBs but "it's going to be more than most starting quarterbacks would play the first couple of weeks." ... Ex-Broncos S David Bruton was honored by team President Joe Ellis with a framed jersey commemorating his seven seasons in Denver. ... Joseph said ILB Todd Davis (shoulder) and S T.J. Ward (hamstring) won't play against Chicago.
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