ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Rookies are often described as "swimming" early in training camp.
Even with the advantage of a rookies-only minicamp earlier in the offseason, when the pads come on and plays are coming in fast and furious, it can get overwhelming at times.
For a quarterback -- the leader of the offense -- all that is taken up another notch.
"There's a lot of information," quarterback Brock Osweiler said. "A lot of stuff in college that you could kind of get away with, you can't get away with anymore. You truly need to know where everybody is on the field -- everybody's assignment, motions, alerts. So there's a lot that goes into the mental aspect as far as going from college to the NFL."
Luckily for Osweiler, he has a four-time NFL MVP in front of him on the depth chart to show him the ropes.
"I got a great situation," he said. "No doubt about it."
Osweiler hasn't shied away from asking questions to fellow quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Caleb Hanie or Adam Weber. He was a team captain in 2011 at Arizona State, starting all 13 games and throwing for 4,036 yards and 26 touchdowns in the process. But he's a backup now, and the backup's job is to watch and learn.
It's a position the rookie is familiar with from his first two seasons with the Sun Devils.
"I've been in the shoes of a backup quarterback before," he said. "I know what you need to do throughout, whether it's a practice or whether it's a game, to make sure that you're still getting better. You've got to listen to the conversations Peyton's having with the coaches and with the receivers. Caleb and Adam are doing that as well. They know quite a bit as well. My ears are open. My eyes are wide. I'm just trying to soak it all in."
One of the biggest lessons he's learned so far has come from Manning: it's all about work ethic.
"The thing about Peyton is he doesn't waste a single minute in any day," Osweiler said. "He utilizes all of his time from the moment he walks into the building to the time that he leaves. For example, we're in the weight room, and normally you do your set, you take a little break. Well, with Peyton, you don't take a break. You're doing some ball-handling drills, some drops -- you're doing something. So I've really learned from him how to utilize all the time in the day."
During training camp, Osweiler's day is filled with practice, meetings, film sessions and plenty of time studying the playbook.
The quarterback said learning such a detailed playbook is the biggest difference between college and the NFL, but five days into camp, he said he's "feeling pretty good."
"I think the biggest thing is we're getting better every day -- really, in camp, that's what you're out here to do," he said. "If you make a mistake, learn from it on the film, clean it up, make sure it doesn't happen again. That's what we're doing."
Through that process, Osweiler said a goal he wrote down before camp was to "perfect at least one thing."
"Whether that's a certain play, a run play, footwork, my throwing motion — get better at something every day," he said. "I think if I do that, all of those little things are going to add up."
While he admitted he hasn't perfected anything quite yet, he feels he has gotten better at a number of things, including his footwork, ball-handling and how he reads through his progressions.
As for his goals for the regular season, Osweiler said he hasn't set anything in particular, other than the fact that as a competitor he hopes to move as high up the depth chart as possible.
During Monday morning's practice, Osweiler made a number of highlight plays. His first came when he evaded pressure in the pocket during team drills and fired a completion to second-year receiver Tyler Grisham. Later in another full-team drill, Osweiler found wide receiver Andre Caldwell for back-to-back completions, one of which went for a touchdown.
The players have a day off from practice on Tuesday before hitting the practice fields again Wednesday afternoon. With the team's first preseason game a little more than a week away, Osweiler is working to live up to the impression Manning had of him even before training camp began.
"Certainly it seems like he's got an excellent work ethic and he's got a ton of ability, there's no question about that," Manning said during OTAs. "There's no question he has a really bright future ahead of him."