Thursday’s roundup: Manning to start at QB for Broncos

Englewood, Colo. — Gary Kubiak stuck to his word in naming Peyton Manning his starter even after declaring that Brock Osweiler had done nothing to deserve a demotion.

“Peyton’s our quarterback,” Kubiak said on the day Manning hobbled to the sideline and gave way to his longtime understudy following his fourth interception against Kansas City on Nov. 15. “If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peyton’s our quarterback.”

Manning is healthy and ready to go.

So, he’ll be under center for the Broncos (12-4) in the playoffs.

Kubiak called his quarterbacks into his office Thursday when players returned from a three-day furlough and informed them of his decision.

“I feel really good about this,” Kubiak said. “I feel good about how far Peyton has come, where he’s at physically, mentally. I could see it happening throughout the course of the last two weeks. I’m excited for him to get going.”

Manning, 39, said his left foot is fine now and he’s even refreshed after taking nearly two months off.

He also suffered no lingering effects from Damion Square’s textbook helmet-to-chest hit on Sunday in what he called his welcome-back-to-football moment.

“I felt good going into the game Sunday, had no issues coming out,” Manning said. “And these past couple of days off certainly helped as well.”

Manning praised his backup, saying the Broncos wouldn’t be the AFC’s top seed without him, “but I’m looking forward to being back” calling the shots beginning Jan. 17 in the divisional round.

Osweiler reacted the way Kubiak and GM John Elway hoped he would: with disappointment and determination.

“I stand behind Peyton. I stand behind Coach. I stand behind this team,” Osweiler said. “You’re going to see the same exact guy out of me as you’ve seen the whole season.

Manning missed seven starts because of a torn plantar fascia.

Extra points

Brett Favre, Terrell Owens and Alan Faneca, all first-year eligibles, have made the list of 15 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Morten Andersen (Michigan State) and Tony Dungy (Jackson) also are finalists.

The class of 2016 will be decided on Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl, with inductions scheduled for August.

... Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is a strong candidate to replace Lovie Smith, who was fired Wednesday night.

Licht stressed the Bucs also will explore options outside the organization.

... The Titans interviewed Giants executive Marc Ross and former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist in their search for a new general manager.

... The Giants interviewed defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for their head coaching position.

... Former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone interviewed with Cleveland for its coaching job.

... Beyonce is returning to the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, California.

Last month, Coldplay announced it would perform at the halftime show.

Personnel dept.

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was cited for driving with expired license plates last weekend.

... Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says Adrian Peterson’s lower back injury will not keep him from playing in Sunday’s playoff game against Seattle.

... Jets center Nick Mangold has been added to the Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for the injured Mike Pouncey of the Dolphins.

... Injured Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari could be ready for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game at Washington.