Peyton Manning Named Broncos' Starting QB for 2016 AFC Divisional Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2016

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2015, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Peyton Manning (18) and Brock Osweiler (17) get ready for the Broncos' NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. Osweiler gets his first NFL start in his fourth pro season, on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Manning promises not to
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The Denver Broncos announced that Peyton Manning would be the team's starting quarterback in the AFC divisional round.  

Andrew Mason of provided word of the decision, noting head coach Gary Kubiak met with Manning and backup Brock Osweiler prior to telling the team during a morning meeting.

At a press conference, Kubiak told reporters the decision to start Manning is "best for our football team."

However, Kubiak did say he's been told that Manning's foot "will take some time" to fully heal, but added he feels "really good about this, about how far Peyton has come."

Manning, 39, had perhaps the most challenging season of his entire career. He struggled with injuries and inconsistency, eventually losing his starting job to Osweiler midway through the season. In 10 appearances, Manning threw for 2,249 yards, just nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions while completing 59.8 percent of his passes. 

Osweiler struggled in the season finale against the San Diego Chargers, however, after throwing two interceptions and fumbling. While Manning only went 5-of-9 with 69 yards in relief, he led the Broncos on four scoring drives and to a victory that earned them the top overall seed in the postseason.

After the game, Kubiak noted that he went with Manning in the third quarter of that game because of a gut feeling.

"Sometimes, the feel is that the team is just looking around that guy, for that tremendous leadership type of stuff," Kubiak said after the game, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN. "That's what I felt."

On Thursday, Kubiak said: "We think the world of Brock. He's done a hell of a job."

It would appear that Kubiak's gut is telling him that Manning is the best option for the team in the postseason, too. It's a risk, considering Manning's shaky form this season and his long injury layoff, but ultimately his intelligence and veteran leadership made him the choice.

The presence of Osweiler means that Manning will have a very short leash, however.


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