Broncos turn offense over to Peyton Manning's longtime backup, Brock Osweiler



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ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — Brock Osweiler looked around and asked a pertinent question.

"Are you sure I need to go up here?" Osweiler asked as he stepped up to the podium after taking most of the snaps during Peyton Manning's day off.

It's not that he was bashful. At 6-foot-8, he was pretty sure he didn't need to stand another foot higher, that's all.

He turned to make sure the top of the backdrop wasn't too low for the craning cameras.

Satisfied, he spun back around.

"It fits," he declared.

So, too, does Denver's new offense, apparently.

The mobile pocket. Being under center. Play-action passes.

Coach Gary Kubiak, himself a lifelong backup to a superstar when his boss, John Elway, was his teammate, said he was impressed with Osweiler.

"You want to see him run the team. He did. At the end of practice, he moved the football team. It's a growing process for him, but I think he's handling it really well," Kubiak said. "Being a guy who's done that job for a living, when the team gets thrown your way that's a lot on your plate. You have to be able to handle it."

Kubiak is giving Manning a breather every few days, a plan designed not only to benefit the five-time MVP, but also his longtime backup.

Osweiler's first chance came Monday when the teams were in full pads for the first time.

"I think that today was a really good day," Osweiler said. "Offensively, there were some guys that sat out practice, but it gave a lot of guys a great opportunity. I don't get a lot of reps with (the starters). To get those reps and have a good day felt great. But we need to build upon it and get better."

Entering his fourth season of his prolonged apprenticeship — and the last year of his rookie contract — Osweiler is getting his biggest chance yet to prove he's a worthy successor to Manning.

"I don't want to say it, but if anything happens to Peyton, I think he'll come in and help fill that void," said wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who caught several long passes from Osweiler.

The truer test for Osweiler will come in games, beginning with Denver's trip to Seattle Aug. 14 for the first exhibition match.

"Looking back at high school, college, getting to play in some garbage time here or there, I really think when you're finally out in that fire and you're with the first group and the game's on the line and you're the guy, that's where you really learn things," Osweiler said.

Spot starts are nice. What he really wants is to start all the time.

"It's something I've thought about ever since I've been drafted," Osweiler said. "You grow up dreaming of playing in the National Football League. Obviously, you want to be out on the field playing, but as you all know, I came into a very special situation. The one thing I've done on a daily basis is made sure that I've made the most of that situation, soaking in what I can get from Peyton while he's here.

"I'm sure my time will come at some point and I'll be ready for that."


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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