The reaction from the crowd late in the third quarter capped a difficult week for Lynch, who fell behind former seventh-round pick Chad Kelly for third on the team’s quarterback depth chart. Offseason acquisition Case Keenum is atop the pecking order for the Broncos.
“When I first got the news, I was pretty upset about it because I know how hard I work, I know how bad I want to play and I know how much this means to me,” Lynch told reporters after Saturday’s game against the Bears. “Sometimes you go through tough tests just to take you to a whole other level. I’m taking it that way and working my butt off. I’m just working hard and trying to get that opportunity and just play well.
“You come out here and sometimes it doesn’t go your way and you get frustrated, but you can’t because you have to keep moving forward.”
While Lynch did not address the reaction after completing 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards and two sacks in the team’s 24-23 setback, Broncos coach Vance Joseph shed light on the topic after what he heard from the crowd.
“I feel bad for Paxton, but our fans want to win,” Joseph said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about passion, I should say. But I feel bad for Paxton. He has to ignore it and go play. It’s professional football. No one is going to hold your hand, so he has to go out there and perform.”
Lynch, who was the 26th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, didn’t fare well in the first preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, either — completing 6 of 11 passes for 24 yards with an interception. He told reporters on Saturday that he has no problem motivating himself to get better.
“I want to be the (starting) quarterback,” Lynch said. “I don’t want to be a backup and I definitely don’t want to be third-string quarterback. The cards have been dealt to this point in time and I’m not quitting. I’ll never quit, my mom never quit, my dad never quit, my brother never quit, I’m never going to quit and I’m working hard.”
Keenum, who completed 8 of 13 passes for 78 yards, started 14 regular-season and both postseason games last season while leading the Vikings within one win of the Super Bowl. The former journeyman made $2 million on a one-year deal in 2017 before signing a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver in the offseason.
Lynch has posted a 1-3 mark in four career starts with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
The 6-foot-7, 244-pound Lynch has completed 79 of 128 passes for 792 yards in five career appearances.
Kelly, who was taken with the last pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, completed 14 of 21 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against the Vikings. He followed that up by completing 7 of 9 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.