ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – It’s time to see conclusively if quarterback Paxton Lynch is a bust or just a late bloomer.
The Denver Broncos’ former first-round draft pick will make his first start this weekend at Oakland, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Denver coach Vance Joseph won’t announce his starter until Wednesday.
General manager John Elway moved up in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft to select Lynch with the 26th overall pick, but the former Memphis QB proved to be a project.
Trevor Siemian, a 2015 seventh-rounder from Northwestern, handily beat out Lynch in 2016 and again this season. Shortly after coming up short in Denver’s quarterback competition for the second time, Lynch bruised his throwing shoulder against Green Bay in a preseason game.
That led to the re-signing of Peyton Manning’s longtime backup, Brock Osweiler, who had been released by Cleveland following a trade from Houston.
Osweiler supplanted a turnover prone Siemian (10 interceptions, two lost fumbles) three weeks ago but went winless in his three starts, including a 20-17 defeat to Cincinnati on Sunday in which Lynch was active for the first time.
On Monday, Joseph fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.
McCoy raised eyebrows with his overly complex game plans and stubbornness in sticking to three-receiver formations despite a flurry of sacks, flags and turnovers that resulted from a porous line and lack of depth at tight end and wide receiver.
Joseph said he wanted Musgrave, who guided the Raiders’ offense from 2015-16, to simplify the game plans.
Lynch went 1-1 last year in place of an injured Siemian, losing to Atlanta and beating Jacksonville. He completed 49 of 83 passes for 497 yards and two TDs to go with an interception. He was sacked nine times.
He had to learn a new system when Gary Kubiak stepped down and was replaced by Joseph, who brought in McCoy to replace Rick Dennison.
With Musgrave’s promotion, Lynch will be working under his third system in less than two years in the NFL, albeit one that will be pared down for him.
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