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Elway: Last year QB was our concern, this year it's not

Gary Kubiak retired Monday, sending John Elway into prep mode for another coaching search ahead of an offseason of uncertainty.

One area the Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations is not concerned about this season is his quarterback gig.

"I'm excited about the quarterbacks we have," Elway said Monday. "Last year that was the biggest concern. This year is not."

Trevor Siemian performed well in 14 starts this season. Behind a porous offensive line, the second-year quarterback outperformed the Peyton Manning-Brock Osweiler duo of 2015. Siemian compiled an 18-10 TD-INT ratio and an 84.6 passer rating, both far outdistancing the 2015 combination. The offense's struggles are not to be blamed on the quarterback.

Elway traded up in the first round of the 2016 draft to select Paxton Lynch. The rookie was shaky in three appearances, but displayed a big arm and good athleticism. A full offseason of seasoning should allow him to compete with Siemian for the starting gig.

Elway didn't rule out bringing in a veteran, but it's not high on his priority list.

"Never say never..." he said. "Right now we're going forward (with two young QBs) but we are always looking at everything."

Elway said the quarterbacks will be discussed when he is interviewing coaching candidates, but having an offensive background or a history working with young signal-callers will not be a requirement for the next coach.

The Broncos plan to look at "three or four" candidates, per Elway. The EVP said he would like to retain some members of Kubiak's staff, but none will be considered for the head coaching gig. The future of defensive coordinator Wade Philips, whose contract expires soon, will be left to the new coach, Elway said.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Falcons coordinator Kyle Shanahan -- son of ex-Denver coach Mike Shanahan -- are early candidates to replace Kubiak.

Elway said his focus this offseason is continually improving the defense, but stressed that the offense needed to carry its half of the load.

"We've got to get better offensively, and we have to compete better offensively," he said.

Improving the offensive line and running game are obvious starting points to help bolster his young quarterbacks.

In the end, Elway has a simple criterion for his next head coach:

"The standard is to compete for world championships," he said.

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