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Osweiler Learning from 'Front-Row Seat'

Posted Dec 30, 2013

Independent Analyst Andrew Mason breaks down Brock Osweiler's performance Sunday in Oakland.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jacob Tamme's one-handed catch of a fourth-quarter pass Sunday was so spectacular that it made ESPN's top 10 highlights on that night's SportsCenter -- even though an instant-replay challenge reversed it into an incompletion.

But the man at the trigger of the play didn't see one of the most jaw-dropping near-receptions in recent Broncos history, one that was nullified because Tamme barely missed getting two feet in bounds. He saw a throw that didn't go exactly where it wanted to go, one of two near-misses that gnawed at him in the moments after his 30 minutes of work in Denver's 34-14 win at Oakland.

"I know there were a couple of throws I'd like to have back -- maybe not rush as much, because I know I can make some of those deep throws," said Osweiler. "The one to Bubba (Caldwell), and the one to Tamme down the sideline, I know I can put that where it needs to be to be caught. 

"But I think that's something that will come with time (and) just comfort level on the field."

Osweiler finished the game with 85 yards on 9-of-13 passing, an 87.0 quarterback rating and some nimble moves under a heavy pass rush, although he absorbed two sacks. His first touchdown drive in the regular season will have to wait for another day, but he didn't suffer a three-and-out until the barely-missed connection to Tamme. Had that play been made, the offense would have finished with an average of at least 33.6 yards per possession under Osweiler's direction -- a solid building block when coupled with no giveaways.

Osweiler began by leaning heavily on his tight ends, who made heavy use of quick out routes to which Osweiler could check down. Osweiler's first seven completions went to his tight ends: two apiece to Virgil Green, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen and one to Julius Thomas before he found Caldwell for a 19-yard gain. 

At first, the pace was more deliberate, and Osweiler took his time in the huddle and leading his team to the line of scrimmage. As he continued to work through the third and fourth quarters, the pace picked up, and he tested the Raiders -- and himself -- downfield.

"I guess the best comparison is if you go from my very first preseason game (in 2012) to now with how comfortable I am in the offense, it's night and day," said Osweiler. "I really felt like I belonged in the offense, and that the game has slowed down. There's definitely some stuff to build upon."

But just as valuable as the repetitions has been the experience of watching Peyton Manning's record-breaking season and learning what he can apply from the 16-year veteran's famously meticulous nature.

"Without question, having a front-row seat to the whole thing has just taught me so many things about this game that I'll be table to take with me for my whole career," Osweiler said.

"One thing would be game management. How Peyton runs the offense on the field. Mike (middle linebacker) points and hot (reads), and if they go to cover-zero, what check you make. 

"(There are) a lot of things that a lot of guys have to have a negative experience on the field to learn from, where, hopefully, I don't have to have that negative experience, because I'm getting to see how to do it the right way."

That is key to Osweiler's development. Whether it's in an emergency situation or years down the line after Manning's retirement, the Broncos want the smoothest possible transition. 

If he can avoid those "negative experiences" to which he refers, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway's stated goal of winning from "now on" has a better chance at being realized.