Stepping back into a backup role isn’t something the 25-year-old quarterback is happy about.
Decision to start Manning won’t stop his backup from being ready
The Broncos don’t want Brock Osweiler happy being a backup quarterback. And he isn’t.
Osweiler’s competitiveness was part of why the Broncos drafted him, and it emerged again when he was passed over for Peyton Manning as Denver’s playoff starter.
Coach Gary Kubiak called Osweiler into his office Thursday morning to tell him the news.
“It was a little bit of disappointment as a competitor,” Osweiler said. “As someone who loves being on the field with his teammates, it’s hard to hear that you’re not going to be the one playing.”
Osweiler wasn’t surprised that Kubiak chose Manning, but that didn’t make the decision any easier to swallow. This move was expected. “The starting quarterback is back and healthy,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “It’s time for him to get his job back.”
Every time a Broncos player mentioned Manning on Thursday, he quickly followed that with a comment about Osweiler leading the team late in the season.
It’s the time of the year when everyone is banged up. Manning has the left foot injury that opened the door for Osweiler to start seven games. Osweiler has a sprained right knee that caused him to miss practice Thursday and will again Friday. Kubiak knows he might need both quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl.
“If anybody knows that you need to be prepared regardless of the situation, that’s me,” said Osweiler, 25. “I’ve lived that for 3½ years. I will be prepared to play next Sunday. I will prepare like I was the starter.”
Osweiler went 5-2 in his starts while Manning was injured, including home victories over the Patriots and Bengals, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the AFC.
He completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,967 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.
“We think the world of Brock,” Kubiak said. “He’s played extremely well in some tough situations.”
The Broncos committed five turnovers in the regular-season finale Sunday against San Diego, all with Osweiler at quarterback.
Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson lost fumbles. Osweiler threw two interceptions, but one bounced off the hands of wide receiver Jordan Norwood into the arms of Chargers cornerback Steve Williams. Osweiler’s second interception came on a protection bust by offensive tackle Michael Schofield that allowed the Chargers’ Melvin Ingram to hit Osweiler’s arm while he was attempting a deep pass intended for wideout Demaryius Thomas.
Osweiler said it’s easy to wonder whether he would still be the starter with fewer turnovers.
“Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Who knows? But at the end of the day, facts are facts,” Osweiler said. “I didn’t finish the game. Peyton is going to start in the playoffs, and that’s something I support 100 percent.”
Former second-round pick Brock Osweiler went 5-2 while starting Denver’s last seven games of the regular season. “Peyton (Manning) is going to start in the playoffs,” Osweiler says, “and that’s something I support 100 percent.” Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post