And on Saturday, after he watched top challenger Trevor Siemian start the game before turning in another mixed bag performance himself, Sanchez was self-critical to say the least.
"I feel like I squandered an opportunity to separate myself," Sanchez told reporters after Saturday's 31-24 loss to the 49ers. "Poor quarterback play."
As resident tape guru Chris Wesseling noted, Sanchez was at times close to perfect. He started 9-of-10, but nearly tossed an interception. Then came the bad: A pair of fumbles before halftime -- one which could be placed firmly on his shoulders -- and a bad start after the break.
Paxton Lynch, theoretically in third place, finished 15-of-26 for 113 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was confident enough after the game to tell reporters that he thinks he's still in the running for the starting job as well.
And honestly, who could blame him?
While it's tough to criticize quarterbacks in the preseason, especially during a time where the team isn't game planning a significant amount and offensive linemen and receivers are making just as many mistakes, this has turned into the worst-case scenario for the Broncos. Siemian was efficient before a pick-six. Sanchez was 9-of-10 before the fumbles.
Sanchez is leading the way in accountability, but where does that put head coach Gary Kubiak heading into the third and most important preseason matchup?