John Elway didn’t exactly choose Trevor Siemian over Brock Osweiler, but time has a funny way of simplifying narratives. And the Broncos’ general manager came out the “big winner” on Monday night as Siemian proved to be the smarter and savvier quarterback as Denver easily bested the Houston Texans, 27-9.
Osweiler, meanwhile, was dismal as he has been much of this season, finishing just 22 of 41 for 131 yards, a whopping 3.20 yards per attempt against the disruptive Denver defense, the second-lowest passing total in NFL history for a QB who threw it 40-or-more times.
In actuality, of course, the Broncos’ job was Osweiler’s if he wanted it, albeit at a greatly reduced stipend than Houston was offering in free agency. And that’s why the lanky signal caller is now calling South Texas home.
A simple business decision, however, has been framed in acrimony and the talk leading up to the Texans’ visit to Mile High centered around revenge, not only for Osweiler and Elway but also for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who was fired by Houston back in 2013.
For Osweiler, he is supposed to be upset at the franchise that drafted him and groomed him behind Peyton Manning because the Broncos benched him during their run to the Super Bowl last season.
Elway, meanwhile, was left at the altar by the QB he had earmarked as the successor to a future Hall of Famer and the leader of the reigning Super Bowl champions, while Kubiak was given his pink slip in Houston shortly after suffering a mini-stroke, a health scare that may have foreshadowed his complex migraine issue that kept him from coaching his team last week in a loss at San Diego.
And while all were likely somewhat upset at the time of their dust-ups, each has downplayed any issues and both Osweiler and Kubiak actually spoke very highly of their former homes leading up to the game.
“I have nothing but respect and appreciation for John Elway,” Osweiler claimed. “He gave me my first opportunity in the National Football League. He stuck with me for four years and really at the end of the day for John, nothing but love, respect and appreciation.”
Kubiak played up the chance he got in Houston while also lauding the Texans’ current team.
“We’re facing a good team, that’s what I know,” Kubiak said. “Obviously, I respect the organization. (Texans CEO) Bob McNair gave me a tremendous opportunity as a coach and I’ll always cherish that.”
Osweiler, though, is now a villain in Denver and as expected 70,000 of his closest friends booed the heck out of him, the minute he stepped on the field even though very few of them would ply their own trades with their current employers if offered more money by a competitor.
In an emotional game like football, though, logic is often left in the rear-view mirror.
So, none of the protagonists in this little morality play are really basking in any revenge although Elway is likely breathing a sigh of relief that Houston anted up the $72 million to erase a possible mistake.
Especially after watching the football escape Osweiler’s empty hand as it was moving forward early in the fourth quarter. Those optics have defined the 6-foot-8 signal caller’s performance and perhaps his upside.
That said, Siemian is not exactly fitting into any triumvirate in Denver lore with Elway and Manning either so the GM needs to be focused on improving the Denver Broncos and embracing the unintended consequence of Osweiler spurning him which has made his team better in the long run.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.