Lost in the madness around the Al Jazeera report that links Peyton Manning to shipments of HGH is that the Denver Broncos still have a big decision looming.
For the last five games, the Broncos have started Brock Osweiler at quarterback while Peyton Manning recovered from a torn plantar fascia.
During that stretch, Denver has gone 3-2, leaving some to wonder who the Broncos would roll with once Manning returned to full health.
According to a report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, it sounds like the Broncos are going to stick with Osweiler.
Glazer said during Fox’s Week 16 NFL coverage, “This is now Brock Osweiler’s team. Brock Osweiler has a grade-two separated shoulder, yet he is the guy.
“I think John Elway is helping make that decision. So much so that when Peyton Manning is practicing, he’s not even with the rest of the team, so as not to be a distraction. This is Brock Osweiler’s team the rest of the way, barring some sort of collapse.”
Glazer noted that going into Week 16, there was talk that if Manning was healthy, he could get the start on Monday vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, but that was “put on hold.”
Osweiler has been steady as a starter for the Broncos, completing 61% of his passes for seven touchdowns and three interceptions. That latter number may be critical to the Broncos, as Peyton was a turnover machine as a starter, throwing 17 interceptions in just nine games this season.
Furthermore, Osweiler’s presence and fit in Gary Kubiak’s offence seems to have improved the run game, if only marginally. While the Broncos have been affected by another injury to running back C.J. Anderson, in Osweiler’s first two starts, Anderson and running back Ronnie Hillman combined for 333 rushing yards, which gave the Broncos a much-needed offensive boost. If both are healthy again, the Broncos should see an uptick in their run game.
However, it’s worth wondering how strong the support for Osweiler is. The Broncos are going into a critical Week 16 game against an AFC opponent in the Bengals. If Osweiler struggles and the Broncos lose, that will make it three straight losses under Osweiler heading into the final week of the season. It would be seemingly tempting to trot Manning out as starter in Week 17, if he’s healthy, just to see what he has.
For now, the job appears to be Osweiler’s even as Manning says he’s getting closer to practicing. Even with reported front-office support, there is still pressure on Osweiler to perform Monday night with Manning’s return drawing closer.
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