Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The backup quarterback battle is between second-year man Brock Osweiler and rookie quarterback Zac Dysert.
Yes, it's true that neither of these young quarterbacks will see any meaningful playing time during the regular season unless a catastrophic injury to Peyton Manning occurs, but nonetheless, it's still a key battle. After all, one of these guys could take over the reins of the franchise once Manning retires.
Both quarterbacks come from different backgrounds, and both have different playing styles.
Osweiler is a 6'7" quarterback known for his big arm. He was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft with the expectation that he would take over for Manning once the latter retires. Dysert was a late-round draft selection by the Broncos in this year's draft after showing off his ability to pass and run at Miami of Ohio.
Manning left Thursday night's game after just one drive, and Osweiler received a lot of reps. He went 13-of-18 for 105 yards without any turnovers.
On the other hand, Dysert only led two drives versus the Niners, and one of them was at the end of the game, which saw the rookie quarterback kneel to end the contest. However, the rookie quarterback did lead a drive that culminated in a field goal and ate up seven minutes of clock. The mobile quarterback also showed his ability to make plays with his legs, as he escaped the pass rush and ran outside of the pocket to prolong a few plays in his short amount of work.
As it stands right now, though, Osweiler is the favorite to be Manning's backup for a second straight year.
However, it'll be interesting to see what Dysert is able to do with more reps, considering his mobility. If he continues to impress, the Broncos might consider keeping three quarterbacks on the active roster in 2013.