A BROCKWORK ORANGE – Robert Volpe

Brock Osweiler’s long anticipated debut as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos was augmented by the fact that it was also his 25th birthday. The young Osweiler, had not started a regular season game since week one of the 2012 season so technically this was his second NFL start, but who’s counting. On Sunday he led the team to a 17-15 victory over the Chicago Bears, in Chicago.

Already the nick names are rolling in. “Brock & Roll,” “Abrockcalypse,” “A Brockwork Orange,” “The Brocketeer,” “Brocket Launcher,” “Kid Brock,” “Brock Star,” “Brocket Man,” and my personal favorite, “Plan B.”

Bronco fans felt excitement, mixed with anxiety with Osweiler taking over the leadership of the team. Although he performed well during preseason no one knew what to expect from him under the strain of a full speed regular season game, on the road, and in cold conditions. Adding to the stress he was facing a Bears team that was on a roll, having won 4 of their last 6 games and Jay Cutler was playing some of the best football of his career. Oh yeah – and he was stepping in for a future Football Hall Of Fame, five time MVP, NFL legend. Most mortals would be soiling their Depends before the first snap.

Osweiler didn’t buckle under the pressure. Over the last week his team mates said Osweiler takes control in the huddle and is extremely confident.

He did what was asked of him. He ran Gary Kubiak’s offense. There was nothing spectacular about the 6-foot-8 passer’s play, but he didn’t make mistakes and moved the offense. Most of his 250 yards passing (20 of 27, two TDs, no INTs) came on short crossing routes and quick first reads. The Broncos didn’t ask him to take shots down the field in his first career start. He ran Kubiak’s preferred offense from under center for the majority of the contest and displayed the ability to utilize the bootleg.

The run game improved having the quarterback under center. In fact 51 out of 68 plays were from under center, to be exact.. That is the way Kubiak’s offense was designed to run. The hybrid “pistol” that Peyton Manning was running, was a bastardized version of Kubiak’s vision and wasn’t working for the run game. Something about the timing of the O line blocking schemes just wasn’t in sync.

While Osweiler didn’t do anything spectacular, he did manage the team well. He also found a new best friend in the passing game. Vernon Davis had his best game in a Broncos jersey, catching all six targets for 68 yards. Tight ends are a big part of Kubiak’s offense, so this could be a sign of things to come for Davis. Osweiler targeted tight ends 12 times in his 27 pass attempts — 146 total yards.

Will Peyton be healed up enough to take the field next week? Not likely. The undefeated New England Patriots come to Denver next Sunday. The Patriots are the major obstacle in the way of the Bronco’s quest for a Super Bowl appearance this year. Tom Brady is playing arguably the best he’s ever played and he has had some amazing years, including a 16 – 0 regular season record in 2007. If you wanted to see what kind of metal Brock Osweiler and Gary Kubiak are made of, you only have to wait until Sunday to find out.

By the way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROCK!!!