As Gary Kubiak opened his press conference with, “obviously the topic of the day is our quarterback.”

On Thursday morning, Kubiak addressed his team, and then the media, informing them that Peyton Manning would be the Denver Broncos starter come next week. And while most everybody expected as much, it’s still the biggest news in town.

What makes the decision so interesting is that it truly was a decision. Two reasonable people could make convincing arguments for both quarterbacks, and nobody would be wrong; both guys probably do deserve to start.

On the one hand, you’ve got a legendary figure in the league, who’s played at some of the highest levels the game has ever seen for nearly two decades; on the other hand, the Broncos wouldn’t be in this position, with the No. 1 seed, if it wasn’t for Osweiler.

As our own Doug Ottewill asked on Wednesday, are the Broncos putting Drew Bledsoe back in the game for Tom Brady?

Only time will tell.

But here we are, about ready to start one of the most important postseason runs in Broncos history, and it is Peyton Manning’s team once again.

Here’s what the team had to say after the news came out:

Kubiak on the decision to start Manning:

“I just do what I think is best for the football team. From that standpoint, that’s how I make the decision. The good news is for our football team that a lot of people have been involved and contributed to where we are right now. I feel really good about this. I feel good about how far Peyton has come, where he’s at physically, mentally and everything. I could see it happening throughout the course of the last two weeks. I’m excited for him to get going. Our football team is excited as a team with the challenges that we have ahead.”

Kubiak on Manning’s foot:

“Everything that I’ve been told is that it’s going to take some time and some rest after the season to get totally 100 percent. What I’ve seen physically from watching him work, him practice and watching him go about his business the past two week, I know one thing: He’s doing everything that I’ve seen him do from the start when we got started this season with the way that he’s throwing the ball and the way that he’s moving around. I don’t have any doubt. He doesn’t have any doubt. That’s a good thing right now where we are. As far as the rest that he’s going to need eventually for it to heal 100 percent, that’s going to take place after the season.”


Kubiak on who was involved in the decision:

“I have to make those decisions. I have a lot of great football people around me. Anything that I do in this business in any position, I have a lot of people that I trust in, pull from and listen to, but ultimately I have to go make decision that I think is best for the football team. For me personally, talking to [Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager] John Elway, he’s been in every football game, battle and highs and lows that you can be in this league. That’s a great guy for me to have the opportunity to sit down with every day. Not just through certain situations, but through all situations.”

Kubiak on how much experience factored into the equation:

“That’s obvious, but I think it’s about what I’ve seen physically, what I’ve seen in him in the last few weeks and how far he’s come. Watching him practice today I feel so good because I know exactly where he is right now. All of those things are obvious: Time on the job, a big game, playoff games. We understand all of that, but really it’s always been about him physically and this is the best place that he’s been in.”

Kubiak on how the team responded to the decision:

“I think our team is very professional. They all know that we all have a job to do. When we walk out of that room, we’re all on the same page and going in one direction. I would say that they’re very professional anytime that I have to go in there and we have to make decisions or things of this nature that we’ve done here today. They’re all business. They’re back to work today. The guys that are needing to concentrate on getting healthy are doing that. The guys that were back to work out there were very focused on what we’re doing. We’re just continuing our process of staying positive and getting ready to go.”

Manning on being named the starter:

“It’s always more fun to be part of the practices and being able to play. That certainly beats rehabbing kind of on your own, like I’ve said before. It was good to be back out there today and work with the guys. I’m just looking forward to being ready to contribute.”

Manning on if the games mean a little more after he missed so many:

“Yeah, certainly I guess I would have to say, just like four years ago—the last time I missed significant time—anytime something is taken away from you due to health, it does. even though I’ve never left like I’ve taken it for granted, being healthy and being able to play—when you’re not out there playing, it certainly does remind you how fortunate you are when you have the opportunity to be healthy and be ready to play. That would be my message to all players out there. When they are healthy, be grateful for it and don’t take it for granted, because when you’re not, it’s certainly not as much fun.”

Osweiler’s reaction to the decision:

“I would say that there’s a little bit of disappointment as a competitor, as someone that loves being on the field with his teammates and loves giving everything that he has to this sport. It’s hard to hear that you’re not going to be the one playing. However, I’m a big team player. If [Head] Coach [Gary Kubiak] feels that Peyton gives this team the best chance to win in the playoffs, I fully support that. I stand behind Peyton, I stand behind Coach and I stand behind this team. You’re going to see the same exact guy out of me that you’ve seen the whole season. The bottom line is that I just care about this football team winning games. If Coach thinks Peyton gives the team the best chance, then I fully support that.”

Osweiler on if he would be the starter if they didn’t have five turnovers:

“Would have, could have, should have. Who knows? At the end of the day, facts are facts. I didn’t finish the game. Peyton is going to start in the playoffs. That’s something that I support 100 percent. At the end of the day, I just care about this football team and this football team winning games. I’m here to support every single guy in this locker room. Once again, that’s what makes this football team so special. We’re all in everyone’s corner. We all support each other. At the end of the day, I just care about this football team winning games.”

C.J. Anderson on the decision:

“No reaction, it’s just time to go to work. [Head Coach Gary] Kubiak told us that Peyton was going to be the starter going into the playoffs. He also said that [QB] Brock [Osweiler] will be ready because you never know what’s going to happen. Like I’ve said before, we have plenty of depth on this roster. We’re just happy no matter who’s at the helm. They’re going to lead us where we need to go. We have to do our job behind them.”

Malik Jackson on if it’s good to see Manning back:

“I’m happy for him, but as long as you win, it doesn’t matter. He was feeling better, so [Head] Coach [Gary Kubiak] put him in. I don’t know everything that happened, but I thought [QB] Brock [Osweiler] was doing a great job. He did a great job when he had the reins, but P.M. is a Hall of Famer. He’s going to play. It is what it is. I don’t really pay too much attention to it.”

Emmanuel Sanders on if Manning is different since his return:

“Today, [WR Demaryius] DT [Thomas] and I were teasing him a little bit, saying, ‘Man, we haven’t seen you smile like that in about five or six weeks.’ I know that he’s happy to be back and everybody is happy for him. Peyton has been a standup guy to this whole team and this entire organization. You guys want to make it about him, but we have a big time playoff game coming up. We find out who our opponent is on Saturday and I’m just looking forward to that.”

Aqib Talib on if the locker room was ever divided over the quarterbacks:

“I mean, [QB] Peyton [Manning] was hurt. He was hurt. It was a situation where your starting quarterback got hurt. Forget how he was playing, he was hurt. The backup quarterback had to come in and play. He came in and did a [heck] of a job. The starting quarterback is back and healthy. He came in and played well. It’s time for him to get his job back. We weren’t divided at all—he was hurt. He couldn’t play. There wasn’t a reason to be divided.”

T.J. Ward on how the team reacted to the quarterback situation:

“I think we’ve always focused on the end of the tunnel. Whatever is going on right now, we have to work through and we have to get through it whether it’s the quarterback, safety, corner, guard, center or whatever. It seemed that every position was out at some time during the year, but our main goal is to get in the playoffs. After that, there’s another season. We have a three game season to win a championship, so take it one game at a time.”