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Mile High Report Mailbag: Wizard of Oz edition

This week I'll be discussing the ability of Brock Osweiler, DeMarcus Ware's playing time, and the 2nd most important Bronco.

Speaking right now, Brock could step in and I believe fall into the top 1/3 of the league when it comes to production and comparisons to other quarterbacks.

When it comes to ability the sky is the limit.  He has the strong arm, he's athletic, he doesn't take big hits despite his large frame.  There have been lots of quarterbacks that have had the ability though, and many of them flamed out and never amounted to much.  For Oz to become a top tier quarterback he must become a Wizard of the game.  Peyton Manning doesn't have the strongest arm, doesn't move all that well, but has absolutely dominated the league because he understands the game and makes good decisions.

I see glimpses, whether it be checking to the run on a light box count or identifying the hot read on a blitz, or even knowing the one on one matchups outside and having the discipline to hold the safety with his eyes.  Overall, he has improved and I believe will continue to improve.  Some of this improvement will come from more live action and experience.  It's one thing to intellectualize information in a box, it's another to apply this information in live game action when everything is moving so fast.

Brock can become an elite QB someday, but all that depends on him continuing to be a student of the game.

Ware can be an every down player, but for him to be the most impactful, the Broncos should give him a breather from time to time.  Going back to a healthier season (2012) Ware played about 84% of the snaps.  That sounds like a good number to me.  In the end, the Broncos are paying him 10 million a season.  That is not the kind of money you give a part timer.  He adds another dimension to the defense and along with Von Miller gives Jack Del Rio the option of utilizing more odd man fronts.

One thing to point out, the Broncos can keep him fresh by limiting his practice time during the week.  John Fox is pretty good at giving guys rest during the season.

My first reaction was to say Von Miller.  Football Outsiders had a ridiculous stat about the difference in the quality of our pass defense with him in the lineup, and with him out.  But with DeMarcus Ware and the depth/quality of pass rushers in reserve, I think the defense could still be borderline dominant without him.

My answer is Ryan Clady.  I don't care how how decent Chris Clark may have played, it was a coin flip against better rushers whether or not he would keep Peyton clean.  If Clady goes down you have to reshuffle an offensive line that has already been shuffled.  The quality of depth behind the starting 5 is disconcerting so in the end, I believe Ryan Clady is the 2nd most important Bronco on the roster.

Random Thoughts and Observations

- DT Jurel Casey was just extended by the Titans to the tune of 4 years and 36 million with 20.5 million guaranteed. That's about 9 million per.  Why is this important?  With Pot Roast coming into a contract year with a lot of other Broncos a monster year will put him in line for a similar contract.  I can almost guarantee with the depth at that position and the needs we have elsewhere, there is no chance Pot Roast is getting paid by the Broncos.

- Speaking of monster contracts, Dez Bryant is in line for one with the Cowboys which will definitely impact what the Broncos would have to pay Demaryius Thomas.  If you're wondering why a deal has not been made yet between the Broncos and DT, ponder this.  With another 1400 yard 10+ TD season, Thomas would become only the 3rd WR in NFL history to accomplish that feat for at least three consecutive seasons.  Marvin Harrison (1999-2002) and Jerry Rice (1993-1995) are the other two.  I'm guessing Demaryius and his agent are betting on themselves and I have to say it looks like a winning bet.

- From my understanding, Matt Prater's contract will not affect the cap until he becomes part of the active roster again.  If Brandon McManus were to hit his audition out of the park, I would prefer the Broncos to dump Prater, his drinking issues, and that bloated contract.