Osweiler or Lynch? Broncos QB carousel keeps spinning
By STEPHEN WHYNO
Dec. 24, 2017
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — The Denver Broncos' quarterback carousel continues to spin, and no one's quite sure when or where it'll stop.
After Brock Osweiler was 22 of 38 for 193 yards with an interception and a fumble in a loss to Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins, coach Vance Joseph hopes to get Paxton Lynch some snaps in the season finale next week against the AFC West-champion Kansas City Chiefs (9-6).
"Our goal is to see him play," Joseph said. "So absolutely, if he's ready to go next week, he'll probably play for us. Absolutely."
The Broncos (5-10) didn't choose a starter during the week as Lynch was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Osweiler finished with a 60.7 rating, and Denver's only touchdown came with 78 seconds left.
Osweiler in the first half could be seen yelling on the sideline and afterward expressed frustration over not capitalizing on good field position.
"There was no finger pointing," Osweiler said. "The words that I used weren't directed at anybody specifically, just trying to ignite the offense. I felt like we were leaving too much out there."
Cousins didn't leave much out there, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns against Denver's defense that came in ranked first in the NFL. Some Broncos fans on their way into FedEx Field discussed the possibility of Cousins being their quarterback next year. His performance with general manager John Elway in attendance didn't do anything to douse that speculation.
"I don't want to say anything right now, but he's a ballplayer," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "He definitely can make some plays and he can make all the throws, but I can't say anything about next year."
The Broncos have started three QBs this season — Osweiler, Lynch and Trevor Siemian, who's on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Cousins is playing a second consecutive year on the franchise tag and is facing another offseason of uncertainty.
"You have to focus on the present, and certainly your mind does like to wander," Cousins said. "There will be plenty of time to discern all those questions and think about the options come the offseason, but right now I've got to focus on winning football games."
Some other things we learned in the Redskins' 27-11 victory over the Broncos:
REDSKINS' D UPGRADE: Washington allowed a combined 68 points in losses at the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers before giving up one touchdown combined in beating the Arizona Cardinals and Broncos. Bad QB play by Blaine Gabbert and Osweiler factors into that, but the Redskins have also gotten better at forcing turnovers and improved their practice habits.
"I feel like guys are paying more attention to details in practice and getting more out of practice and it's showing up on Sundays," said safety D.J. Swearinger, who intercepted Osweiler. "For the performance that we had it's incredible. From the D-line to the linebackers to the secondary, we played a full team game, and that's all you can ask for."
WHAT TO PLAY FOR: The Broncos and Redskins (7-8) have each long been eliminated from playoff contention but seem intent not to fold the tent before the season is over. While Denver faces Kansas City, Washington visits the NFC East-rival New York Giants (2-12) on New Year's Eve.
"It's time to get to K.C., man, and try to prepare as well as we can for them," Broncos safety Darian Stewart said. "It's still a division game, man. And It will feel better getting a win going into the offseason."
It matters to the Redskins to put together their first three consecutive seasons at .500 or better since 1999-2001.
"That's really where our focus is: get to 8-8," Cousins said. "It's not 13-3, but it's not a losing season. I want this brand, this organization, to be associated with winning."
ANDERSON FOR 1,000: Broncos running back rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins and now needs 54 to hit 1,000 in a season for the first time in his career.
"It would mean a lot," Anderson said. "We've got one game to do it. There's nothing better than having the pressure of one game."