Editor's note: Moments after Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos to a comeback win over the San Diego Chargers, an already brewing quarterback controversy steamed over. The question: Who should start under center for Denver in its first playoff game, slated for Sunday, January 17: Peyton or Brock Osweiler, who won four of six games after taking over in November for an injured Manning? We'll explore both sides of the issue this week. Today, Brian Badzmierowski offers ten reasons why Brock should be the man.
10. He beat Brady
Manning’s career record versus Tom Brady is 5-11. Osweiler beat Brady in overtime this season, proving that he can stand toe-to-toe with Manning’s nemesis.
9. He deserves it
He’s gone 4-3 since taking over the team, but most important, he’s cut down on turnovers. There was no reason to pull him against the Chargers; the Broncos were only down six points, and the turnovers weren't his fault. Before he lost the job to Osweiler, Manning was throwing ducks all over the field and constantly had to be bailed out by the defense.
8. He’s the future
Why not give the future quarterback of your team some playoff reps? The Broncos have offered Manning plenty of chances to bring the Lombardi trophy back to Denver, and he’s squandered them all in embarrassing fashion. How is this year any different? Manning will not suddenly become the missing ingredient to winning a Super Bowl.
7. There is a precedent for this situation
Remember when Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001 and Tom Brady took the league by storm? Patriots coach Bill Belichick never wavered in his dedication to Brady, despite an up-and-down first season. Bledsoe had way more left in the tank than Manning does now, too; he ended up playing for two more teams before retiring. From a pure football standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to start someone because of his legacy. Go with youth.
6. Manning will find a way to lose
It’s his MO, that’s what he does best in the post-season. The higher the stakes, the more mistakes he makes. Whether he’s letting balls sail over his head into the end zone on the first play of the Super Bowl or he’s throwing costly picks at the wrong time, Manning has become an expert at letting Denver down.
5. Continuity is important in the NFL
Osweiler and Manning are very different quarterbacks. Osweiler can throw the ball on a line in a tight window. Manning has to unleash the ball far earlier to compensate for his diminished velocity. While the Broncos looked good when Manning came in against the Chargers, would they really have lost the game if Osweiler had stayed in? I think not. If Manning starts in the playoffs, he’ll ultimately be benched after throwing three first-half interceptions, and the team will have to readjust to Brock again.
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4. Osweiler is built for the cold
He’s younger, bigger and stronger. Manning is brittle in the cold. As soon as an opposing D lays a few hits on him, it will be the same old story: a torn quad here, a torn foot there, maybe some cracked ribs. Everyone will blame it on some obscure injury to mask the fact that Manning sucks in the cold; he’s too brittle and too soft. He also has no feeling in his fingertips.
3. Osweiler was always Kubiak’s guy
John Elway got rid of Manning ally Adam Gase in the off-season and brought in Gary Kubiak to rework the offense. The results: Manning threw a league-high seventeen interceptions through ten games. Osweiler has shown he is an efficient cog in the Kubiak offense.
2. Osweiler is clutch
He’s beaten both the Patriots and the Bengals, the biggest AFC threats to the Broncos, in overtime. Unlike his dopey-faced brother Eli, Peyton is perhaps the most un-clutch player in the league. His only Super Bowl win came against a laughable 2007 Bears squad, which started Rex Grossman at QB. If Denver wins a Super Bowl, it will be in spite of Manning, not because of Manning.
1. History matters
It sure is poetic to think of Manning riding off into retirement with one more ring and one more victory over Brady. But it ain’t gonna happen. There is no recent history that shows that Manning is ready for an intense playoff run against the NFL’s elite. Recent history points to a quarterback far past his prime. Nothing can save Manning from imploding this post-season, not even his wife’s HGH supplements. It’s time to Brock 'N’ Roll for Denver.