LANDOVER, Md. -- Unless there is a late change of heart, the Denver Broncos are expected to start Brock Osweiler at quarterback Sunday against the Washington Redskins, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Legwold.
It would be Osweiler's fourth start of the season and conclude a week in limbo for the Broncos at the position. Coach Vance Joseph said through the week that Osweiler and Paxton Lynch had split the work with the starting offense "half and half,'' as the Broncos wanted to evaluate Lynch's recovery from an ankle injury that he suffered in his only start of the season -- Nov. 26 against the Oakland Raiders.
Lynch had not practiced since the injury until he took part in Wednesday's workout. Lynch was then officially listed as limited in all three of the team's practices and the Broncos had a workout Saturday at their complex before leaving for the Washington D.C. area.
The Broncos coaches had met Friday afternoon and largely made the decision Osweiler would likely start Sunday's game, given that Lynch still had some issues with the ankle. Lynch could be seen favoring the ankle in practice at times, especially when he worked under center during the open periods of practice.
"We had a good day (Friday),'' Joseph had said after Friday's practice. "I think Paxton is about 90 percent, he's practiced all week ... We're close, obviously we're close.''
No matter who starts and plays at quarterback against the Redskins, they will have a limited group of receivers to throw to given the Broncos also downgraded wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh) to "out'' on Saturday. Neither Sanders nor Latimer made the trip with the team after they were evaluated by the Broncos' medical staff Saturday.
Another Osweiler start would also mean the Broncos have just one game remaining -- the regular-season finale New Year's Eve against the Kansas City Chiefs to get Lynch another start. Joseph has said repeatedly the Broncos want to see Lynch behind center before the end of the season given the position is one of the biggest decisions the team will make in the weeks and months to come.
Lynch's practice time has been limited for much of the season as he missed the first half of the season because of a shoulder injury he suffered against the Green Bay Packers in the preseason. And after he briefly returned to make the start against the Raiders, he had not practiced because of his ankle injury until this week.
Joseph has said Lynch's ability to move around and to use his mobility to escape trouble would be a big part of the decision about whether to start him at some point in the final two games.
"Part of his game is his legs, so we don't want to put him out there if he can't use one of his best attributes,'' Joseph said.
Interim offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Friday: "Paxton's done a nice job working through his injury. There were plays I don't know he could have made on Wednesday, with his balance, his footwork ... It's tougher to throw with a lower body injury than it is with an upper body injury. If you have a chink in your foundation, that affects you more ... when your footwork is affected, whether it's stride length, left foot placement, balance, that's tougher on QBs.''
Osweiler, who is headed to free agency after the season, came into last Thursday night's win over the Indianapolis Colts in relief of an injured Trevor Siemian and was 12-of-17 passing for 194 yards with two touchdowns and he had an 18-yard rushing touchdown as well. The Broncos have started three different quarterbacks this season with Trevor Siemian having started 10 games to go with four for Osweiler (including Sunday against the Redskins) and one for Lynch.