The NFL season doesn’t officially kick off for another six weeks, but for Brock Osweiler it starts right now.
The Kalispell product is in his fourth year as the backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and the former Flathead Brave is seeing more action — and scrutiny — than ever.
At practice on Aug. 3, he was slated to take snaps with the Broncos’ first-team starters as Peyton Manning took a scheduled day off.
Osweiler is also likely going to take the field quite a bit in Denver’s four preseason games, starting with a matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle Aug. 14. The Broncos also play at Houston, Aug 22; at home against San Francisco Aug. 29 and at home against Arizona on Sept. 3.
In each of those four preseason games, and during these practices, Osweiler will be under a microscope from fans, media and team officials who judge Osweiler’s prospects as the QB of the future in Denver, as general manager John Elway and others in the organization have prophesied since drafting the Arizona State junior in the second round in 2012.
In other words, these coming weeks are pivotal for Osweiler, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract as Manning, 39, enters what could be one of his last seasons.
Elway has said he plans to wait and see how Brock does during the preseason before the team inks anything further.
“We’re going to evaluate him through training camp and evaluate him through preseason,” Elway said in a Denver Post story published July 30. “He got a lot of reps this offseason and we saw what he could do in practice, so we’ll do the best we can to try to evaluate him. We’ll cross that road when we get there.
“I do feel good about Brock. I feel good about his progress and we’re fortunate in the fact that Peyton’s been able to play this long. To that respect, it’s been a positive. Obviously to Brock, it’s not been a positive because Brock hasn’t got the playing time, but Brock’s done a tremendous job handling the situation and continued to put his nose to the grindstone. He’s continued to work and that’s all he’s done, and I’m sure he’ll continue to do that. We will get something worked out with that later.”
Incoming head coach Gary Kubiak, who was a backup QB behind Elway in the 1990s, has expressed support for the young QB.
“I have the feeling of what it’s like to be that guy. So, there are a lot of things I can relate to (Osweiler), but I’ve been very impressed with him,” Kubiak said in an Associated Press story last week. “Work is not a problem. He likes to play and he wants to lead. So, that’s all you ask of a player.”
Osweiler has completed 17 of 30 passes in the NFL for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Update (2:30 p.m., Aug. 3): Click here to watch a video of Osweiler’s press conference after Monday’s practice.
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