The battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot is wide open for the Denver Broncos, and let’s just say that former Arizona State Sun Devil Brock Osweiler will have home court advantage on Thursday night.
The Broncos’ starters won’t play against the Arizona Cardinals, and Caleb Hanie is expected to get the start, but hometown boy Owseiler is expected to get some significant playing time as well as the most cheers.
“There’s gonna be quite a few people there,” Osweiler said of his friends and family who will be there to support him. “It’s pretty exciting to go back to where you spent the last three and a half years of your life, and you have so many friends and family members to play in front of.”
Osweiler’s start in the pros was rather eye-opening after a very successful three year stint at Arizona State where he threw for 5,082 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He was also just the fourth player in Pac-12 history to throw for 4,000 yards.
“Looking back all the way to rookie mini camp, I felt like I was drowning,” Osweiler said. “I looked at that playbook and really had no idea where to begin. Now, I’m at a point where I’m fairly comfortable with the offense.”
Osweiler looked rather comfortable in week one of preseason against the Chicago Bears when he went 4-for-7 for 38 yards and 1 touchdown. Week two against the Seattle Seahawks was a different story. The Broncos gave Osweiler a solo act behind Peyton Manning, but he went 5-for-11 for 38 yards and no scores. Then against the San Francisco 49ers, Osweiler went 4-for-9 for 27 yards.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced I think that was four quarters of football without maybe crossing the 50-yard line so that’s something we worked extremely hard at this week as an offense to clean up as a second and third unit,” Osweiler said.
Many have blamed Osweiler’s poor performance the past two games on playing with a less-polished second and third unit where protection isn’t as good.
Come Thursday, there will be no excuses. Both Osweiler and Hanie will be asked to play with backups as they hope to secure their own backup role, immediately behind Manning.