Brock Osweiler (right), once the likely successor to Peyton Manning, has returned to being the Broncos’ starter at QB (AP/Joe Mahoney)
The Denver Broncos have chosen quarterback Brock Osweiler to start Sunday at Philadelphia, Coach Vance Joseph informed his team Wednesday.
That’s a sure sign that things are bad and times are desperate.
Let’s review Osweiler’s recent history:
He made seven starts for the Broncos in 2015, when Peyton Manning’s body was betraying him during his final NFL season. But Gary Kubiak, then the team’s coach, went back to Manning for the playoffs, and Manning stood watch over the offense while the dominant Denver defense led the Broncos to a Super Bowl title. Manning waved farewell to the sport and retired, and Osweiler was the heir apparent.
But he reportedly was not all that pleased about being pbaded over during the postseason. The Broncos had to use their franchise-player tag on Von Miller instead of Osweiler and didn’t want to break the bank to re-sign Osweiler. He exited in free agency to sign an $18 million-per-season deal with the Houston Texans. He lasted only one miserable, 16-interception season in Houston before the Texans traded him to Cleveland in March simply to be rid of his contract. Even the quarterback-starved Browns didn’t want him. He was released in September and ended up back in Denver, stuck between reigning starter Trevor Siemian and presumptive future starter Paxton Lynch.
Yes, that Brock Osweiler. And now he’s back to being the Broncos’ starter.
Osweiler re-ascends to the starting job in Denver at a time when the Broncos’ season is coming unraveled. They have lost three straight games to turn a promising 3-1 start into a 3-4 crisis. Siemian, the former seventh-round draft choice who had moments of competence last season, is being benched now with nine touchdown pbades, 10 interceptions and a homely pbader rating of 76.8. He has thrown six interceptions in the past three games.
Lynch, a first-round draft pick last year, is returning from a shoulder injury and was not considered as Joseph made this Siemian-or-Osweiler decision. The Broncos’ season could be on the line Sunday against the Eagles, who possess the NFL’s best record at 7-1.
The Broncos’ quarterback situation has been a mess since Manning’s final season. Osweiler left. Siemian hasn’t worked out. Lynch hasn’t become a starter yet. Tony Romo opted for retirement and the CBS broadcast booth last offseason instead of landing in Denver or Houston. That has not been a problem for the Texans, who have found a star-in-the-making in rookie Deshaun Watson. It has been quite an issue for the Broncos.
[The Eagles were the NFC’s No. 1 team. They got better with the Jay Ajayi trade]
John Elway has become terrific front office executive for the Broncos after being a Hall of Fame quarterback for the franchise. Elway lured Manning to Denver and won a Super Bowl with him. Elway gets the benefit of every doubt and pretty much has a lifetime free pbad. But he has not fixed this quarterback situation. Maybe if Osweiler had never left, things would have turned out very differently for both him and the Broncos. Perhaps he would have been a reliable quarterback in Denver, and the transition from Manning to him would have been relatively seamless. There’s no way of knowing now.
Lynch is supposed to be the solution. The Broncos traded up to get him in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. He is big and athletic. He is the quarterback that the Dallas Cowboys really wanted before settling for Dak Prescott in the fourth round. Prescott has become a star. Lynch is not yet a starter, and the Broncos are turning back to Osweiler to try to save their season.
The defense is still very, very good. The Broncos lead the league in total defense. They need some help from their quarterback.
Is there any chance that Osweiler actually could play well and be the answer at quarterback for the Broncos? Perhaps. Crazier things have happened.
Okay, crazier things may have happened.
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