Wednesday's Peyton Manning appearance was over a month in the making.
Coach Gary Kubiak decided earlier this week that Brock Osweiler will play in the Pittsburgh game on Sunday but Manning showed up on the practice field anyway. He's been on out since Nov. 15 for a plantar fascia tear in his left foot. Kubiak called this return a step in the right direction.
"We had some work last week, which he felt good about, I felt good about," Kubiak said in a Wednesday press conference. "But I thought we came out of the week pretty good. I said, 'Let's take the next step getting out there, you know, with the team.'"
Officially, Manning was limited. He looked good in individual work and threw the ball with velocity, and on target.
No. 18 did some 7-on-7 with the scout team and worked through a defensive period. As expected, he's easing into the return.
Kubiak said Manning will do more work on Thursday. Coach would not discuss the quarterback scenario beyond the Steelers game.
Manning spent some time in a cast, and a boot since his last official appearance, when he threw four interceptions in the Kansas City Chiefs game.
Osweiler was on the field with Manning and said it was strange watching the Broncos' lead quarterback with the second team, but it was great to have him there. Osweiler worked with the starters in hopes of reducing sacks and interceptions. He plans to play to the best of his ability on Sunday but doesn't think of the game as an audition.
"I'm simply looking at it as it's another football game. Another football game against a great opponent on the road. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us. And I'm just focused on doing my job this week. And whatever happens in the future happens in the future. But that really doesn't pertain to me," said No. 17.
Osweiler is 3-1 in wins this season and Kubiak has high expectations for the upcoming weekend.
"We won't prepare him any differently. We worked with noise and those type of things. This is a great environment, they say tough. I think its great. It's a great place to pay," Kubiak said. "It's just another great challenge. If you're going to be a good quarterback in this league you got to be able to do it all over the place. So it's another challenge for him."
The Broncos play the Steelers in Pittsburgh at 2:25 on Sunday afternoon.