Brock Osweiler has been declared the starter for the Denver Broncos in an incredibly important game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and Peyton Manning isn't even going to be active for the contest. His future in the game, however, depends heavily on a workout today at the Denver Broncos practice facility. Manning remains sidelined with a torn plantar fascia and his return is extremely questionable at this point.
Manning returned to practice last week, but only for two days. He was ruled out against the Steelers. They present a real challenge to Osweiler and the Broncos, so it will take a better performance than the quarterback gave his team last week in order to walk away with a win.
Back up quarterbacks square off on Monday Night Football as AJ McCarron leads the Cincinnati Bengals against Brock Osweiler and the Denver Broncos.
Let's look at the tape to see what I mean.
Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler throws a pass during drills at an NFL football practice Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo.
"They were all good workouts this week", Kubiak said. Denver held the Raiders to -12 (yes, negative 12) yards in the first half but Khalil Mackclimbed into Osweiler's kitchen in the second half and made a mess, sacking him five times.
It will not be easy against a Bengals defense that is top in the league in points allowed and top ten in yards allowed per game.
It's also a facet to the Broncos offense with Osweiler under center that is featured often. "You get a chance to play for something".
_Split the final two games and earn a wild-card berth (if Kansas City wins out; and the New York Jets and Pittsburgh lose at least one of their four remaining games). If the Broncos hand the Bengals their fouth loss and both teams finish the season with idential records, the Broncos would get the bye by virtue of the head-to-head win.
Another notable difference in the overall scheme with Osweiler is Denver's use of him directly under center. Manning has not participated in a full practice since November 13. They've been outscored 36-0 in the second half of this month's games, including a 21-0 deficit in Pittsburgh last weekend.