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Broncos to start Paxton Lynch at QB against Raiders

Paxton Lynch is finally getting his chance to be QB1 in Denver, and this time, he'll have the opportunity to stay there for the foreseeable future.

The 2016 Broncos' first-round draft pick will make his first start of the season Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, replacing the struggling Brock Osweiler, head coach Vance Joseph confirmed Wednesday. Trevor Siemian will be the backup with Osweiler inactive.

General manager John Elway hinted on Orange & Blue 760 prior to the move that the change could happen, saying, "I talk to Vance  every single day, we'll talk about that, but ultimately it's gonna be Vance's decision ... if you look at where we are, I'd anticipate at some point in time we'll see Paxton."

Sunday will apparently be that point.

Lynch earned some action in Siemian's stead as a rookie last season. The QB filled in for Siemian when he hurt his shoulder in Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and started the following week when Siemian wasn't able to go against the Atlanta Falcons. Lynch also earned a start against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13 when Siemian was out with a foot injury. But all that playing time came when Lynch was Siemian's definitive backup.

Now, beginning with Sunday's start in Oakland, Lynch will get his chance to prove he's the Broncos quarterback of the future.

Lynch lost that opportunity in the summer when he was beat out by Siemian in training camp. He remained out of the mix to replace the struggling Siemian earlier this year while trying to recover from a sprained throwing shoulder he suffered in the Broncos' third preseason game. Once Lynch healed, though, and it became obvious in losses to the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals the last three weeks that Osweiler was not the franchise quarterback John Elway and Joseph were looking for, Denver is ready to turn the keys to the offense over to the sophomore quarterback.

It'll be one of the more intriguing storylines to follow as the NFL is nearing the conclusion of its regular season. The Broncos have lost six straight. They just fired their offensive coordinator. Elway publicly called the team "soft." Now, they're starting a second-year quarterback who the team, with the 26th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, had hopes would someday be the future of the franchise.

The Broncos' final six games of the season are against struggling teams (five who have losing records). This weekend, Lynch gets his first crack against a Raiders team that hasn't intercepted a pass all year. If the quarterback struggles down the stretch, against these teams, Elway and Joseph might be looking for a new hope at quarterback in addition to a new full-time OC in the offseason.

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