Manning set to return to practice for first time in a month

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Will Peyton Manning Replace Brock Osweiler When Healthy


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Peyton Manning is set to return to practice Wednesday for the first time in a month, but he'll be a sideline spectator again Sunday when Brock Osweiler makes his fifth consecutive start at Pittsburgh.

The Denver Broncos said coach Gary Kubiak met with his QBs on Tuesday and laid out his plan for the week.

Manning had a trio of throwing sessions indoors and away from his teammates last week after he had his hard cast and then a walking boot removed from his left foot the previous week.

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Manning stood on the sideline Sunday after skipping Denver's trips to Chicago and San Diego and watching the Broncos win over New England from inside the locker room area. He has been dealing with a torn plantar fascia along with sore ribs and an aching throwing shoulder.

The Broncos are 3-1 in Osweiler's starts and 7-2 when Manning starts, although Denver has struggled to find the end zone no matter who's taking the snaps.

The Broncos have gone seven quarters without an offensive touchdown. They settled for four field goals Sunday when they wasted an historical effort by the league's top defense - holding the Raiders to minus-12 yards in the first half - in losing 15-12.

Denver's eight-game winning streak over the Raiders ended despite allowing just 126 yards of offense, including 27 yards on 24 rushes.

Osweiler completed a career-best 35 of 51 passes for 308 yards, his first 300-yard game, but he was sacked five times by Khalil Mack and several receivers dropped on-target passes.

UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS:

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NFL power rankings - 12/15
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Manning set to return to practice for first time in a month

32. San Diego Chargers (3-10)

Last week: 31

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31. Cleveland Browns (3-10)

Last week: 32

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30. Tennessee Titans (3-10)

Last week: 29

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

29. San Francisco 49ers (4-9)

Last week: 30

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28. Baltimore Ravens (4-9)

Last week: 27 

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27. Miami Dolphins (5-8)

Last week: 24

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26. Dallas Cowboys (4-9)

Last week: 19

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25. New Orleans Saints (5-8)

Last week: 28

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24. Chicago Bears (5-8)

Last week: 23

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23. Detroit Lions (4-9)

Last week: 21

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22. St. Louis Rams (5-8)

Last week: 25

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21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)

Last week: 12

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20. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)

Last week: 17

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19. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)

Last week: 26

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18. Buffalo Bills (6-7)

Last week: 16

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17. Washington Redskins (6-7)

Last week: 20

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16. Oakland Raiders (6-7)

Last week: 22

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15. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Last week: 15

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14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

Last week: 14

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13. New York Giants (6-7)

Last week: 18

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12. Houston Texans (6-7)

Last week: 13

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11. Minnesota Vikings (8-5)

Last week: 8

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10. New York Jets (8-5)

Last week: 11

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9. Green Bay Packers (9-4)

Last week: 10

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8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

Last week: 9

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7. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)

Last week: 7

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6. Cincinnati Bengals (10-3)

Last week: 4

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5. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)

Last week: 6

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4. Denver Broncos (10-3)

Last week: 2

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3. Arizona Cardinals (11-2)

Last week: 3

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2. New England Patriots (11-2)

Last week: 5

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1. Carolina Panthers (13-0)

Last week: 1

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In roughly 17 quarters, Osweiler has been sacked 17 times, including once for a safety Sunday.

Manning threw a league-high 17 interceptions in his nine starts, including four against Kansas City on Nov. 15, when he had a career-worst 0.0 passer rating on the same day he broke Brett Favre's NFL record for career passing yards.

Kubiak pulled him in the third quarter that day and then made the switch to Osweiler the following week. Manning went to see noted orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson is Charlotte, North Carolina.

Anderson put Manning in a cast for a week and then a walking boot for several more days while putting his rehab on hold.

Two weeks ago Manning said Anderson had no answers for him when he asked how long he'd be sidelined or when he might be able to return. But Manning has made enough progress to get back on the football field.

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There's still a possibility he could return to the starting lineup either against Cincinnati on Dec. 28 or San Diego on Jan. 3. Both of those are home games.

