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Originally published January 30, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Page modified January 30, 2014 at 11:50 PM

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Super Bowl quarterbacks: the long and short of it

Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, a former Gonzaga basketball recruit, is 6 feet 8 and the tallest active NFL player. This week he’s been mimicking 5-11 Russell Wilson.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Denver’s backup quarterback, Brock Osweiler, was a former Gonzaga basketball recruit, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise when you see how tall he is.

The 6-foot-8 Osweiler is the tallest active NFL player heading into Super Bowl XLVIII, and the tallest in Broncos history.

Odd, then, that he has been given the task of imitating Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, generously listed at 5 feet 11. Osweiler admitted this week it has been a challenge.

Does height ultimately matter when it comes to the success of quarterbacks?

“That’s hard to say,” Osweiler said. “I believe every quarterback has a special skill-set, especially in the National Football League. There is a reason why (Wilson) is in the NFL. There is a reason why a team drafted him and signed him. There are a lot of things that you can’t grade or weigh or judge at the combine. ... I think Russell is a perfect example.”

Some feared Osweiler would outgrow his position. That issue came up in high school, when he was a two-sport star in Montana debating what sport to pursue.

“That was something that was brought up,” he said. “You know, ‘Hey, if you continue to grow and you’re 6-8, 6-9, 6-10, you might be too tall.’ Fortunately, I stopped growing a little after 6-7, so it wasn’t an issue.”

Height can’t be taught, of course, and Osweiler’s uniqueness led to experimentation this season. In a Week 12 loss to the New England Patriots, he was used on the field-goal blocking unit.

“We practiced it one time just in case that situation came up, and it did a few weeks later,” he said. “Unfortunately we were unsuccessful.”

The loss came in overtime, on a field goal.

Peyton’s perfect QB

Peyton Manning declined to play along when asked to name his top three quarterbacks of all time, not including the Manning family.

“Me and my buddies don’t discuss that,” he said with a laugh.

Manning did, however, volunteer how he would assemble the perfect quarterback. Different traits would include John Elway’s arm, Dan Marino’s release, Troy Aikman’s dropback, Brett Favre’s scrambling ability, Joe Montana’s poise in two-minute situations, and one last thing.

“Naturally, my speed,” he joked.

Right state of mind

Kicker Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal in the regular season. So what is something that helps him with the job? A degree in psychology from Central Florida.

“It just helps with some of the mental part, as far as not over thinking things,” said Prater, who once made a 73-yarder in practice. “If you have a miss or a missed kick, don’t overanalyze it and just move on.”


• Receiver Andre Caldwell has previous experience in a championship game when he helped Florida win an NCAA title in 2007. But that’s not all. “I’ve played a championship game in every level of my football career,” he said. “From pee-wee, to high school, to college, and now in the NFL. It’s like my fifth championship game.”

• Safety Mike Adams offered some unique praise of Manning on Thursday: “It’s like Picasso; it’s like Michelangelo. He’s painting his picture during the week, and then he puts his finishing touches on it on Sunday.”

• Running back Knowshon Moreno, when asked if he was distracted by an report that the Broncos are unlikely to re-sign him, said: “It’s my first time hearing it, right now. Therefore it’s not a distraction.”

• Manning declined to comment on a reported lawsuit that alleges his brother, E li, the quarterback of the New York Giants, sold fraudulent memorabilia.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or

On Twitter @joshuamayers

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