Peyton Manning rests, so backup QB Brock Osweiler gets chance with starters

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Until now folks never told Brock Osweiler there would be days like these.

No, until Monday the life of the Denver Broncos backup quarterback was to pretty much watch Peyton Manning do his thing at a Hall of Fame level every day while picking up a smattering of snaps along the way.

But Broncos coach Gary Kubiak is intent on getting Manning, as well as some of the team's other veteran players, some occasional rest. Kubiak is also intent on seeing if Osweiler can function at a starter's level on days when Kubiak wants him to run the offense.

"It's something that I've thought about ever since I've been drafted," Osweiler said after Monday’s practice. "You grow up dreaming of playing in the National Football League. Just to have the opportunity to be here -- obviously, you want to be out on the field playing -- but as you all know, I came into a very special situation. The one thing I've done on a daily basis is made sure that I've made the most of that situation, soaking in what I can get from Peyton while he's here. I'm sure my time will come at some point in time and I'll be ready for that."

Kubiak said Monday would be "Brock’s day," and indeed it was. Osweiler, with Manning in a visor standing off to the side, was behind center with the starting offense. While starting guard Louis Vasquez and tight end Owen Daniels were also given the day off, Osweiler still had wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and running back C.J. Anderson in the formation.

Osweiler had his requisite ups and downs in the workout as the team continues to work on the new offense, but Kubiak said he liked how Osweiler moved the team in some team drills near the end of practice.

The Broncos were working through various scenarios, including some long-yardage situations, when the team needed a first down.

"I thought he did good," Kubiak said. "You know we had our longest practice, probably, so far and we had a lot of competitive situations, especially late in practice. He pushed his group and made some plays at the end ... I just think you want to see him run the team."

Osweiler was the Broncos' second-round pick in the 2012 draft, the same year they signed Manning to a five-year deal in free agency. At the time the Broncos wanted some insurance as Manning returned from a missed season after neck surgery.

At the time Osweiler was just 21 years old and the youngest quarterback in the draft. The Broncos initially thought that Osweiler's delivery was a little too side-armed at times, but Osweiler threw more over the top at his pro day and has continued to do that since.

When his accuracy does waver in practice, it's because he'll drop his release point slightly. Kubiak has said he wants Osweiler to improve his footwork in the team's offense, which does require the quarterback to often throw on the move.

"You read with your feet, you make decisions off what your feet are doing," Kubiak said. "That's a little different than what he's been doing, I think when his feet are good he plays good, his decisions are good, he throws the ball more accurately."

"We had similar things last year," Osweiler said. "I think what coach is saying is he coaches us as far as, OK, five (steps then) plant, ball should be going here. If you take one hitch, ball should be going here. If you take two hitches, ball should be going here. That's kind of how he builds his offense."

Osweiler, whose contract is up at the end of the season, figures to get more days like Monday in the preseason, and Kubiak has said the Broncos will consider resting Manning at times in the regular season as well.

"I'm approaching everything the same exact way," Osweiler said. "To be honest with you, I haven't put too much thought into (a contract). I'm just out here, once again, trying to learn the new scheme and be the best player that I can possibly be this year for the Broncos and we'll see what happens next year when that comes up."

"(It was) a good step, lot of reps for him and that’s what he needs," Kubiak said.