The Broncos ran for an average of 161 yards in Osweiler's first three starts, nearly twice the production they got on the ground when Manning was in the lineup. At 25, Osweiler is much more athletic and mobile than Manning, who's nearing his 40th birthday.

The Broncos were able to open up Kubiak's entire playbook with Osweiler under center, including play-action passes, bootlegs, sprint-outs and rollouts, and heavier use of the tight ends as targets. Kubiak had to modify his run-oriented offense with Manning playing either in the shotgun or the pistol.

But the Broncos ran for just 34 yards on 21 carries last week against Oakland with C.J. Anderson sidelined by an ankle injury and Ronnie Hillman playing on a sore foot. He was bothered by the injury during the week and then got stepped on in warmups. He ran for just 20 yards on 12 carries.

On Monday, Kubiak hinted at his plans for his QBs, but said he wasn't prepared to say if Manning could return to practice or whether Osweiler would start against the Steelers (8-5).

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"I have to see where he's at," Kubiak said of Manning. "We have to talk through his situation and see where we are. I'll talk to (head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos). We went through a good week last week, gave him the weekend off, so we'll see where we're at. We'll have a plan in place by the time we get to Wednesday."

While Denver's offense has struggled behind both quarterbacks, tight end Virgil Green said the Broncos (10-3) believe they can win with either one.

"Both 17 and 18 are great quarterbacks. Teams have to prepare for both of them differently. I have a lot of faith in both of those guys," Green said. "Brock is definitely a competitor and Peyton, I've seen him pick defenses apart like it's nothing."

REVEALING THE HIGHEST-PAID PLAYER ON EVERY NFL TEAM:

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Highest paid player on every NFL team 2015
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Manning set to return to practice for first time in a month

32. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns — $9,000,000

Position: Left tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $8.8 million salary, $200,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas has started every game of his 9-year NFL career.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts — $11,000,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Hilton's spot on this list will be short-lived as quarterback Andrew Luck is due for a new contract that will likely challenge the all-time records.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

30. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals — $11,719,114

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.6 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Peterson's $70.1 million contract is nearly identical to the one signed by Darrelle Revis with the Jets.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

29. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers — $12,800,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.4 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Colin Kaepernick's $114 million contract was never as good as it sounded and chances are he will never see the end of it.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

26t. DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Levy's $33.8 million contract is a distant fourth when ranking the total value of contracts for Lions players, but he has the benefit of a signing bonus this year. Over the next four years, his salary is a more reasonable $5-7 million per year.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

26t. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Houston's 6-year, $101 million is $35 million bigger than any other linebacker's contract, but $8.5 million of his $20.5 million signing bonus was deferred until next year.

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

26t. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings — $13,000,000

Position: Running Back

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.0 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: After missing nearly the entire 2014 season, Peterson is back and already leading the NFL in rushing through the first four weeks. His 3-year, $42 million contract did not come with a signing bonus, so it is basically a year-to-year deal.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

24t. Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia Eagles — $13,500,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $6.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: His 6-year, $63 million is fourth among cornerbacks in terms of total value.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

24t. Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Bucs — $13,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $5.0 million salary, $2.0 million option bonus.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

23. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens — $14,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Smith's contract is a distant second on the Ravens in terms of total value, behind quarterback Joe Flacco, but Flacco will only make $8.8 million this year.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

22. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots — $15,000,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $4.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: With the Patriots locking up Gronkowski to a 6-year, $54 million contract in 2012, they got one of the best steals in the NFL. Gronk will have salaries of $2.25 million and $4.25 million the next two years.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

22t. Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos — $15,000,000

Position: Quarterback and Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: Manning: $15 million salary; Thomas: $6.5 million roster bonus, $4.5 million salary, $4.0 million signing bonus.

One thing to know: Manning can also earn a $2 million bonus if the Broncos reach the Super Bowl and another $2 million if they win. Thomas recently signed a 5-year, $70 million contract with exactly half of that ($35 million) fully guaranteed.

