ENGLEWOOD, COLO. >> Coach Gary Kubiak named Trevor Siemian the starter for the Broncos' third preseason game over Mark Sanchez and said he will decide next week who will be under center against Carolina for the season opener on Sept. 8.
"It's down to the nitty gritty here," Kubiak said. "I don't have to but I'm going to make a decision next week and we're going to go to work. I've seen a lot of football from them. We're going to go again this week and we'll make a decision next week."
Kubiak said Siemian, Sanchez and rookie Paxton Lynch will play an equal amount Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams.
Siemian and Sanchez ended training camp sharing the No. 1 quarterback spot on the team depth chart but neither has been able to claim the job outright. Both struggled with turnovers in Saturday's 31-24 loss to San Francisco.
Siemian was 10 of 14 for 75 yards but threw an interception that was picked off by Ed Reid and returned 42 yards for a touchdown.
"I thought Trevor did a good job the other night," Kubiak said. "Obviously there's one play he'd like to have back or it would have been as good as it could be. I'm going to give him a chance to do that again."
Kubiak said Siemian took a shot to his shoulder trying to make a tackle on the play. He said the sore shoulder shouldn't prevent him from practicing Tuesday or playing Saturday.
Sanchez is the only quarterback on the staff with meaningful regular season experience but he struggled after relieving Siemian on Saturday night. He led the Broncos to a field goal but was sacked three times and fumbled twice. He was 10 of 17 for 120 yards and was nearly picked off by cornerback Chris Davis.
"I squandered a great opportunity to separate myself and put the team in a bad situation," Sanchez said after the game. "No excuse for that. Poor, poor quarterbacking play."
The Broncos traded for Sanchez after Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler signed with Houston. Denver was hoping to avoid the uncertainty that persisted last year between Manning and Osweiler. Osweiler started seven games when Manning was out with a foot injury, but Manning came on in the season finale to rally the Broncos past San Diego and secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Manning was named the starter for the postseason and led the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory behind a dominant defense.
The drama of 2015 has helped the players deal with the quarterback battle in training camp.
"A lot of guys were here last year and we dealt with the situation last year," tight end Virgil Green said. "We made it work."
Kubiak said he isn't surprised the battle has lasted through training camp and deep into the preseason.
"I knew this was going to take some time," he said.
The Broncos also got stronger on defense with the return of linebacker DeMarcus Ware. Ware came off the non-football/injury list Monday and is expected to take part in practice Tuesday.
Ware missed training camp while dealing with a back injury that kept him out of five games in 2015.
NOTES: Kubiak said CB Aqib Talib will make his preseason debut Saturday. ... The Broncos signed DL Henry Melton and waived OL Sam Carlson. ... LB Corey Nelson suffered a sprained wrist against the 49ers but is expected to play Saturday. ... TE Jeff Heuerman (hamstring) is day to day but Kubiak didn't know if he would play Saturday. ... CB Taurean Nixon and S Ryan Murphy are expected to return to practice Tuesday. ... Kubiak had no update on OL Darrion Weems, who left Saturday's game with a concussion.