The Broncos kick off the preseason in Chicago tonight — here’s what you need to know

Paxton Lynch, center, and Trevor Siemian, right, will get their first preseason action of 2017 tonight in Chicago. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)
Paxton Lynch, center, and Trevor Siemian, right, will get their first preseason action of 2017 tonight in Chicago. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)
Paxton Lynch, center, and Trevor Siemian, right, will get their first preseason action of 2017 tonight in Chicago. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

The Denver Broncos will see a familiar face when they play their first preseason game tonight against the Chicago Bears: Mark Sanchez’s.

A year ago, Sanchez was suiting up for the Broncos in their first preseason game. Denver traded for The Sanchize in March 2016. The hope was that he could compete for the team’s starting QB job. We all know how that turned out: Denver cut Sanchez before the season started, and he wound up as the third-stringer in Dallas. Turnover issues, like they have so often in his career, doomed Sanchez.

Seventeen months later, Sanchez is a reserve QB for a Bears team that went 3-13 in 2016, and the Broncos are once against having a competition to determine who will start under center.

Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are the contenders. Broncos coach Vance Joseph told reporters the plan is for each of them receive roughly a quarter and a half of playing time. Siemian will start the game, though Joseph insisted that didn’t mean Siemian held the upper hand.

In 2016, the Broncos were undone by a poor offense. They finished with the top-rated defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. Denver’s offense, however, finished 26th in yards per play (5.1). That left the Broncos on the outside looking in in the postseason race for the first time since 2010.

The Broncos must get better quarterback play if it hopes to return to the playoffs, whether that’s from Siemian or Lynch. Denver must also get better in the ground game, where it averaged 3.6 yards per carry in 2016.

We’ll get our first look at some of the new faces along the offensive line tonight. First-round pick Garrett Bolles is slated to start at left tackle, and free-agent signees Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson will start at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

Here’s how to watch

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago

TV: NFL Network

Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.

Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food. Got questions? Tips? You can reach him at cclark@denverite.com.