I’d like to kick start this profiling of a young quarterback with a question. It’s a question that matters as much and arguably more than any when it comes to evaluating a young, talented and semi-proven player in the NFL. The first thing we must ask ourselves is, will this player ever get the opportunity necessary for them to realize their potential? The answer, in the case of Brock Osweiler, is an emphatic yes.
Truth be told, opportunity is perhaps the most difficult obstacle to overcome, especially when it pertains to the potential for achieving greatness in a league that is overflowing with freak athletes. It is a matter of luck and timing that usually cannot be readily predicted or quantified. Even when you get it, in most cases, there is someone talented enough behind you waiting for their shot should you struggle or get injured.
So, before we even get in to evaluating Osweiler’s talent, which I fully intend to do, I want to first break down the incredible “opportunity” that he has been presented with. Therefore, I present you with my “No Excuses” prospectus. While reading it feel free to give a listen to what I recommend Osweiler adopt as his 2016 motivational theme song. “No Excuses”.
- Osweiler went from having to be the guy that replaces Peyton Manning, to the guy that gets to supplant Brian Hoyer. That’s like being tasked with writing and directing the next Batman movie, only to later wake up and realize you’ve been transported to an alternate universe where Christopher Nolan was never born and you’re given the George Clooney version to follow instead. Yeah, it’s great to get your shot, but less so, when the shadow cast from the guy before you is one that you will likely never step out of.
- He got to study under Peyton freaking Manning for four years. Some would argue Manning was the best to ever play the position. Even if you disagree with that sentiment, you can’t deny that he has one of the greatest football minds of all time behind that massive forehead.
- He now has one of the most QB friendly coaches in the league in Bill O’Brien. Just ask Christian Hackenberg, who swears his futility at the position in 2015 was due to O’Brien’s absence. Osweiler should be chomping at the bit to get started with his new coach.
- He gets to throw to DeAndre Hopkins who could catch passes from anyone. Who wouldn’t want the chance to pair up with such a young, explosive talent? What a nice luxury. Plus, the addition of another dynamic play-maker and pass-catcher in RB Lamar Miller.
- A brand new 4-year contract with $37 million guaranteed coupled with zero threat of starting caliber competition behind him.
This all leads to me to defining the point that should Brock Osweiler fail in his journey, towards becoming a great NFL quarter back, it will not have been a lack of “opportunity” that held him back.
The Next Big Thing?
Standing a towering 6’8’’ tall and weighing in at a solid 240 lbs., this 25-year old former Sun Devil is a monster standing in the pocket. When looking back at his college film, the size disparity he holds over other players makes him look, at times, like a Dad pitching to his son’s little league baseball team. This size advantage could help him in becoming a credible threat in the short run game at the NFL level, while also inspiring a lot of hope for his overall physical durability.
As a pro, while admittedly it’s a small sample size, he has shown some notable flashes of greatest, including a 50-yard bomb to Emmanuel Sander’s that he slung, after wisely pump faking and looking off the safety. However, one small criticism with his throwing motion is that it appears a little slow, especially on shorter passes. He will need to be a little quicker with his release if he wants to be successful, but these are the exact types of mechanical issues that Bill O’Brien can help him correct.
In the seven games that he started for Denver he completed 61.8% of his 275 pass attempts and logged 1,967 yards through the air, while connecting on 10 TD’s. Although, he wasn’t really utilized in the running game very much in these 7 games, not by design anyway, he did post 61 yards on 21 attempts, as well as, securing an additional rushing TD. However, on that particular play, he was obviously looking to pass, but saw a lane and took a nice angle to get across the goal line from 7 yards out.
Nevertheless, this play demonstrated his patience, pocket awareness and vision, in an effort to make a play. Jumping back to his college days, in his second year at ASU, before he was the starter, he rushed 38 times for 124 yards in 6 games. Thus, it would not surprise me if he ran more in Houston, especially in short yardage and goal line situations.
What Were They Thinking?
The Houston Texans were nothing short of a quarterback carousel in 2015. In fact, by seasons end, they had shuffled through four different starters at the position. First, it was Brian Hoyer who was the apparent front runner, after the off-season circus of a competition for the starting job. His appointment as starter was followed by an insincere vote of confidence from the coaching staff, which only lasted about three and a half quarters in Week 1 when he was benched in favor of Ryan Mallett.
Ultimately, Mallett proved as not being the answer and subsequently lost the job back to Hoyer. A benching that really begged the question as to whether either were truly deserving of a starting role with popular opinion being a resounding no. Mallett went on to exact his rage at being demoted by throwing a hissy fit and refusing to board the team plane after the loss. A display of unprofessionalism, which resulted in his immediate dismissal from the team and the signing of UNC alum TJ Yates. A player who had previously been watching the 2015 NFL season from his couch. The Houston quarterback position never seemed to right itself during the season as Hoyer kept getting concussed in between throwing pick sixes, which led to Yates being forced to step in.
Unfortunately, or perhaps mercifully, for Yates, he wound up tearing his ACL soon after. This unfathomable turn of events brought in Brandon Weeden from Dallas, whom despite having the, and I quote “prettiest balls” Jerry Jones had ever seen, was in fact not a very good quarterback and offered zero upside for the 2015 Texan offense. In the end, Hoyer, Mallett, Yates and Weeden were just plain bad.
The point is, after a season like that, its understandable why the Texans felt a desperate need to bring in a young and promising talent at the most important skill position for a team. Especially for a coach like Bill O’Brien, who hangs his hat on his prowess to develop young QB prospects who haven’t been completely tainted. Keep in mind that this is a Texans team who still managed to make the playoffs last year, even with all of that going on, never mind the loss of their star RB Arian Foster, who has since been replaced with the dynamic and hungry for success, Lamar Miller. Simply put, they wanted youth. They wanted upside. Perhaps more importantly, they wanted hope for a potential new face for their franchise and they wanted the speculation about “who their starting QB was” to end.
In my opinion, someone a little more proven and a more certain bet to offer impact production out of the gate would have been nice, but that option didn’t apparently exist for them. Brock Osweiler was the only real choice at the time and a gamble they were obviously okay with taking. For coach O’Brien, he has likely pinned his job security on what success they can have with Osweiler, so we know he is certainly hoping Brock becomes the “next big thing”. The Osweiler journey to Houston was an interesting sequence of events for sure.
In my opinion, the biggest misconception about why the Bronco’s let Brock walk after winning the Super Bowl, with the ghost of Peyton Manning at the helm, is that it was because they didn’t see enough potential in him. I think it was more of a tough business decision made by a team that was strapped for cap space after resigning CJA and being asked to match a ridiculously high offer. They clearly do not need a great quarterback to be successful. For O’Brien’s sake, let’s hope the QB-whispering coach can help Brock live up to the potential that they clearly see in him.
In a dynasty start-up if you missed out on a young QB like; Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston and want to supplement your later round pick-up of an older player like Brady, Brees or Romo. You could do a lot worse than Brock Osweiler. The general consensus on Osweiler seems to be that there are no polarizing truthers or doubters. Merely wait and seer’s. Which is boring. I’m taking a stand and getting in on the ground floor while he’s cheap.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Travis.