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Broncos Film Room: Trevor Siemian is a legit NFL quarterback

Andre Simone Avatar
December 1, 2016

 

Wednesday’s unexpected injury news shouldn’t put a damper on Trevor Siemian’s career performance on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. For so many different reasons, the way in which Siemian played was eye opening—his accuracy on deep throws was outstanding, his ability to get out the pocket making throws on the run, and his third-down playmaking all stood out.

Siemian did all this while playing against a tough Chiefs defense that was bringing some fierce pressure in the early going. He also was able to be productive while ignoring one side of the field as he targeted KC cornerback, Marcus Peters, only once—in overtime—essentially throwing away from him the entire game, exploiting other matchups.

As we’ve done every step of the way with Siemian, we’re going to dig into what made this performance so special. Pay attention, because the bar has now been set to a new height, this will be the game we circle back to when we talk about our expectations for this revelational QB.

Getting it done deep

A lot has been said about Siemian’s ability to throw deep. In previous BFR’s we’ve identified this as an area in which the Denver Broncos quarterback had to be better. We’ve never questioned his arm strength, but his deep ball accuracy and placement certainly were under the microscope.

Well, no one could have asked for the performance we saw Sunday night, as No. 13 was throwing dimes deep throughout the second half. The drive that obviously stood out most was the touchdown drive culminated by the 35-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders. The even bigger throw came two snaps earlier, when Siemian hit Sanders for 64 yards, orchestrating a four-play 88-yard drive that was entirely put together by Sanders and Siemian.

The Denver signal-caller flashed great ball placement deep, putting the ball exactly in the bread basket for his receiver. Siemian’s quick footwork on these two passes is also impressive.

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But it didn’t end there; he showed great touch and easy arm strength on the 3rd-and-2 TD throw to Bennie Fowler as well which went for 76 yards, not to mention a fearlessness of staring down an all-out blitz in that situation.

Throughout the game, the Broncos first-year starter diagnosed the Chiefs defense pre-snap and was able to take advantage of single coverage on the outside.

It wasn’t just the touchdown scores or big plays, Siemian’s first first down of the game came off a powerful throw to Sanders on the sideline, who was able to pick up extra yardage after the catch. The throw shows just how strong Siemian’s arm is to sail that far and be that accurate. That’s not an easy throw to make and on 3rd-and-9 nonetheless.ts-wgun-to-sideline

On a 3rd-and-2 early in the third quarter, Siemian made a terrific toss down the sideline to Demaryius Thomas, placing it for DT to high point the ball, again flashing nice accuracy and easy arm strength.

More so than strength, Siemian’s ball placement on all these deep passes was excellent, as he led his receivers in perfect position often allowing them to pick up extra yardage after the catch. A consistent big-play element would significantly change the way in which teams would have to gameplan against Siemian and the Broncos.

Doing it with his feet

We’ve always been impressed by Siemian’s footwork in the several BFR’s we’ve done on him.  That’s something he kept showing on the deep throws by buying time in the pocket or subtly navigating through pressure while still getting his feet under him to rifle throws downfield.

But we’d never seen Trevor Siemian do what he did Sunday night as a scrambling quarterback, not even when we went back to watch his Northwestern tape.

The first touchdown of the game in which he reversed field, pivoted out of pressure and then made an accurate throw while running out of bounds was simply special, no other way to put it.

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Even before that play, No. 13 got outside in the flats and had to outrun lineman Chris Jones to the corner, throwing on the run for a first down to DT. Again in this play, he shows superb athletic skill and ability to throw with accuracy on the run. He also makes a gutsy throw across his body but makes it count by throwing on the money.

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What you love to see is Siemian being able to be a playmaker in a variety of ways, not just with his arm but with his feet as well.

Finally, in overtime he made another nice play on 3rd-and-8, running away from pressure and calmly delivering a feathery pass (great touch) to Devontae Booker who was able to take it and run for an extra ten-plus yards thanks to the on point ball placement.

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The Broncos quarterback ran the ball five times, picking up an important first down and totaling 23 yards on the ground for the day. The ability to get out the pocket and take 5-10 yards when all options are covered is another added advantage that No. 13 needs to exploit more often as he did against the Chiefs.

Most of all, Siemian flashed superb ability in throwing on the move, while also navigating the pocket masterfully with on point footwork. Both these skills allowed the Broncos to have success under pressure and find big plays thanks to their QB’s ability to stay alive in the pocket and make things happen.

Accuracy still not perfect on short to intermediate

Especially early on in the first four or fives series, Trevor threw some ducks. There were just passes that were behind his targets on a few attempts. The NFL requires pinpoint accuracy and Siemian’s ball placement still needs work. Even though he was superb deep, the QB did have a few missed opportunities in the short to intermediate passing game. That said, once he got on a roll there really weren’t many inaccurate throws.

As the game progressed, he made some important passes over the short to intermediate for big third downs. Particularly on a few occasions to new tight end A.J. Derby—who impressed in his own right for his play on third down—Simian was able to squeeze tight window throws with high-level ball placement for some crucial first downs.

Accuracy wise we saw some increased consistency from Siemian. While you’d like for that consistency to be even greater, the accuracy shown on some tough throws in all areas of the field, deep and short, was extremely encouraging as he progresses as an NFL QB.

Poise on third down

The more you watched of this game, the more you realized that Siemian was doing a whole lot of damage on third down. Of the big deep plays mentioned above, his 76-yard TD and his outstanding scramble/pivot TD were both on third downs.

He also turned it up in the second half, going four-of-six on third down attempts and then converting a few big ones on both overtime drives, going 3-for-5 in the extra period. The first half was much less prolific as the Broncos converted on one of six attempts when passing, but Justin Houston’s disruption accounted for at least three of those missed conversions. Houston also got a sack and strip fumble leading to a safety on Siemian on third down. In that play, the QB needs to be better in reading the oncoming blitz and having better ball security in the end zone.

There were certainly some missed opportunities, but the Broncos did not lose because of their young quarterback who was clutch throughout the game and especially from the second half on.

Even in OT on the Broncos final pass attempt No. 13 delivered a beautiful pass to Fowler in tight coverage and was able to lead his target to get it into his hands. Fowler was unable to haul in the tough catch but the ball was on the money. If that catch had been made, we’d be talking about an even greater performance by Siemian.

Siemian’s already shown he can be a competent NFL quarterback. But the Denver QB came of age in this game by making plays above the X’s and O’s with his arm and feet, flashing big play ability and a certain upside that I’m not sure anyone could have anticipated—that ceiling seemingly keeps getting higher and higher.

As we said, the bar has been raised. We know how good Siemian can be now and how good he pointentially could be. 368 yards for 3 TD’s and a 10.8 yards per average completion doesn’t begin to tell the story.

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