ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Brock Osweiler has supplanted Trevor Siemian as the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't publicly announced the switch, both people confirmed coach Vance Joseph informed his players of the QB switch at a team meeting Wednesday morning. The move was first reported by KUSA-TV in Denver.
The Broncos (3-4) visit NFL-leading Philadelphia (7-1) on Sunday.
Siemian has two TD passes and eight interceptions over the Broncos' 1-4 slump, including three ugly interceptions in a 29-19 loss at Kansas City on Monday night that wasted a strong defensive effort.
Osweiler, Peyton Manning's longtime backup, was expected to take over the Broncos QB job last year following Manning's retirement a month after Denver's Super Bowl 50 win. Instead, Osweiler bolted to Houston in free agency for $37 million in guarantees and Siemian won the Broncos job instead.
Siemian went 8-6 last season when the Broncos missed the playoffs, ending a five-year reign atop the AFC West. Osweiler also went 8-6 last year and 1-1 in the playoffs for the Texans, who traded him in the offseason to Cleveland. The Browns released him in the summer and he quickly rejoined the Broncos, who needed a backup after Paxton Lynch sprained his throwing shoulder in the preseason.
Upon his return, Osweiler held an extraordinary news conference filled with honesty, humility and humor. He said he had no regrets for leaving Denver in the first place but was ecstatic to return after an odyssey that included a playoff win, a benching, a blow-up, a trade, the birth of his daughter and a release to go with all those fat paychecks.
"It's kind of like that old deal when you're a little kid and your mom tells you don't touch the hot stove," Osweiler said. "So, what do you have to do as a curious kid? You have to go touch the hot stove and you learn real quick how nice that stove is when it's not hot."
Osweiler said he told his agent he didn't care about any other teams "but if there's an offer from Denver, I don't care if it's a dollar, that's where we're going."
Of course, he's getting much more than that — $16 million this season, 95 percent of it paid by the Browns.
Showing he held no grudges, general manager John Elway declared Denver never would have won Super Bowl 50 without Osweiler, who went 5-2 when Manning was sidelined with a foot injury in 2015.
Elway said at the time that "with everything he went through in Houston and then going to Cleveland, I'm sure he's going to need a little football rehab. We know that. We'll welcome him with open arms and give him some love."
Osweiler agreed with Elway's assessment that Denver's nurturing environment with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and QBs coach Bill Musgrave was the best place for him to get right so he can be a starter again in the NFL someday.
Osweiler swore at the time he'd be a loyal backup, declaring, "This is Trevor's team and I'm the backup."