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

20t. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers — $15,100,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.2 million salary, $500,000 roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Randall Cobb signed a 4-year, 40.0 million extension this off-season.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

20t. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars — $15,100,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million signing bonus, $9.0 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas signed a 5-year, $46.0 million contract with the Jags as a free agent this summer, but has yet to play in a game because of a hand injury.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

19. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders — $15,177,266

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $14.7 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Amari Cooper is already looking like he is ready to be the next great wide receiver in the NFL.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

17. Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams — $15,788,756

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.2 million roster bonus, $5.6 million salary.

One thing to know: After recording 19 sacks in 2013, Quinn signed a 4-year, $57.0 million extension. He had 10.5 sacks in 2014.

(Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

16. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets — $16,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million salary.

One thing to know: No player has gambled on himself more than Revis, and it keeps paying off, turning a nonguaranteed contract into $68 million.

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans — $16,305,164

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.9 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Mariota is actually the highest-paid rookie this year, as top pick Jameis Winston had 35% of his $17.0 million signing bonus deferred until 2016.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys — $17,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million restructure bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Romo's 6-year, $108 million contract originally called for a $17 million salary this season. By turning $16 million of that into a bonus, the Cowboys are able to spread the impact to the salary cap over several years. The downside is that he will count $21 million against the cap next season despite just an $8.5 million salary, so another restructuring will likely be done.

(Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)

13. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints — $19,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $18.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Drew Brees is now in Year 4 of his 5-year, $100 million contract, and the back-loaded deal is starting to kill the Saints' salary cap. Brees will take up $26.4 million against the cap this year, more than $5 million more than any other player in the NFL.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

12. Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins — $19,038,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary, $250,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Kerrigan is going to be a one-hit wonder on this list, having just signed a 5-year, $57.5 million contract. His total earnings in 2016 will be just $5.3 million.

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

11. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans — $19,969,000

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million restructure bonus, $9.97 million salary.

One thing to know: In just the second year of his 6-year, $100 million contract, Watt has already restructured the deal once, converting his $10 million roster bonus this season into a restructure bonus, spreading the cap hit out over the next five years.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

10. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears — $20,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.5 million salary, $5.0 million restructure bonus.

One thing to know: Jay Cutler has already earned $75.7 million heading into the 2015 season, and he has played in just two playoff games, winning one.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons — $23,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $11.5 million salary.

One thing to know: Ryan still has four years remaining on his 5-year, $103.75 million contract extension.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

8. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins — $26,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.5 million signing bonus, $985,000 salary, $15,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Despite all the big contracts for quarterbacks, Suh was arguably the biggest winner, getting a megadeal worth $114 million over six years, including $60 million guaranteed. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the contract is going to become a nightmare after the second year.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

7. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals — $26,750,000

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.0 million signing bonus, $11.75 million salary.

One thing to know: Green signed a 4-year, $60 million contract just prior to the start of the season. The $15.0 million-per-year average is second only to Calvin Johnson among wide receivers.

(AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

6. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills — $27,823,530

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary.

One thing to know: Dareus cashed in just before the start of the season with a $96.6 million contract that includes $60 million guaranteed. However, as has become the norm in the NFL, the "real guarantee" is really just his earnings this year with the rest only guaranteed against injury.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers — $31,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary, $7.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Cam was one of several quarterbacks to cash in this summer, getting a 5-year, $103.8 million deal. It was his deal that set the tone for all the others.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks — $31,700,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $700,000 salary.

One thing to know: Russell Wilson is finally going to get paid, but his contract was not the game changer many were expecting.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers — $35,250,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31 million signing bonus, $1 million salary, $3.25 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed this off-season by Big Ben doesn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. However, it was better than most as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

2. Eli Manning, New York Giants — $37,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $5.5 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus.

One thing to knowEli Manning finally agreed to his long-anticipated contract extension that includes an NFL-record-tying $65 million guaranteed and a whopping $37 million in the first year.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers — $37,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $15.0 million salary.

One thing to know: While everybody was focused on Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Ndamukong Suh, it was Rivers who got the surprise monster contract of the off-season. Like Roethlisberger's deal, at $83.3 million, Rivers' new extension doesn't sound as sexy. But he got an NFL-record $65 million in guaranteed money and $54 million over the first two seasons.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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