Sportress of Blogitude

Brock Osweiler practices, expected to back up Peyton Manning


While the Pittsburgh Steelers are navigating myriad injury issues — especially on offense — it appears the Denver Broncos are getting healthy in advance of Sunday’s divisional round showdown between the two teams.

Brock Osweiler was a full participant in a Broncos practice for the first time since he suffered a sprained his right MCL in a Jan. 3 game against the San Diego Chargers. He is expected to back up Peyton Manning in Sunday’s game.

A report from The Denver Post indicates Osweiler’s work consisted of “dropbacks, light jogs and bullet passes.”

Given the limited amount of time Manning has played in the last part of the season, it’s difficult to forecast how effective he can be in a high-pressure playoff environment, although he’s been through many postseason wars during his career.

Manning did however manage to get some in-game work during Denver’s season finale victory over San Diego after not playing since mid-November due to a foot injury. His play was solid if not spectacular in limited action, going 5-for-9 for 69 yards.

But before being shut down due to a torn plantar fascia, Manning was suffering through arguably the worst NFL season of his career. His 17 interceptions — in 10 games — trails only Blake Bortles by one for worst in the NFL.

Osweiler, meanwhile, was a steadying influence on the Broncos offense. What he lacked in garish numbers he made up for with consistent play, as the team posted a 5-3 record in games in which he appeared.

It remains to be seen if Manning’s experience and savvy will be enough for the Broncos to beat the undermanned Steelers. But if early indications are that he can’t carry the load, it looks like Osweiler at least will be healthy enough to replace him.

(image via The Denver Post)