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Osweiler’s Journey to Starter a Lost Art in Modern NFL

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A Hall of Famer one week, an unproven debutant the next. Such is life in the NFL. For the Denver Broncos, that drastic shift at the game’s most important position begins this week, and so does the long road towards proving whether or not general manager John Elway’s second round draft pick was merely an insurance policy, or a stroke of genius.

“I’ve prepared for this moment for a very long time,” Osweiler divulged to reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “I haven’t wasted a single day. I’m just going to stick to the preparation that got me to this point and I’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”

Practicing every day to the best of your ability is one thing. Practicing with the mindset that you could be named the starter at any moment is something else entirely, and it’s hard to believe that thought was persistently at the forefront for Osweiler since he was selected in the 2012 draft.

Since drafting the Arizona State quarterback with prototypical size and arm strength, the Broncos have rolled with Peyton Manning as the starter for 3 full seasons, which included a Super Bowl appearance and another MVP award for Manning, concluding arguably the greatest single-season quarterbacking performance in NFL history.

Barring a catastrophe, Osweiler would have to be content to ride the bench, believing that he would be the new sheriff sometime in the future. Well, that catastrophe came last week, when Manning threw almost as many interceptions as completions en route to the worst game of his career.

Now, with the “Brock Lobster” set to make his first start against the suddenly sexy Bears, the nation waits with bated breath to see just what this chosen one has to flaunt.

A little too sensationalist? Undoubtedly, but the modern league hasn’t seen a quarterback situation like this since Favre-Rodgers in Green Bay, and it will be interesting to see just how much Osweiler has learnt from the future first-balloter.

Gone are the days of drafting a young up-and-comer with the intention of grooming him for several seasons. If that were still the status quo, we might all be sitting here wondering why we were ever so hyped about that Andrew Luck kid.

No, baptism by fire is the preferred method of digging a franchise out of a hole these days. Osweiler and the Broncos, though, are the intriguing exception to a rule perpetuated by the “win big and win now” philosophy of proud clubs going through a slump.

He was initially drafted as a safety net in case Manning’s neck surgery didn’t pan out as hoped. Now this backup plan is The Man on a team with very legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Don’t look back Brock; the pine no longer calls your name.

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