Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler throws during the team's training camp practice on Monday, July 30, 2012. (BroncoTalk.net photo)
At the start of camp, rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler was buried down the Denver Broncos depth chart, watching veterans Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber take more snaps and enjoy more opportunities in front of him as the second and third quarterbacks, respectively.
That was fine with the ASU alum. Osweiler wasn’t trying to advance up the depth chart, he was just trying to improve every day.
“There’s no goal as far as where I want to be on the depth chart,” Osweiler said. “Obviously, as a competitor, I want to be as high as I possibly can be. But my goal this year is to get better every day. I wrote down, as camp started: ‘perfect at least one thing.’ Whether that’s a certain play, it’s a run play, it’s footwork, it’s my throwing motion — get better every single day. If I do that, all those little things are going to add up. By the end of they year hopefully I’ll be ready whenever my number does get called.”
Something interesting happened as Osweiler worked on perfecting those little things every day: his opportunities increased. Quickly. By the third day of camp, he was taking snaps as the #2 QB.
Denver Broncos quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler run during training camp on Monday, July 30, 2012. (BroncoTalk.net photo)
While the Broncos have continued to rotate the three quarterbacks behind Peyton Manning, Osweiler has solidified himself as the clear-cut best option for the Broncos should their $18-million man be sidelined.
“I’ve been in the shoes of the backup quarterback before,” said Osweiler. “I was one for two years, so I know what you need to do, whether it’s a practice or a game to make sure that you’re still getting better.”
It isn’t just Osweiler’s cannon for an arm — stronger than Manning’s — that sees him deserving this second spot on the depth chart. Brock’s delivery has improved. Awkward only in Day One, the work he did this offseason with UCLA Coach Noel Mazzone and Broncos QB Coach Adam Gase has clearly paid dividends.
But Brock has also showed an ability to improvise in the pocket. He’ll run with surprising smoothness for his 6’7″ frame, scrambling to get out of trouble when the defense comes rushing.
Now, there’s plenty of room to improve. The gap between Manning and Osweiler, or any of the other quarterbacks on the roster, is considerable. Osweiler can be hesitant in the pocket, and he doesn’t always know where his outlets are. He hasn’t been on the same page with every receiver, and not every throw is as on-target as Manning’s.
But among Broncos QB’s not named Peyton Manning, Brock has consistently been the best.
“My ears are open, my eyes are wide,” said the rookie. “I’m just trying to soak it all in and get better every day.”
Preseason will be the biggest test for Osweiler, and all three backup Broncos quarterbacks. There’s no substitute for judging a signal caller based on his decision-making under pressure, his mettle under fire. Through the first portion of camp, Brock Osweiler has showed he deserves the most chances to stand the heat.