It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Brock Osweiler has one of the most fortunate situations in professional sports.
Osweiler gets to apprentice under one of the greatest of all time, in Peyton Manning.
He’s been taken in hand by the likes of John Elway, Mike McCoy, Adam Gase, Manning, and now Greg Knapp, with Knapp being one of the best in the business of developing quarterbacks. Brock’s being paid millions to soak in every drop of knowledge about the position that exists. It’s an enviable circumstance.
Via Andrew Mason, for the team site:
"This year, the biggest difference, I would say, is that I know how to study now. And when you know how to study, you can translate that to the field and you're not out there thinking as much, and you are able to just play on instincts," Osweiler said. "Now I'm not going to say I've perfected that, because I haven't by any means. But it definitely has helped me out a lot of the time, as far as quickening up my reads, understanding where the ball needs to go, understanding the protections -- am I hot this time? Is there a sight adjustment? -- where last year, at times, everything was a million miles per hour. So things have definitely slowed down. Things make a little more sense, which in turn has just allowed me to play like I can."
Osweiler learned how to study -- and more -- by observing Manning.
"I watch everything he does. From our quarterback meeting room to the team meeting room to the weight room to the practice field, games, in the locker room, pregame, shoot, I even watch what he would do as far as signing autographs pregame at a hotel -- would he or would he not? -- certain things like that," Osweiler said.”
What I love about it is the story - that Elway, McCoy, Gase, and John Fox all mutually decided that this was a guy with all of the things that you want, cerebrally and emotionally, along with the underlying physical tools that an elite QB has to have. The tools were far from a finished product, nor was he expected to step into a starting position for as many years as possible.
Osweiler was considered quite simply as high quality raw material. He has been given the benefit of the best coaching, mentoring, and development that a team can provide (Elway’s talent of going the extra mile for his players is a consistent reason to love what’s happened to a storied franchise). The stories of his improvement can be dismissed as boilerplate, but given the truth of the rest of the changes in the franchise, I tend to believe that he’s shown some improvement. How substantial it is, we’ll get to see soon.
There are two things that I appreciate in this. The first is that Osweiler has taken to his role with the vigor of a man who intends to earn his next position, not inherit it. His comment on June 7 was typical: he said he expects to be prepared to compete for the starting job. There’s no sense of entitlement there. He’s ostensibly improved his mechanics noticeably, and more than that, he’s learning how to study. That may be the most important thing he can do at this stage.
I taught from about 1976 to 2002, as well as doing other things. Of all of them, teaching at the physician level was what I enjoyed the most. I was taught how to teach by one of the finest teachers I’ve ever known. One of the things that I came to realize was that most students have no real idea how to study. The ones who do aren’t always the smartest people in the class, but they are consistently the most successful. Osweiler has been learning how to learn, and he’s being tutored in every phase of his job by some of the best the league has to offer. Combine that with a reportedly Manning-esque sense of the drive to be perfect, and you have a great match between student and system.
If Osweiler didn’t have the nascent traits of a winning NFL QB, I don’t believe that he would have been chosen by a group of experts of that level. I know - it’s a choice fraught with perils and with a historically low level of success at predicting a given player’s development, so I don’t say this lightly.
At the same time, let’s consider the facts: it’s a unique situation. Not a lot of GMs and OCs get to analyze film, mechanics, and technique with one of the GOATs, to project a player for the future. Elway also grew up with scouting via his father. JE has thrown himself into learning about the scouting field with his usual sense of purpose, and I honestly doubt that many people in the business know more than he does about the details of successful QBs. Adam Gase has been fast-tracked by this organization for his aptitude in teaching and his comprehension of offensive principles. Mike McCoy has a solid reputation in this area. You don’t put that kind of talent together every day.
It’s always a longshot, but I like the odds of this team being able to model this particular candidate by this particular group of individuals. Having the opportunity to follow Manning, learn his level of effort, seeing what it takes to achieve that degree of greatness rounds out the chance of a lifetime. There’s no question that there’s a lot riding on the outcome.
It sounds so far like he recognizes and responds well to that. I hope we don’t see him in the regular season for another three or more years: by then he’ll be as well prepared for the role he faces as any quarterback could hope to be. Amid the enjoyably glowing reports, I’ll look forward to seeing what he can actually show on the field this preseason.