The Denver Broncos will reportedly stick with Brock Osweiler at quarterback, even when Peyton Manning is healthy

Will Broncos Finish Season with Brock Osweiler at Quarterback?

Lost in the madness around the Al Jazeera report that links Peyton Manning to shipments of HGH is that the Denver Broncos still have a big decision looming.

For the last five games, the Broncos have started Brock Osweiler at quarterback while Peyton Manning recovered from a torn plantar fascia.

During that stretch, Denver has gone 3-2, leaving some to wonder who the Broncos would roll with once Manning returned to full health.

According to a report from Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, it sounds like the Broncos are going to stick with Osweiler.

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Glazer said during Fox's Week 16 NFL coverage, "This is now Brock Osweiler's team. Brock Osweiler has a grade-two separated shoulder, yet he is the guy.

"I think John Elway is helping make that decision. So much so that when Peyton Manning is practicing, he's not even with the rest of the team, so as not to be a distraction. This is Brock Osweiler's team the rest of the way, barring some sort of collapse."

Glazer noted that going into Week 16, there was talk that if Manning was healthy, he could get the start on Monday vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, but that was "put on hold."

Osweiler has been steady as a starter for the Broncos, completing 61% of his passes for seven touchdowns and three interceptions. That latter number may be critical to the Broncos, as Peyton was a turnover machine as a starter, throwing 17 interceptions in just nine games this season.

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The Denver Broncos will reportedly stick with Brock Osweiler at quarterback, even when Peyton Manning is healthy
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 20: Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos watches the action from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of play at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Denver Broncos on Sunday, December 20, 2015. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Mike Neal #96 of the Green Bay Packers looks to the sidelines during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 28, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 30-20. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 3: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers walks out to the field prior to playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 3, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 8: Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during a NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank Of America Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks onto the field before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field on November 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: RY 26: ARY 26: Taylor Teagarden #23 of the New York Mets poses for a portrait during Spring Training photo day at Tradition Field on February 26, 2014 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 12: Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies in the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 12, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 7-6. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals sits in the dugout during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 29, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Osweiler's presence and fit in Gary Kubiak's offense seems to have improved the run game, if only marginally. While the Broncos have been affected by another injury to running back C.J. Anderson, in Osweiler's first two starts, Anderson and running back Ronnie Hillman combined for 333 rushing yards, which gave the Broncos a much-needed offensive boost. If both are healthy again, the Broncos should see an uptick in their run game.

However, it's worth wondering how strong the support for Osweiler is. The Broncos are going into a critical Week 16 game against an AFC opponent in the Bengals. If Osweiler struggles and the Broncos lose, that will make it three straight losses under Osweiler heading into the final week of the season. It would be seemingly tempting to trot Manning out as starter in Week 17, if he's healthy, just to see what he has.

For now, the job appears to be Osweiler's even as Manning says he's getting closer to practicing. Even with reported front-office support, there is still pressure on Osweiler to perform Monday night with Manning's return drawing closer.

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