clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 things you need to know about Brock Osweiler, the Broncos' very tall QB sensation

The Broncos are one of the NFL's best teams, and suddenly their starting QB is not an NFL legend, but a guy with fewer than 150 career passing attempts. What do we need to know about Brock Osweiler?

Sunday night's primetime matchup between the Patriots and the Broncos was meant to be another huge showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Instead, it served as the nation's introduction into Manning's apparent successor, Brock Osweiler.

Manning's injury thrust Osweiler into a rare situation. The quarterback for one of the NFL's best teams was suddenly somebody who has never played significant snaps at the NFL level.

But Osweiler has proven he's capable of keeping the Broncos among the league's elite -- if not slightly improving their play. The team has won both games Osweiler has started, and Osweiler is outpacing Manning in virtually every category: He's completing a higher percentage of passes, his yards-per-attempt is higher, he has a higher TD percentage and unlike Manning, he's not throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.

Sunday night, Osweiler made several throws an aged Manning doesn't seem capable of making anymore, including a 39-yard strike to Emmanuel Sanders to set up a critical go-ahead TD. Even if Manning gets healthy, the Broncos' best option to win games is probably the 25-year-old rather than the NFL legend.

Osweiler will have a big effect on the rest of the NFL season, but unlike every other quarterback for which that is true, we don't have years and years of pre-existing opinions about him. Let's learn everything we need to know about him!

1. Brock Osweiler is tall

Look, we didn't want to make this No. 1. It's just the rule. The first thing we have to say about Brock Osweiler is that he's tall, and if not, we lose our Sports Talking License.

Indeed, Brock Osweiler is tall, 6'8, taller even than most quarterbacks. He is tied for the tallest QB in NFL history with Dan McGwire, whose other claims to fame include being the younger brother of baseball superstar Mark and being a total draft bust with the Seahawks in the early 90s.

Okay. Brock Osweiler is tall. Got that out of the way.

2. The Broncos have been able to groom Osweiler

Osweiler seems like a new face on the NFL scene, since he'd only thrown 17 NFL passes before taking over Week 10 against Kansas City. But we already have opinions about pretty much every other QB drafted in his class.

The QBs drafted ahead of Osweiler in 2012 all have well-known career arcs. Andrew Luck is the face of the Colts, Robert Griffin was once the face of Washington and has now faded into obscurity, Ryan Tannehill is the Dolphins' franchise QB, for better or worse, Brandon Weeden quickly reached the end of his leash with the Browns, just failed to hold a third-string gig with the Cowboys, and we may never see him play an NFL game again.

We even have opinions about many of the QBs drafted after Osweiler: Russell Wilson has won a Super Bowl, Nick Foles has thrilled Eagles fans and disappointed Rams fans, Kirk Cousins has usurped Griffin in Washington.

Meanwhile, Osweiler has done one thing: Back up Peyton Manning. He was drafted the year the Broncos signed Manning and traded away Tim Tebow. His job has been to be there in case anything went wrong, and until this year, nothing did.

Some might view that as a bummer for Osweiler. Luck, Griffin, Tannehill and Wilson have all earned enormous contracts while Osweiler has sat behind an all-time great, earning less than a million dollars a year.

To Osweiler, it's been a luxury. He's gotten to improve at playing quarterback without a franchise and its fan base banking on his success each and every week. He's gotten to learn from one of the best players in history.

3. Brock Osweiler is tall

Brock Osweiler is tall, and therefore, when he was in high school, he played basketball, a sport for tall people. As a sophomore in high school, Osweiler committed to play basketball at Gonzaga. It was easy to figure out the athletic 6'8 guy could be good at basketball. There are a few YouTube vids of him playing basketball as a youngster in Montana.

It was harder to figure out if he would be good at football, but as more teams watched his tape, he realized -- and Gonzaga realized -- that his future was in football.

When Osweiler was a sophomore backup QB at Arizona State, he briefly considered picking up hoops again, announcing that he would join the Sun Devils' basketball team after football season ended. But when starting QB Steven Threet went down against UCLA, Osweiler stepped in and threw four touchdowns to turn a 17-0 deficit into a 55-34 win, making him once and for all realize football was his only sport.

4. Brock Osweiler just wants to play

Being Peyton's backup for a long time was a blessing, but Osweiler did get antsy with all that time on the bench. In a 2014 blowout against the Raiders, he excitedly took towards the field in eager anticipation of some snaps. He was denied.

Osweiler eventually got in that game, throwing five passes, but the reaction went viral.

"It all happened fast. There was some miscommunication there — are you going in? Am I going in? We've all had a pretty good laugh about it," Osweiler said. "It did (look like he was mad). Obviously everyone wants to play, but no, shoot, everyone's had a good laugh. It's all good."

5. Brock Osweiler is tall

Sunday night wasn't Osweiler's first time on the field for a crucial play in a Pats-Broncos overtime game. In 2013, John Fox called on him to use his unique skill set to make a difference. The 6'8 Osweiler went into the game to attempt to block the Patriots' game-winning field goal attempt in overtime.

It didn't work.

While Osweiler is tall, he isn't a great jumper. And he didn't run forward to attempt the block, which is pretty much the only way you can block a field goal. All things told, he needed to be about 15 feet taller to block that field goal. But still, he was tall.

6. He has a grammar mistake permanently engraved on his body

Since coming to Denver, Osweiler has chosen to play in sleeves, even when his fellow quarterbacks are happy to let their arms breathe.

Photo credit: Chris Humphreys, USA Today Sports

Is it because of the crisp, sometimes chilly Rocky Mountain air? Or is it because he just doesn't want everybody to know he let a grammar-negligent tattoo artist leave an Internet comment on his left bicep?

Photo credit: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

His right arm says "LEAVE YOUR LEGACY." His left?


"LIVE LIFE TO IT'S FULLEST," which means "LIVE LIFE TO IT IS FULLEST." I get that it is hard to always pay attention to grammar, but you might want to get a copy editor before getting something that will be on your body until you die.

7. Brock Osweiler is tall

6'8!

8. Brock Osweiler looks like the dude from the Twilight movies

Osweiler pic: Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports Images. Dude From The Twilight Movies pic: Larry Buscacca, Getty Images

9. Brock Osweiler isn't as tall as we think

Osweiler is often billed as 6'8, but the truth is, he isn't 6'8. When he was measured at the combine, he was proven to actually be 6'6-7/8 inches. Because the NFL Draft Combine is the dumbest thing in the world, this actually helped him overcome some teams' fears that he would be a draft bust like the 6'8 McGwire.

Typically, it is a bad thing for a player to measure in shorter than he was listed by the school but in the case of the lanky Osweiler, measuring in more than an inch shorter should help to ease concerns about his mobility. Osweiler shows surprisingly light feet and flexibility on tape for a quarterback of his size. There is no doubt that he's a unique athlete.

10. Brock Osweiler is very, very, very, very tall

Here is a picture of Brock Osweiler:

Photo credit: Mike Murphy

* * *

SB Nation presents: The most embarrassing fumble of 2015?

Want more NFL highlight video breakdowns? Watch Odell Beckham Jr.'s latest highlight and be sure to subscribe to SB Nation's YouTube channel for new videos including Nuff Said, Semi Elite, Wake Up College Football and more.