If you squint a little bit, Caleb Hanie’s No. 16 jersey can look a bit like a No. 18. As it turns out, Hanie will be the Denver Broncos No. 2 option at quarterback behind Peyton Manning as announced Monday when the team depth chart was released.
It was either three year veteran Hanie who has taken a snap in 11 regular season games, second year undrafted quarterback Adam Weber who has never taken a snap in the NFL, or Brock Osweiler, the rookie.
“We’ve got to start somewhere,” head coach John Fox said after practice Monday. “The people can make a lot out of this chart we hand out there. Really, we only put it out there because we have to for other teams. As I said many times, it’s not where you start the race, it’s where you finish. We’ve got a lot of game ahead of his, a lot of practices.”
It doesn’t matter who Manning’s backup is so much right now. As soon as a different number is called under center, however, all heads will turn towards No. 2.
As for Hanie who came to Denver after three years in Chicago puts it, “It is what it is. Nothing is ever set in stone in this league. It’s like you have to constantly perform. It’s a performance-based league and that’s why you can’t ever let down. We’ll play it week-to-week.”
This week the Broncos take on Hanie’s former team, the Chicago Bears in week one of preseason. It was in Chicago that Hanie went 59-for-116 for 613 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in his 11 career games.
Hanie is looking forward to making a return to play his former team.
“I’m real excited about it,” Hanie said. “I’m a little weary about playing against some of my buddies, but it’s all in good fun. It’ll be fun and hopefully we can make some strides and improve, and just go out there and make plays.”
Hanie took significantly more reps in Monday’s practice than both Weber and Osweiler. He even threw a nifty pass to Julius Thomas in the back of the end zone from the 5-yard line.
Hanie hasn’t had the perfect practice yet, but according to Manning, he hasn’t either. In that way, they’re on the same level.