After an up-and-down training camp, Sanchez put together an up-and-down night as the team's starter in their 22-0 preseason win in Chicago. Sanchez was terrific on the team's opening touchdown drive, decisive with his throws while standing up tough to pressure. His 32-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas was one of the easier throws of the drive, and Sanchez was leveled on the play.
That's the encouraging side of Sanchez's performance. The flip side showcased a quarterback who was picked off on his second drive. Bears cornerback Bryce Callahan, who was burned for the first score, made a terrific play coming off his man to deflect Sanchez's pass. Sanchez threw the ball into traffic, which is something coach Gary Kubiak has been working to prevent. To complete the Sanchez cycle, the Broncos went three-and-out on his third drive.
Add it all up, and Sanchez completed 10 of 13 passes for 99 yards, one score, and one interception. That's the Sanchez experience; a little bit of everything.
Will that be enough to win the team's starting job? Sanchez was outplayed by second-year pro Trevor Siemian at practice last week and we could see why on Thursday. Siemian looked comfortable in his quarter of action, showing nice pocket presence. He completed his first three passes and his numbers would have looked a lot better if Bennie Fowler held on to a beautiful, would-be 19-yard touchdown reception on Siemian's fourth toss.
It wasn't a flashy quarter for Siemian, which is his reputation. But he looked professional while guiding the Broncos to field-goal attempts on three of his four drives. He finished with 88 yards on 12 attempts. A nice play out of the pocket during a two-minute drive gave the Broncos a shot at more points before halftime.
Kubiak must be tempted to start Siemian if he keeps stringing together positive practices and improves in his preseason efforts. He has upside as a second-year player, and could be less prone to wild swings in play like Sanchez. With the Broncos' defense loaded for bear, Denver doesn't need to take risks.