Peyton Manning’s career is ending in a spectacular fashion, to say the least. The veteran quarterback showcased his waning strength and influence during the defeat at the hands of Kansas City Chiefs and was eventually replaced by 24-year-old Brock Osweiler, who gave a rather decent account of his skills.
It was a sad moment when Manning was benched, but then again, the writing had been on the wall for quite some time for a player who once demolished records at will, despite being in his late 30s and going under the knife on multiple occasions.
Manning is rapidly faltering. He is completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes. And although the numbers are quite damning for the future Hall of Famer, the biggest issue with Manning this season has been his inability to throw the ball down the field and his hesitance to absorb punishment in the pocket, which forces him to rush decisions and throws.
It turned out to be a good move when head coach Gary Kubiak decided to replace him for Osweiler, who has all the attributes the Denver Broncos coach desires in an ideal quarterback. Blessed with a strong arm, Osweiler can thrown from both inside and outside the pocket, and, in all honesty, he has everything Peyton Manning can no longer offer. Moreover, he could even prove to be a better fit for the team in Week 11. The starting spot is surely his to keep.
“You talk about a quarterback that is mobile, and that is what Gary Kubiak really wants in an offense,” Broncos legend Terrell Davis said on NFL Network’s NFLHQ. “I think Brock Osweiler can run the offense that Kubiak wants to run.”
During the preseason, Osweiler moved the ball with great ease, and in the game against the Chiefs, went 14 of 24 for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception. And although these stats may never be enough to best Manning, the Broncos don’t have other options, and the coaching staff knows that they cannot rely on a player who appears totally out of sorts this season.
Quarterbacks with great arm strength don’t need to throw with anticipation, since they can bank on placement and velocity to help the ball catch up. Osweiler may have a strong arm, but he has a laborious release, which slows his delivery and affects the impact of his velocity. For this reason, he cannot afford to throw without anticipation.
On simple plays, Osweiler made a pair of accurate throws, but questions remain over his decision-making and accuracy, which is why it might be too soon to consider him a perfect replacement for Manning. For instance, during the fourth quarter, he was put under pressure and chose to rush his throw downfield to avoid a sack. The pass was way off target and might have been easily intercepted if a defender had read the situation more quickly.
Such scenarios are where Osweiler will be evaluated. Unlike Manning, the youngster has to bank on a weak supporting cast. In terms of athletic ability, Osweiler is better than Manning, which should help open up the running game. However, running is a minimal addition for a side that is clearly lacking in talent up front to open up space for its backs.
The gravest concern for Kubiak and co. would not be Osweiler making the same mistakes as the veteran QB, but that he might not be able to offer the same positive plays Manning used to offer when on-point.