ENGLEWOOD | The Denver Broncos might not be done shuffling backup quarterbacks.
General manager John Elway said Tuesday that he might still sign a veteran to back up starting QB Case Keenum if he doesn’t feel Chad Kelly can win games in a pinch.
“I’m not going to tell you we’re definitely going to stand pat, but I’m not telling you we’re going (in) that direction, either,” Elway told 103.5 The Fox radio station in Denver.
The Broncos promoted Kelly over former first-round pick Paxton Lynch this week following their contrasting performances in training camp and in the preseason opener last weekend, when Lynch threw for just 24 yards over seven series with the second string. Kelly had a pair of touchdowns in mop-up duty against the Minnesota Vikings.
“We’ve got to have confidence that that guy that’s going to be the backup can play and win football games,” Elway said. “And so that’s why we’re still in that process of trying to see if we’ve got that guy behind Case.
“Even though Chad played very well on Saturday night — we’ll see how he does this week — but if something were to happen to Case, can he come in and continue to win football games for us?” Elway said. “That’s the big part of the evaluation process and that’s still going on.”
Kelly will get plenty of work with the second stringers as the Broncos host the Chicago Bears for joint practices Wednesday and Thursday before their preseason game Saturday night in Denver.
Kelly, whose uncle in NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, threw for 97 touchdowns and 29 interceptions during a collegiate career that began at Clemson (2012-13), continued at East Mississippi Junior College (2014) and finished at Ole Miss (2015-16).
Elway selected him with the final pick of the 2017 NFL draft, but Kelly missed his rookie season while recovering from wrist and knee injuries, watching as the Broncos rolled through quarterbacks Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Lynch during a 5-11 season.
Osweiler wasn’t re-signed in the offseason and Siemian was traded after Keenum’s arrival in March, when Elway declared the backup job up for grabs.
Kelly had a solid offseason and consistently outplayed Lynch, the former Memphis QB whom Elway moved up to draft in the first round in 2016 following Peyton Manning’s retirement.
Kelly completed 14 of 21 passes for 177 yards, two TDs and an interception against the Vikings while the crowd serenaded him with chants of “Kelly! Kelly!”
“He’s had a great camp, he’s a competitive guy, he comes out and he works hard. He wants to be good,” Elway said. “And so, he’s the type of guy that you love to have on your football team. So, he did a great job the other night and we’ll see how he does this week.”
Coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday that Lynch was mad and miffed over the switch.
“He is upset. He didn’t like it. He wants to know why,” Joseph said. “And he has to play better. It’s as simple as that. It’s a competition. It’s the league. Everyone’s doing this. No one’s not playing their best players.
“And it’s really more about Chad. Chad has competed and Chad’s played well. Because if Chad’s not playing well, (Lynch) is still a 2. So, it’s really more about what Chad has done from the spring to now.”