ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With his second career start just a few days away, Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler doesn’t know how many more games he’ll start this season and he doesn’t know how long Peyton Manning will be out.
What he does know is Sunday night he will be behind center against the New England Patriots – they are the league’s top scoring defense – in a prime-time matchup that will have a lot to say about the AFC’s playoff seeding.
“All I know is that I’m playing quarterback this week," Osweiler said. “... That’s where my focus is. Last week I kept my focus small; I kept it on the Bears' defense and it seemed to work pretty well. This week I know I’m the starting quarterback Sunday night against the Patriots ... and then next Monday we can talk about the next week."
Osweiler waited 43 months to make his first NFL start last Sunday in Chicago and it took just a week to make the second one. He finished 20-of-27 against the Bears for 250 yards and two touchdowns in Chicago.
On Sunday, football fans will see if he can construct something close to the opening act against the undefeated Patriots with Bill Belichick and New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia trying to make it as difficult as possible on Osweiler, who turned 25 on Sunday.
“I know they’ve been causing a lot of chaos for quarterbacks; they’ve been getting to quarterbacks," Osweiler said. “... They just play extremely hard. They know their scheme inside and out."
In addition to the Broncos coaches this week, Osweiler does have a little more help. After Manning was held out of both practices and meetings last week to focus solely on rehab, Manning is back in meetings and made an appearance on the practice field Wednesday with a walking cast on his left foot.
After a visit with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson on Monday in North Carolina, Manning is now scheduled to wear the walking cast for seven to 10 days and then restart his rehab on his injured foot.
He will miss, at minimum, two games, but Manning offered a helping hand as Osweiler prepares for a defense that usually has a surprise or two for opposing offenses along the way.
“Peyton’s been great to me; he was in meetings [Wednesday]. He’s been talking me through his past experiences going against the Patriots and whatnot," Osweiler said. “He was out here at practice helping me out, asking me questions. Peyton’s been a great teammate and obviously I love having him around. It’s a great brain to pick."
Manning was in the Broncos’ locker room following practice. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was asked Wednesday if he believes, despite the Broncos adding a fourth quarterback to the roster in Christian Ponder, if the expectation was for Manning to return to the field before the season is over and Kubiak said, “Absolutely. He’s doing everything he can to come back."
Kubiak also added: “The injury is frustrating for him, but his frame of mind is good right now and the fact that this is what I’m doing and the fact that [the cast] is going to come off, go back to work, it should help me. He has a clear understanding of where we’re trying to go next."