Gary Kubiak not ready to name starting QB for playoff opener
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The morning after the Denver Broncos earned the AFC's top seed in the postseason, coach Gary Kubiak said Monday he's not ready to name a starting quarterback for the team's playoff game in two weeks and that either Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler can get the team where it wants to go.
Manning, who had not played since Nov. 15, entered Sunday's 27-20 winover the San Diego Chargers with just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Broncos scored on four possessions when Manning was in the game to rally from a 13-7 deficit to the victory that earned the Broncos home-field advantage in the playoffs.
"I won't say anything,'' Kubiak said. "I'm very proud of our football team. We've got a few days off here, I've got a lot of things I need to do as a coach right now, I'm still up there trying to evaluate a lot of things. I've got nothing for you [Monday], so we'll just get ready to go and we'll go back to work Thursday.''
Other than those players who need medical treatment, Kubiak gave the players three days off. The Broncos will return to the practice field Thursday.
"I have no timeline -- I'm focused right now on how I'm going to get the football team, how we're going to approach next week, especially as we sit here and wait on our next opponent,'' Kubiak said. " ... We'll settle down, get some schedules together and go back to work Thursday.''
Following Sunday's game Manning said; "I don't know, we've got two weeks before we play again, we'll see how I feel [Monday], we'll see how my foot feels. I got a good welcome back to on the field football, somebody hit me hard and left a little message as he was getting back up ... I've got to see how I feel [Monday].''
Kubiak said Monday he expected Manning would come to the team's facility during the day and get treatment on his left foot. Manning has said he had been troubled by plantar fasciitis for "a while,'' and he suffered a torn plantar fascia in the Broncos' Nov. 8 loss in Indianapolis.
"I think everything was OK, [Manning] played under center, played in the gun, played both, but he's been doing that the last couple weeks ... I wouldn't say we went in saying let's sit in the gun, it was we're ready to go,'' Kubiak said. "I think he's OK.''
Since Manning was removed from the Nov. 15 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, Kubiak has routinely first met with Manning and Osweiler to outline that particular week's decision at quarterback, then told the team who the starting quarterback would be for the next game and then made a public pronouncement.
He is expected to follow the same procedure this time around and several Broncos players said following Sunday's win over the Chargers that they hoped, and expected, Kubiak to tell the team this week. The Broncos are expected to practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Broncos would then begin their specific preparations for their next opponent Monday. The Broncos will play the lowest remaining seed after this weekend's games, so they will face either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the winner between the Chiefs and Houston Texans.
"Our players will not be in the dark -- I will never put them in the dark,'' Kubiak said Monday. "They'll know exactly what we're doing, exactly where we're heading. I think our players deserve a lot of credit because they've responded to both.''
Asked if he was concerned about potential uncertainty at quarterback while getting ready for a playoff game, Kubiak said: "I don't have any concern, because we always have direction, they know. We get together and we've got direction. They also understand through the course of this season what has taken place with our team and how we've handled it and the fact it has taken all of us -- they understand that.''