Manning has been sidelined since midway through the third quarter of Denver’s 29-13 week 10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Following that game, it was announced that Manning had been dealing with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and backup Brock Osweiler was placed into the starting lineup in place of the 39-year-old.
Following the loss to Kansas City, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak told Denver media that Manning would be the team’s starting quarterback when healthy. “Peyton’s our quarterback,” Kubiak said at that time. “If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peyton’s our quarterback.”
However, Kubiak’s tone seemed to change following the Broncos 17-15 victory over the Chicago Bears wherein Osweiler threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns en route to claiming his first career AFC Player of the Week Award. “He did his job, did a heck of a job,” Kubiak said of Osweiler. “I’m very proud of him, he was ready to go.”
Despite inconspicuous circumstances, Manning is handling his time away from the field well. He has been an active participant in game planning for the Broncos upcoming showdown with long-time rival Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots Sources say Manning has spoken with Osweiler multiple times about the tendencies of head coach Bill Belichick and will likely be in the coach’s box during the game to assist in any way he can.
Kubiak even acknowledged Manning’s efforts during his final pre-game press availability on Friday. “He’s been much involved and very engaged in the game plan,” Kubiak said.
The Broncos have publicly announced plans to sit Manning out for 2-3 more weeks before re-evaluating his health and their quarterback situation prior to either the Broncos home game against the Oakland Raiders or their trip to Heinz Field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yet, according to sources close to the situation, some at Dove Valley doubt Manning will see the field again this season. “They’re giving Brock a nice extended audition,” one source tells Mile High Huddle. “If he succeeds, Peyton won’t play here again.”
A report released Sunday morning from CBS Sports’ NFL insider Jason La Canfora seems to verify that information, and indicate that Manning isn’t interested in riding the bench much longer. “He’s not going to go quietly,” another source told La Canfora. “He’s going to have to be dealt with.”
It is clear that Manning has every intention of playing again in 2015. However, if Osweiler continues to play well, his time in Denver very well could be over.