After helping lift the Denver Broncos to the playoffs (and eventually a win in Super Bowl 50) behind Peyton Manning during the 2015-2016 season, Brock Osweiler was viewed as one of the league’s up-and-coming young quarterbacks before a disastrous tenure with the Houston Texans sent his career spiraling in the wrong direction. Now that he’s had a taste of being the starter once more, he has no intention of letting that go without a fight.
Osweiler has started the past three games for the Miami Dolphins following Ryan Tannehill’s mysterious shoulder injury and has played better than most expected. He led the Dolphins to a surprise victory over a dangerous Chicago Bears defense and has kept Miami competitive in games against Detroit and Houston, two playoff contenders. He’s also held Miami’s offense afloat while the defense has all but collapsed over the past few contests.
According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Osweiler has approached each of these games with the mentality that he is playing for a starting job and much more. “Every single week, in my eyes, is the Super Bowl. Every single week is the biggest game out there because this sport is so special and you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity. So when you do get the opportunity, shoot, I play every single play like it’s my last. I put laser focus on every single play, and I’m playing as hard as I possibly can so hopefully I never have to go back to the bench.”
Through three games, Manning’s former understudy has put up statistical production that overshadows Tannehill’s despite an inferior win-loss record. Osweiler has led Miami’s offense to 25.0 points per game, 283.0 passing yards per game, 411.0 total yards per game and a 43.9 3rd down conversion rate, though his win-loss record sits at 1-2 due mostly to Miami’s collapse on the defensive side of the ball.
For comparison, through Miami’s first five games of the season, Tannehill commanded an attack that put up just 19.8 points per game, 192.2 passing yards per game, 288.2 total yards per game, and a 30.9 3rd down conversion rate, though Tannehill’s win-loss record was a superior 3-2.
Osweiler further elaborated on his wish to retain his starting role, saying, “I think your mentality in this league is when you get your opportunity to play, you never give that guy his job back. That has to be your mentality, and if that’s not your mentality, then you’re just in the wrong business. And that’s nothing personal against anybody. But if you don’t have that competitive spirit, this isn’t the league for you.”
Whether or not Tannehill returns from injury and jumps back in to captaining this ship could depend heavily on Osweiler’s performance this week against the New York Jets, a game for which Tannehill has already been ruled out due to his shoulder ailment. Then again, if Tannehill fails to recover properly, Osweiler could remain the starter by default.