Here's a fun idea for the upcoming season from longtime reader c_style:
What do you guys think about the idea of benching Peyton for 8 games of the season under these specific conditions:
1) Peyton comes in if Brock gets hurt
2) Peyton comes in if the playoffs are in doubt
3) Ideally Peyton comes in with 4 games left in the season to tune up for the playoffs
I realize this would be highly unconventional and would have to be green-lighted by Peyton himself but this would solve all of our biggest concerns. Peyton would be rested and playing at his early season high level come playoff time. We would get to see Brock in action before making a decision on whether to re-sign him or not.
Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures which we face with Peyton at this stage in his career.
I see a few significant reasons why this won't happen:
1. Peyton is a control freak, a workaholic, and one of the GOATs. There's just no way he'd go for this.
2. How would you split the practice reps?
3. What kind of setup would that be for Brock? The poor kid is already going to face enough pressure if and when he takes over after Manning's retirement. To also have Peyton peering over his shoulder would dial up the heat to unbearable levels, and that's not even accounting for the DP headlines, tweets, sports radio chatter, and chants at SAF@MH.
4. So, what happens if the Broncos win a whole bunch of games, but Osweiler doesn't play all that well? Will the Broncos have learned anything? Would it then be weird to say, "Everything's fine, we're 6-2, but now we're switching quarterbacks"?
5. Lastly, I think Manning and Osweiler are going to run two different offenses under Gary Kubiak.* Sure, Kubes will provide some tweaks to the Manning Offense this year, if Peyton does come back. However, if Peyton retires, I think we're going to see a completely different offense. If this is the case, then you're asking Brock to prove himself in an offense not tailored to his strengths, and you're asking the other players to learn multiple schemes within a season, during which you're expecting to compete for a Super Bowl.
If Manning is coming back, it's going to be his offense, and his team. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised to see Denver extend Osweiler sometime in the next eight or nine months. Remember - almost every NFL contract is a series of one-year team options (this is especially so with the Broncos, who structure their deals very wisely), and Brock isn't going to command a lot of guaranteed money - not from the Broncos, and not from any other teams. The Broncos can lock Osweiler up, and when it's time for him to play, he'll play, and they'll see what they've got. But there's no way they're going to be tied to him financially for the long-term; at least, not until he's proven his worth.
As always, thanks for the great question, c_style, and keep them coming!
* FWIW, I've always thought the Broncos would run a different offense once Manning retired, even if Osweiler has been studying it for the entirety of his NFL career. There's only one person who runs the Manning Offense, and that's Peyton Manning. This, to me, is the second most important reason we shouldn't judge Brock on his limited NFL play. The first, of course, would be the tiny sample size.