ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos aren't sure who their quarterback is.
In the latest twist to the uncertainty that's surrounded the position ever since Peyton Manning retired, coach Vance Joseph said Monday he wasn't sure whether to name Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch his starter at Washington this weekend.
"We're going to discuss it with the staff and see where we are with both guys," Joseph said. "Paxton hasn't practiced in three weeks and we have to see where he's at physically. He came in on Saturday and Sunday and threw the ball and rehabbed. We'll see, but there are a lot of things that go into that decision."
Keeping the locker room engaged in among them.
"That definitely has to be considered," Joseph said. "We've won two (consecutive) games and our locker room wants to win. So again, our first priority is to win a football game. We all know that, the players and coaches included. That's very important."
Safety Darian Stewart said the players "trust the coaches to do what they need to do to help this team. We're all in. We still have to go play a football game. Whoever they choose will be ready to help us."
Trevor Siemian went on IR with a left shoulder injury he sustained at Indianapolis last week. Osweiler relieved him and led Denver to a 25-13 win with one of the best performances of his career.
Although that earned Osweiler praise from his teammates, it won him neither the unequivocal support of his coach or the starting nod Sunday when the Broncos (5-9) visit the Redskins (6-8).
"Brock played well. It would be hard to say he didn't play well. It's proof in the film there, but we have a lot of things going on as far as the quarterback deal," Joseph said.
Insisting that winning games is still paramount, Joseph reiterated Monday that he'd like to see Lynch play some more over the last two weeks. That's provided he's sufficiently recovered from a sprained left ankle that left him sobbing on the sideline at Oakland last month in his only start this season.
Joseph said he'd like to see Lynch at practice Wednesday before naming his starting QB.
"We want to see Paxton play some, so that's the truth. We have to see where he is as a player moving into the off-season," Joseph said. "That's important for our football team moving forward. We have to discuss it. Again, we want to make sure he is totally healthy so he can play and play well if he does play."
The Broncos' 2016 first-round pick, Lynch began the season rehabbing from a sprained left shoulder he sustained in the preseason after being defeated by Siemian for the starting job. Siemian lost that gig to Osweiler two months in, and Osweiler was benched after losing three starts.
Lynch was awful in his only start last month, passing for just 41 yards and throwing an interception into triple coverage from the 1, the only one of his eight drives that didn't end in a punt.
Asked what he needed to see from Lynch, Joseph said: "I will say this, players get better with playing in games. I've seen the guy play in practice and he's had a start against the Raiders with three quarters. With game experience, some guys get better and you want to see him in games."
As he has all season, Joseph praised Siemian's toughness but he demurred when asked about Siemian's future in Denver.
"That's a question that we all have to answer after the season, a number of us," Joseph said. "I'm not sure. He's a good, young quarterback and smart and tough."
Notes: OLB Shane Ray indicated his season might be over after he had the screws removed from his surgically repaired left wrist Friday. Ray said he's been unable to lift weights since getting hurt in training camp and he's down 17 pounds to 225. He'll be in a hard cast for the next two weeks. ... The Broncos re-signed WR River Cracraft to their practice squad. They signed him two months ago but he tore his left hamstring 48 hours later and returned to his home in California to rehab.
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