NFL: Denver sticks with QB

Melvin Ingram, Trevor Siemian
Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram sacks Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian during the first half.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Trevor Siemian is keeping his starting quarterback job as the Denver Broncos try to end a slump that has plunged them to depths not seen in a quarter century.

Coach Vance Joseph said Monday that benching Siemian isn’t the solution for the problems that have resulted in just one touchdown in their past 35 possessions.

The Broncos (3-3) were blanked 21-0 by the Chargers on Sunday, snapping their 394-game scoring streak that dated to Nov. 30, 1992. It was the longest active streak in the NFL and second-longest in league history.

Denver has managed just 16, 10, 16 and zero points in its past four games. Joseph said the blame falls on everyone, not just Siemian.


“He can’t play well if he’s not being protected in certain spots,” Joseph said. “Now, he hasn’t been perfect, either. He can play better, absolutely. But it’s not a Trevor problem; it’s a unit problem.”

So, Brock Osweiler isn’t the answer.

“It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is if he’s not being protected or the run game is not effective,” said Joseph, who’s puzzled by how the Broncos can prepare so well all week and play so poorly on game day.

General manager John Elway fortified his offensive line after watching Siemian get sacked 31 times last year. But Siemian is on pace to get sacked 58 times this season behind an injury-ravaged, mistake-prone line that includes first-round draft pick Garett Bolles at left tackle and a revolving door on the right side.


Ten-year veteran guard Allen Barbre started at right tackle Sunday after the Broncos lost three tackles to injury the previous week.

Both Bolles and Barbre were manhandled by Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. The Broncos fell behind early and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stayed with his heavy diet of three wide-receiver sets that provided no blocking help for either of the struggling tackles.

It’s not just pass protection that’s the problem. The Broncos have averaged 153 yards rushing and a touchdown in their victories. In their losses, they’ve averaged 75 yards on the ground and have one TD.

Joseph is also sticking with running back C.J. Anderson as his starter even though he’s averaging just 30 yards the past two weeks.

The Broncos could be missing one of their top tacklers Monday against the Chiefs in Kansas City as inside linebacker Todd Davis was on crutches and in a walking boot with a high right ankle sprain.

Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie both ditched their walking boots Monday, a glimmer of hope for a team that’s been unable to free up Demaryius Thomas, whose career-long stretch without a touchdown has reached a dozen games.

Elliott gets reprieve

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will play at least one more game before another ruling from a federal judge on his six-game suspension, after U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla turned down the NFL’s request for an expedited hearing on a preliminary injunction. She set one for Oct. 30, a day after the Cowboys visit Washington.

Elliott had a career-best 219 yards from scrimmage, including 147 yards rushing, in Sunday’s 40-10 win at San Francisco.


Kizer apologizes

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, benched three times in three weeks for interceptions, vowed to change his habits after a video surfaced of him at a bar with teammates on Friday night.

“As a quarterback of this organization, I know there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that and a big part of it is being a leader,” he said, “and being a leader is making sure you understand that distractions in any fashion aren’t good for an ultimate goal, and when you become the centerpiece of a distraction for a week, it definitely is very frustrating on my part. That’s not who I am. My mother wouldn’t be proud of this.”


Browns left tackle Joe Thomas will have season-ending surgery Tuesday after tearing his left triceps Sunday against Tennessee. Thomas had never missed a snap in his 11-year career before the injury. ... Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Malik Hooker will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee. ... Dallas kicker Dan Bailey is expected to be out a few weeks with a groin injury. ... Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo was suspended one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Baltimore Ravens receiver Mike Wallace. ... Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown ended his holdout after missing the first six games.

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