For the first time since he was a freshman at Tennessee, Peyton Manning will be a backup quarterback on Sunday.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said today that the plan is for Manning to dress for Sunday’s game against the Chargers and serve as the No. 2 quarterback behind Brock Osweiler. That’s a departure from what Kubiak first said when Manning was taken out of the lineup with a foot injury. At that time, Kubiak said that Manning would start when he was healthy enough to play.
Now Kubiak is saying Manning should be healthy enough to be active on Sunday, barring any setback this week. And yet Osweiler remains the starter.
“Brock’s our quarterback — nothing has changed from that standpoint. [Manning] being available is a change,” Kubiak said. “[Manning] being healthy is a great thing for this football team, him being available.”
It’s easy to see why Kubiak is keeping Osweiler at No. 1 on the depth chart: Manning looked old and washed up when he played earlier this season, and is still leading the league with 17 interceptions even though he hasn’t played the last six games. Osweiler hasn’t been great, but he’s been competent enough to run the offense while cutting down on turnovers.
Heading into the playoffs, Osweiler will presumably remain the starter, and Manning will watch from the sidelines.