The Denver Broncos benched Peyton Manning on Sunday amid a career-worst performance, and rumors indicate that the team could turn to backup Brock Osweiler on a full-time basis.
Manning was having one of the worst games of his career when the Broncos pulled him in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs. Manning hit just five out of his 20 pass attempts and had four interceptions as the Broncos fell behind 22-0.
Now there are signs that it may not just be the end of Manning’s time in Denver, but his entire career.
Ironically, the benching came not long after Manning broke Brett Favre’s all-time mark of 71,838 career passing yards, ESPN noted. Manning also had a chance to become the NFL’s all-time winningest quarterback, but it appears that goal is out of sight and could be for the long-term.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 15, 2015
There are rumors that the Denver Broncos could be turning to Brock Osweiler on a full-time basis, as the team was reportedly close to moving on from Manning this summer when he was considering retirement.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) November 15, 2015
There have been reports for several weeks that the Broncos were worried about Manning’s play and his mounting injuries. Manning has hovered near the bottom of the league in several categories, including yards per pass attempt.
But the team has stayed by Manning publicly.
“You stay committed to what you believe in,” said coach Gary Kubiak in the third week of this season, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN. “We’re going to get where we want to go offensively if we stay committed to something. We believe in what we’re doing, been doing it a long time, we just got to get better at how we’re doing it. As coaches that always starts with us. You don’t run away from something, you keep working at it.”
Manning tried to ward off the criticism as well, saying he and all the teams’ offensive players simply had a learning curve under Kubiak’s system.
“You’re trying to improve as you make the adjustments, you’re trying to win games as you make the adjustments,” Manning said. “As long as we continue to work and improve, that’s what we said all along, that’s what we said we were going to do and that’s what we will do.”
While the Denver Broncos have stayed away from talk of benching Peyton Manning for the long-term, the team’s set-up could accommodate for his loss. The team has jumped out to a 7-1 record largely on the strength of its defense, and Osweiler could step in and keep the team a strong title contender.
There may be more troubling signs for Manning’s future in Denver — and the entire NFL. On Monday, sources close to the team told ESPN that Manning has a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot, an injury that makes it difficult for the quarterback to walk.
“Sources told ESPN that Manning has battled plantar fasciitis for weeks but is believed to have aggravated the injury against Indianapolis on Nov. 8, resulting in a partial tear of his plantar fascia. Almost always, a partial tear is more painful to play with than a complete tear,” the report noted.
It will likely be a few days before the Denver Broncos rumors become a bit more clear. It’s likely that Gary Kubiak will address the starting quarterback situation later this week, and an update on Manning’s health will likely come sometime on Monday or Tuesday.
[Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]