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  • Chad Kelly has a tenuous hold on the No. 2 quarterback job in Denver Jake Ryan Jersey , and not because Paxton Lynch is making a push to regain the gig he lost to him this summer.

     

    Kelly gets one more shot at showing he's a worthy backup to starter Case Keenum when he starts the Broncos' final preseason game Thursday night at Arizona.

    Although he's won over Broncos fans with a stellar summer, Kelly still has to convince general manager John Elway that it's not necessary to scour the waiver wire for a more seasoned backup QB.

    With Saturday's cut-down deadline looming, Elway has some big decisions to make at quarterback:

    鈥擨s Kelly, who spent his rookie season on IR last year, ready to step in if needed after getting precious few snaps with the starters?

    鈥擜nd is it finally time to give up on the underachieving Lynch?

    Elway moved up to grab Lynch with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. But the former Memphis QB was leapfrogged by Kelly this summer after failing to beat out another seventh-rounder, Trevor Siemian, for the starting job each of the last two summers.

    Lynch is 1-3 in his NFL career and has regressed this summer. Last week at Washington, he was 3-of-7 for 39 yards against the Redskins' third-stringers.

    The Broncos solved one quarterback conundrum by signing Keenum in free agency, but they're facing another as the preseason winds down.

    "I would say right now Chad's our 2 and he's earned it. Right now, Paxton's our 3," coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday. "Obviously, we have a game to play on Thursday night. We'll see after that how it shakes. But as we sit here now, Chad's the 2 and Paxton's the 3 and Case is the 1."

    Joseph, however, declined to speculate about the possibility of Lynch getting cut if that order remains in place.

    "Those decisions are made over the weekend http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/kelvin-benjamin-jersey ," Joseph said. "We're going to play this game on Thursday and have our staff and personnel meetings on Friday and Saturday and determine what's best for the Broncos. That's all I can tell you about that."

    Kelly insisted he wasn't worried about his standing, saying he's just excited about starting his first game since lining up one last time for Ole Miss in 2016.

    "I'm looking at it to get better. I get to go out there the first series of the whole game and prove myself," Kelly said. "... This is the last interview you have before the regular season starts and they break it down to 53 men."

    Lynch said he wasn't fretting over his football future, either.

    "I'm not worried about anything past the next day, which is tomorrow, we come out here and have our practice and then travel to Arizona and then have our meetings there. That's what I'm focused on. I'm focused on going out and playing well on Thursday," he said.

    Lynch reiterated his hope of sticking with the Broncos, however.

    "Absolutely, I love it here," he said. "I've said that since Day 1, I wanted to be The Guy here. I've gone through some things. I've struggled. I haven't played well at times. And at times I have played well and I've just got to find that consistency of constantly playing well and I know I can get there."

    Lynch said he can absolutely find that consistency on the scout team.

    "If you get a chance to get reps out there, you can find a way to get better and especially against our defense," Lynch said. "You know those guys are going to challenge you every day, so you can always work your craft."

    Lynch created a bit of stir last weekend when he posted a photo on social media of a "For Sale" sign, leading to speculation he was already preparing to leave Denver.

    Turns out his girlfriend is a real estate agent.

    "On my day off I was with my girlfriend and we were down in the Cherry Creek area and that's where she has some houses listed and I just took a picture of it Eddie Jackson Jersey ," Lynch said. "I was proud of her. I'd never seen her name on a sign like that, so I just took a picture of it and it kind of got blown up a little bit."

    Notes: ILB Jerrol Garcia-Williams was carted off the field after sustaining a knee injury during 1-on-1 drills.

    The Anaheim Ducks will have plenty of reasons to be proud of their yearlong resilience and late-season determination to make the playoffs after an incredible stretch of early-season injury woes.

     

    They’ll also have plenty of time to reflect on those achievements during an extra-long summer for a team that couldn’t put it together in the postseason.

    The Ducks began the process of breaking up for the offseason this weekend after the San Jose Sharks completed a four-game sweep of their first-round series.

    ”There’s a numbness that’s kind of subsiding now,” coach Randy Carlyle said. ”After the run and the season-long trials and tribulations that you go through, you get to the playoffs and win out and get second place in the division, and four games later, a week later, you’re out of it, which is really numbing.”

    Anaheim had made the Western Conference finals in two of the previous three seasons, and its six consecutive playoff berths constitute the second-longest active streak in the NHL. The Ducks finished with their fifth consecutive 100-point season – the league’s longest active streak – and went 10-1-1 with five straight victories to close the regular season, even surging into second place in the Pacific Division.

    But the Ducks’ streak of five straight Pacific titles ended, and then their season ended in embarrassing fashion.

    The Ducks made the playoffs for the 11th time in 13 seasons, but perhaps they simply ran out of steam. Their mad dash to reach the postseason was necessitated by the slow start caused by the club’s numerous injury problems during the first half. Their top two centers – Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf – missed huge chunks of early play, while goal-scoring forward Patrick Eaves never suited up all year because of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

    ”The adversity that we faced this year was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, especially at the start of the year,” said top defenseman Cam Fowler http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/marcus-murphy-jersey , who missed the playoffs with a shoulder injury. ”We grinded it out, and to get to the 100-point mark was fantastic. But at the end of the day, you have to make a name for yourself come playoff time, and unfortunately we didn’t do that this year.”

    Once the Ducks get over the hurt, they’ll evaluate the core of talent that remains in Anaheim after years of contention. General manager Bob Murray will have to decide whether that core is championship-caliber when healthy or whether it’s time to break up one of the NHL’s most consistent winners.

    Here are more things to know as the Ducks head into a long offseason:

    MORE SPEED

    Murray is among the observers who think the Ducks simply don’t play fast enough to compete optimally in the modern NHL. The Ducks’ heavy, punishing style of play under Carlyle has won plenty of games over the past two years, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in a series with the Sharks, who aren’t even the fastest team around. Carlyle will be back next season to make the necessary changes, Murray confirmed. How much of the Ducks’ core returns will be up to Murray, who has built and rebuilt the franchise around Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who will both turn 33 next month.

    BEAUCH BYE

    Defenseman Francois Beauchemin says he is retiring after spending the past 13 seasons in the NHL, including three separate stints with Anaheim. His departure removes another link to the Ducks’ championship season, although Getzlaf, Perry and Carlyle are still around.

    BIEKSA NOT BACK

    Veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa also indicated he is unlikely to return after three seasons. He was disappointed with his lack of playoff action after returning from hand surgery. The Ducks’ once-incredible depth on defense has been taxed in the past year with the expansion draft-related departures of Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner and the trade of Sami Vatanen to New Jersey for Adam Henrique. Murray will need to reload the Ducks’ blue line, with prospects Jacob Larsson Eddie Goldman Jersey , Marcus Pettersson and Andy Welinski likely getting shots at a full-time job.

    EAVES RETURN

    The season-long loss of Eaves was a huge setback, but the Ducks are optimistic their heavily bearded forward will return in the fall. Eaves also had recent shoulder surgery and will turn 34 next month, but he has been the type of consistent goal scorer the Ducks lacked. He would also provide veteran leadership after the possible departures of Beauchemin, Bieksa, Antoine Vermette, Jason Chimera and others.

    OFFSEASON LISTS

    Most of the Ducks’ core is locked up through next season or beyond, including Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, leading scorer Rickard Rakell, Andrew Cogliano, Fowler and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Anaheim has several key restricted free agents: Nick Ritchie, 20-goal scorer Ondrej Kase and defensemen Brandon Montour and Welinski.

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