ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The number 18 emblazoned on an orange and blue jersey is iconic. The 6’8 frame of the man wearing number 17 is unmistakable.
But in two weeks, the rookie quarterback duo will join Manning and Osweiler in taking snaps under center at Broncos training camp – and will compete for spots on the team’s final 53 man roster.
And for Dysert and Katz, it’s an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and showcase their skillsets in a competitive environment as they both look to make their NFL names.
Dysert, the team’s seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft, and Katz, who signed with the Broncos this spring as an undrafted free agent, impressed Head Coach John Fox with their mental readiness and composure during their initial stints with the team.
“Both these guys (Katz and Dysert) are real smart, real sharp guys,” Fox said during rookie minicamp in May. “They’ll get brought up to speed pretty quick between (Osweiler) and (Manning). But I think they’ll hold their own. They’re sharp guys and very impressive.”
The gap between starter and rookie is sizeable.
It’s a gap of 224 NFL regular season games, 59,487 passing yards, 436 touchdown passes that Manning has recorded.
But being around Manning’s wealth of football knowledge and experience makes for a premier learning environment – and Manning has taken time to share some of his expertise with Dysert and Katz.
“It’s been really good to see Peyton taking time to help (Dysert and Katz), too,” Quarterbacks Coach Greg Knapp said during minicamp in June. “He’s very conscious about trying to pass on some of the stuff he’s learned to the young guys to help expedite their career.”
Dysert commented on how beneficial the Broncos’ quarterback culture is for a rookie – noting that he wants to be “a sponge” around Manning and also citing Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway as another influence to learn from.
“John Elway is obviously one of the greatest players to play the game – and Peyton – so I have two great mentors to learn from here,” Dysert said during rookie minicamp. “I couldn’t be in a better spot. I just want to learn from these guys as much as I can and take as much from them as I can and just run with the opportunity when I get it.”
Although both players have yet to take an official NFL snap, they bring decorated college resumes to the Broncos.
Dysert threw for 12,016 yards and 73 touchdowns – and rushed for 665 yards and 12 touchdowns – as a four-year starter at Miami (OH).
In his senior season at San Diego State, Katz threw for 1,348 yards and 13 touchdowns against just four interceptions – and rushed for 287 yards and four touchdowns – before his season came to an end with a lower leg injury in the eighth game of the season.
The injury has since healed and Katz is now excited about the opportunity of competing at training camp, which he noted will help Dysert and himself take strides as football players as they embark upon their NFL careers.
“(The competition) is why I like the situation here,” Katz said during rookie minicamp. “The main thing is, both of us, we're just going to come in here and work and try to learn the playbook as fast as we can, and just keep getting better every day.”