ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The first five days of Denver Broncos training camp saw the quarterback competition progress as coach Gary Kubiak had promised before training camp began.
Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian split the first-team repetitions. Rookie Paxton Lynch, who emerged from OTAs behind the other two quarterbacks who were "neck and neck," was in the No. 3 spot.
Lynch ran the third-team offense throughout the first five practices before the Broncos took a break on Tuesday. His first two days were rough; he struggled to run the offense; his passes were too often off-target, and he missed opportunities to hit open receivers downfield.
But in the three practices that followed, Lynch improved. He closed his work Saturday by driving the third-team offense to a touchdown in a move-the-ball period against the No. 3 defense, hitting rookie Kalif Raymond for a 39-yard grab to end practice.
A day later and with his confidence growing, Lynch uncorked three deep completions to rookie receivers. Monday's red-zone intensive work was a bit rougher, but he looked increasingly comfortable in the pocket and ended the day with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor.
Moments later, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was effusive in his praise of Lynch's progress.
"I think the competition is excellent. I think one of the things for sure, is No. 12 (Lynch) is really stepping up, Kubiak said. "He's making some progress.
"I think they are all doing a good job. I would say the young kid has just gotten better each and every day."
That's what they want to see from Lynch. It's clear that the Broncos see Lynch as their future. On Friday, he saw twice as many seven-on-seven repetitions as Sanchez and Siemian, as he and the third-teamers went to a second field to get extra work.
A day later, Lynch got the first chance to drive the team in a game-condition situation with his touchdown march Saturday.
Early signs continue to point to Sanchez or Siemian winning the job. Sanchez has been the steadiest, although he had a rough Monday practice punctuated by an end-zone interception thrown to second-year cornerback Lorenzo Doss.
"We can't do that," Kubiak said.
But another thing the Broncos likely can't do - and don't want to, either - is make a decision too soon.
"I think we are going to get a clear picture when we open (the first preseason game)," said offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. "We are just going to take our time, let that thing sort out. I think we have plenty of patience. Let's let them play some games, let's let them lead."
And let's also see how the repetitions shake out as the Broncos return from their one-day break.
NOTES: Offensive lineman Sam Brenner is in the league's post-concussion protocol after suffering a concussion during Sunday's practice. Brenner was hit twice on a play and lay face-down on the field for several minutes before being carted off. ... Nose tackle Sylvester Williams returned from a shoulder injury to practice Monday. Williams sat out Saturday and Sunday because of the injury and said he felt "good" after returning to the field. ... Tight end John Phillips had his ankle rolled on Saturday and has not practiced since then. Phillips was signed to provide depth after Manasseh Garner was placed on the waived/non-football illness list following an emergency appendectomy. ... Guard Connor McGovern saw first-team work at right guard Tuesday because of the injuries to Brenner and Ty Sambrailo. McGovern, the Broncos' fifth-round pick this year, has position flexibility to play any spot on the line, but will work at guard this year. ... Outside linebacker Von Miller has been brought along gradually, seeing limited team and nine-on-seven work the last two days. Kubiak expects him to be up to full speed later this week.