As the Broncos “start from scratch” in their effort to identify a starting quarterback for next Monday night’s game against the Bengals, the overriding question is whether it will be Brock Osweiler or Peyton Manning.
Here’s a thought: Why not both?
The Cardinals did it back in 2007, and rotating Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner worked for the Cardinals until Leinart, who wasn’t thrilled with the arrangement, suffered a season-ending broken collarbone.
It’s unclear whether rotating Osweiler and Manning would make the Denver offense better. Based on their individual performances this year, it can’t get a whole lot worse.
Until he exited the lineup with a foot injury, the Broncos thrived under Manning not because of him but in spite of him. With Osweiler, a promising start has devolved into an offense that can’t score points in the second half. So with no real rhythm under either guy, why not swap them back and forth?
It would be unconventional, to say the least. But the disparity in the styles of the two quarterbacks would impose maximum pressure on an opposing defense forced to prepare not for either of them but for both of them.
And it would be strangely coincidental, to say the least, to see Peyton Manning’s NFL career (or at least his career in Denver) end with the same up-down approach that highlighted the last year of his chief rival Tom Brady’s college career.
Surely, neither Osweiler nor Manning would like the approach — and we won’t need sources close to either guy to confirm that as part of a “Sunday splash” report that morphs into an unintended belly smacker. But the alternative for one of the two guys will be to not play at all.
And the tactic could end up giving the offense the kind of spark it needs, with coach Gary Kubiak displaying the kind of flexibility and creativity that could cement Denver’s postseason berth, and that also could propel the Broncos deeper into the postseason than they’d get by using either guy exclusively.