Do not be confused by the title. I am pretty confident about who will be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. What worries me is who will be sitting behind Number 18.
I do not believe anyone has forgotten the 2011 Colts, but let’s highlight some key points. Peyton Manning was out for the season, and Peyton Manning was out for the season. Curtis Painter lost every game he played and the Colts finished with a humbling 2-14 record. Then the Colts (really, Jim Irsay) decided an offense was overrated and released them to free agency; but that is for another article. The point is, the Colts did not have a suitable backup for Peyton Manning, and they showed the world how important that can be.
Not surprisingly, the Broncos have not released an official depth chart to their webpage, but I can only assume newly acquired Caleb Hanie will be backing up Peyton Manning in the upcoming season. For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Hanie, he started over an injured Jay Cutler weeks 12 through 15, until the Bears decided a thumbless Jay Cutler was an improvement.
Under Hanie, the Bears lost all four games. Out of those four games, Caleb Hanie threw a grand total of three touchdowns. He did, however, complete three passes each to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Seahawks. To make matters worse, this four game streak ruined the playoff hopes of the Chicago Bears. The Bears were 7 – 3 going into Week 12. They finished 8 – 8 overall. There is no sense comparing their record to the Packers; but the Lions were also 7 – 3 going into Week 12, and they ultimately won the 6th seed entering the playoffs. In addition, the 5th seed Atlanta Falcons were only 6 – 4 going into Week 12. There is never a good time for an injury, especially when in playoff contention. However, that is the backup quarterback’s job: to lead the team when called upon.
I think it is great that Hanie can sit and learn behind Peyton Manning, but the backup position is more important than that. Brock Osweiller was drafted to learn. Hanie needs to be able to play. And for a team that wants consistency from the quarterback, I would think they would want the same from their backup. I am not arguing that it was a bad decision to release Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn, but Mr. Elway, take a hint from the Colts and the Bears. You need a capable backup and Caleb Hanie is not it. You did a great job bringing in Peyton Manning. Now please make the necessary precautions if the worse should happen again.