Rookie gets shot at Denver's backup QB job
Rookie Brock Osweiler gets one more shot at winning the job as Peyton Manning's backup, and he's going to get that opportunity in familiar surroundings.
The 6-foot-8 quarterback who left Arizona State after his junior season will split snaps with Caleb Hanie and perhaps Adam Weber when the Denver Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro32) visit the Arizona Cardinals (No. 23) on Thursday night.
Osweiler appeared to be ahead of Hanie two weeks ago but he's been unable to move the Broncos' backups in games against Seattle and San Francisco.
''I don't know if I've ever experienced, I think that was four quarters of football without even crossing the 50-yard line,'' Osweiler said. ''So, that's something we worked extremely hard at this week as an offense to clean up, as a second and third unit. Hopefully tomorrow night we can show that.''
In his last two games, Osweiler has presided over an offense that gained an average of just 7 yards per possession and resulted in eight punts and a turnover on downs.
Still, Osweiler said he's making big strides in his comprehension of the Broncos' multifaceted offense.
''Shoot, looking back all the way to rookie minicamp, I felt like I was drowning,'' he said. ''I looked at that playbook and really had no idea where to begin. And now I'm at a point where I'm fairly comfortable with the offense and I'm understanding what Coach (Mike) McCoy and the rest of the staff is trying to do as an offensive unit. Things are getting better every day.''
He just wants to show it under the lights for once.
''This is really my last opportunity to go out there and show the team, show the coaches, what I can do in a game opportunity,'' he said.
Osweiler, selected by John Elway in the second round of the draft, is the first QB ever drafted with the intention of one day replacing Manning, who is entering his first season in Denver after 14 in Indianapolis.
If he can prove that he can handle being the backup, the Broncos will likely cut Hanie.
''Whatever happens with that No. 2 and 3 spot, that's the coaches' decision, and I was taught a long time ago don't worry about the things that you can't control and that's one of them,'' Osweiler said. ''But what I can control is what I do tomorrow night on the football field, so I'm going to go out there and give it my all.''
He'll have plenty of friends and family cheering him on, many of whom hit him up for tickets.
''Quite a few, but I told them about StubHub,'' Osweiler cracked.
Notes: LB D.J. Williams and TE Virgil Green have to leave the Broncos' facilities by Friday night to begin serving their NFL-mandated drug suspensions. Green will miss four games and Williams will miss at least six. Commissioner Roger Goodell could tack on more games to Williams' punishment following his recent conviction for driving while ability impaired. ... TE Jacob Tamme on Sports Illustrated's prediction of a Denver-Green Bay Super Bowl: ''That's great. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean much at all.''
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL