When Aaron Rodgers sat behind the retirement-challenged Brett Favre, he was on the bench for three seasons, then went 6-10 his first year as a starter, before having an 11-5 season.
Rodgers has commented several times that his stint behind Favre did him immense good, since he had a chance to learn the NFL game, get used to the NFL speed and build his body into an NFL quarterback before starting.
He’s gone on to win nearly every award a QB can achieve.
Matt Cassel hadn’t started a game since high school when he was drafted in the seventh round by the New England Patriots. When Tom Brady went down in 2008, Cassel went on to a 10-5 record, earning himself a starter’s job with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He got back to 10-5 in 2010, but that was the extent of his winning ways. He’s never had another winning season.
Somewhere in the spectrum between those two QBs should lie the career of Brock Osweiler.
When Brock Osweiler goes 74 yards in four plays and scores a touchdown on his first series in Chicago, it brings up questions. Is this what he’s going to bring each series? His play-action is crisp. The offensive line has to improve, but that’s not on Brock (although he needs to get the ball out faster). In the end, the score was 17-15, Denver over Chicago.
Osweiler was 20-of-27 for 250 yards (219 net), 2 TD and zero INT for a 127.1 QB rating. The play of the defense was, once again, remarkable. At 4:28 left in the second quarter, Broncos safety David Bruton put his shoulder pads between Cameron Meredith’s ribs, took him off his feet and planted him in the turf.
That was the defensive attitude all day. They had nine passes defensed, to go with 49 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 QB hits. Jay Cutler didn’t have an easy day.
Here is the dilemma that Denver is in:
Peyton Manning may return this year — while his is a brutal medical problem in many cases, some people have healed in as little as two weeks. It depends on the extent of the ‘partial’ tear. ‘Partial’ can mean 5 percent or 75.
Gary Kubiak said last week that Denver will start Manning when he returns. I think that every coach would have to say publicly what Kubiak said at that point, but was likely his firmly-held current position, too. Kubiak doesn’t beat about the bush. However, on Monday, Kubiak was said they’d visit that when the time came.
Yet, in his private heart, it’s likely that Kubiak harbors thoughts on both sides. He has to be deeply concerned about what’s best for the franchise. Manning is the best of all-time in this sport, but Osweiler it the franchise’s future.
What I’ve seen of Osweiler in preseason is marred by the fact that you’re playing the later 'twos' and 'threes' by then, on both sides of the ball. I liked what I saw against Kansas City, though.
He had nothing but a ceaseless drive — there’s no quit in him. He seemed to run the huddle well — no one outside of it can truly say, but nothing unpleasant stood out. I liked what he brought to the game in Chicago even more. He looked comfortable and effective.
Realistically, Peyton has reached the point where he’s comparatively fragile. The OL isn’t predictable enough to know that he won’t take a lot of punishment.
Later in the last two seasons, he’s struggled with injuries. It’s just reality. You can’t absorb the punishment at 40 years old that you can at 30, much less at 20.
Brock has a very good arm and a nice, compact motion. In general, he’s thrown well. 20-27 receptions is a very good first game.
Brock got a lot of his reps along with players like Cody Latimer on the practice and preseason fields last summer. Emmanuel Sanders wouldn't be playing, so the Latimer connection came in handy. Latimer is a strong for a WR and he’s not hesitant to block. It helps Osweiler.
That showed in the Bears game. Ronnie Hillman was running with the scout team for a chunk of the seasons since Osweiler and he arrived. They also are familiar with each other. It helps.
Brock is just a better fit in this offense than Manning. Peyton hasn’t been able to change what he’s done for 19 years. Brock just has to slide into an offense that effectively fits his skill-set.
Given the contract situation, the lack of traction that Manning has gotten and Osweiler’s success (although it’s unlikely to be repeated against New England, it was a glimpse of things to come), it’s time to accept that injuries cause people to lose their starting job all the time.
Given what Osweiler’s showed, there’s no point in holding him back.
Peyton Manning has defined class, leadership and effort. He’s given the Broncos everything he could be asked to, and I’m grateful. It’s time for Denver to move on. There’s no shame in that.
Asking Osweiler to take the Broncos deeper into the playoffs is a tall order. But it gives the team the ability to determine what kind of monetary offer he deserves, and it gives Brock the chance to show his skill-set.
In the long run, that’s essential. I’ve heard that Manning has stated that he intends to play again somewhere next season. I wish him well. But it’s best for Denver to let him play that season elsewhere. There’s one thing I count on with John Elway:
He makes the decisions that are best for the team.
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