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INDIANAPOLIS — Of all people, John Elway should have a good grasp on what it takes to have a solid quarterback situation, and he has seen his team’s change drastically — and for the better — in the past year.
Last February at the Combine, the Broncos faced plenty of questions about Tim Tebow, who rallied Denver to the playoffs, but it was no secret that Elway didn’t view Tebow as the long-term future at quarterback.
Fast forward to the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, and Elway’s Broncos are coming off a 13-3 season with Peyton Manning, and the team is confident in its backup, 2012 draft pick Brock Osweiler.
“We’re excited about Brock. Having a year with him under our roof, we’re even more excited about him,” Elway said Friday. “It worked tremendously with Peyton, and Brock was a guy I thought could come in and learn from Peyton and be that guy.”
Coming off multiple neck surgeries, Manning was fantastic in 2012, throwing 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Osweiler threw only four regular-season passes. Last preseason, Osweiler saw some action, completing 16-of-33 passes for 139 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Elway said to expect more opportunities for Brock this August.
“Brock will play a lot this preseason. We’ll get Peyton ready, and Peyton will be able to dictate how much he wants to play,” said Elway. “After that, we’re trying to train Brock.”
Manning turns 37 in March, and Elway explained how he balances building the team knowing that his quarterback has a window that is closing — and Osweiler fits the plan.
“We’re building for the short-term and the long-term,” Elway said. “We saw that last year when we took Brock in the second round. I never want to be in the position where you don’t have that guy. To have that guy, you’ve got to develop him because they don’t show up every year.
“Look at this year compared to last year. There were two or three guys in the draft last year who came in and made a huge impact. Now you look at it, there’s not one guy that’s kind of jumping out at everybody at that position. It’s a hit or miss between who’s coming out and who’s not and I didn’t want to be in that position.”
Suffice it to say that Elway is happy he got Osweiler when he did.
“With Brock coming in, we think we can train him and when Peyton decides to hang it up, we can continue to play at the level that we’re playing now.”