The following item is excerpted from the Week 17 edition of Albert Breer's exclusive Inside the NFL Notebook:
Brock Osweiler certainly hasn't set the world on fire over the last month, but his play in Denver's comeback win Monday night provides reason for the Broncos to stick with him. And in asking around to execs who work the pro side and defensive coaches, I had a hard time finding anyone this week who thought it was a good idea to go back to Peyton Manning now, no matter how healthy he is. The prevailing thought is to keep riding Osweiler.
"If he plays well [on Sunday against San Diego], I think I would," said one AFC personnel exec. "They need to win for the division, so they should be throwing their fastball. So we'll see that. And last year, Peyton was trending down towards the end."
An NFC pro scouting director added on Osweiler, "I like what I see so far. I don't think he's gonna be a 35-attempt-a-game guy, but he should be a good fit for [Gary] Kubiak's true system, which employs more balance."
Indeed, Denver is 2-2 in games where Osweiler crosses that 35-attempt threshold and 2-0 in his starts where he threw it less than 35 times. And as much as anything else, the Broncos have found a rhythm in the run game around Osweiler, going over 100 yards rushing in five of his six starts after hitting triple-digits on the ground just three times in Manning's nine starts.
So everything here points to the Broncos sticking to what's been their plan to stay with Osweiler. Maybe it'll get a little awkward. But it's what's best for the team, with Manning set to dress as a backup for the first time in 21 years. Add that to the Al Jazeera report of last weekend, and if this is it for Manning, all of it qualifies as a rough end for one of the game's all-time greats. But the truth is, these things rarely come to a smooth conclusion.