AFC Notes: Manning, Tannehill, McCarron, Pats

Thanks to unimpressive showings over the last two weeks, including in Sunday’s 15-12 loss to Oakland, Brock Osweiler‘s hold on the Broncos’ starting quarterback job looks tenuous. Furthering the possibility of an eventual switch back to Peyton Manning is that head coach Gary Kubiak was reluctant Monday to name a starter for this Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. Kubiak had announced Osweiler as the starter the previous four Mondays, and as Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today writes, he could be leaving open the possibility of Manning returning to practice this week and ultimately reclaiming the job.

Manning has been out since mid-November with a plantar fascia injury, but he is making progress in his recovery, according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post.

More from the AFC:

  • Since 2012, the Dolphins have invested a top 10 pick, a contract worth up to $96MM and 60 starts in quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, they still don’t know whether he’s their solution under center, according to James Walker of ESPN. With Miami likely to bring in a new coaching staff and install a new offensive scheme during the offseason, Walker believes Tannehill needs to finish strong this year to impress the oncoming regime and avoid having to deal with competition for his job as early as next season. Walker does note, though, that Tannehill will likely to get one to two more seasons to prove to the Dolphins whether he’s their answer at QB.
  • Even though Pro Bowl-caliber starting quarterback Andy Dalton is potentially out for the season, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson isn’t going to stop relying on the team’s passing game down the stretch. On A.J. McCarron, who will fill in for Dalton, Jackson said (via Jim Owczarski of, “We pay him to win games. So whatever it takes for him to win, that’s what he’s going to do. If you guys think he’s going to turn around and hand it off 70 times to win a game, then you guys are mistaken.”
  • Patriots linebacker Jonathan Freeny dislocated his right thumb and part of his wrist in the team’s 27-6 win over Houston on Sunday, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports. The Pats hope to have Freeny back by year’s end, per Reiss.
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