DENVER (CBS4) – Jeff Legwold, a staff writer for ESPN and ESPN.com, has covered the Denver Broncos for years for the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. He’s also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors since 1999.
He stopped by CBS4 to answer some questions from CBS4’s Gary Miller about what to expect from the Broncos in the divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, and what the future holds.
1. Whose offense to we see on Sunday, the Bronco offense, or the Peyton Manning offense?
Jeff Legwold: I’ve said Bronco offense all year. I almost get offended if you call it something else. But I would think he is healthy enough, Peyton that is, to see him under center, to see him do the shotgun when they want to; but I think you’ll see something closer to San Diego, which was about 40 percent of the snaps under center than we did, say, Week 3, Week 4, when it was two and three snaps under center.
2. Is it fair to say that if the Broncos have their way Peyton throws the ball no more than 25 times in this game? And what should we expect from Manning?
JL: I think they expect, and what we’ve seen on the practice field, is he is at least moving better than he has since September. So I think that tells you, A — how bad the foot was, and how long it has bothered him; and then B — that their intention is to play the offense how they wanted to all season, which is under center, the bigger variety … I think that if you did get between 25 and 28 attempts, I think that’s exactly what they would be looking for.
3. Can you see any scenario under which Brock Osweiler might replace Manning in this game?
JL: I think if (Osweiler) was healthier, I think it would come sooner. I don’t think you’re going to see another Kansas City scenario where … if he got into trouble, even Peyton Manning, they wouldn’t let it go three, four interceptions, I don’t think. But again, Brock Osweiler has to show them he’s a little more healthy than he did early in the week. They expect that to happen, but until they see it you can’t plan on using him as a full-timer if he’s not ready to be it.
4. To what extent is Osweiler banged up, and did that play any role in the decision to start Manning?
JL: I don’t think it played a role in the decision but I do think it plays a role in how they approach it from here. If they were both healthy I think you would see, if anything even looks like Peyton’s foot isn’t ready, or gets worse during the game, I think they would have made the move sooner if Brock was healthier. Now if he shows them by the end of the week and they feel good and he’s the number two, then I think they proceed as planned. But you know he’s had three injuries in seven starts, so that’s a total you’ve got to keep an eye on.
5. If the Broncos lose, is it the end of Manning in Denver?
JL: I think it would be awfully hard to see him coming back … Peyton has always said that the last game would have no bearing on what his decision would be, but his mannerisms, his body language say that this might be it for him.
6. Is Osweiler the quarterback of the future for the Broncos?
JL: I think that they’d like to, but if the price is too high that answer would probably be no.