The Denver Broncos announced Thursday that Head Coach Gary Kubiak has told the team that Peyton Manning will be the starting quarterback when the Broncos open their postseason Jan. 17.
Kubiak met with Manning and Brock Osweiler before making the announcement to the team at its Thursday morning meeting, according to the Broncos. The coach says he did what was best for the team. He made the decision based on Manning’s health and his playoff experience.
“I feel really good about this. I feel really good about how far Peyton has come, where he’s at physically, mentally,” Kubiak said. “I’m excited for him to get going.
Manning replaced Osweiler in the third quarter last Sunday when the team was down 13-7. It was Manning's first game action since he left the Kansas City loss on Nov. 15 because of a torn plantar fascia.
This will be Manning’s 24th career playoff start. He’s 11 and 13 in the playoffs.
“There’s no doubt we’ve won 12 games this year. Everybody did their part, everybody contributed at different times. And that’ll certainly be the case for us to have the best chance to advance, starting next weekend,” Manning said. “I can probably write a pretty good story about this past off-season and this season.”
With Manning under center, the Broncos scored 20 points in the last quarter and a half to rally for a 27-20 win that clinched the AFC West title and the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Osweiler said Kubiak pulled him into his office Thursday to tell him the news.
“It’s hard to hear that you’re not going to be the one playing,” Osweiler said in the locker room. “At the end of the day, I just care about this football team winning games.”
Osweiler didn’t practice Thursday because of a hurt knee but he said he’ll be prepared to play next Sunday as if he were the starter.
— Lionel Bienvenu (@lionelbienvenu) January 7, 2016
Kubiak: "We think the world of Brock. He's done a hell of a job." #BroncosCountryPlayoffs
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 7, 2016