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  • Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006
    Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

    By Andrew Mason
    DenverBroncos.com

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Sometimes, you draft a player to fill a specific and immediate need. At others, the marriage of player, skill set and draft position is too serendipitous to resist, no matter what the roster seems to dictate.

    So it was on the last Saturday of April, when the Broncos found themselves with a chance to nab one of the three quarterbacks widely considered to be at the top of many teams' draft boards. Even though incumbent starter Jake Plummer was coming off a season that saw him added to the Pro Bowl roster in January, the Broncos knew that they couldn't afford to pass up former Vanderbilt signal-caller Jay Cutler.

    "This is about getting a player at a premium position," General Manager Ted Sundquist said. "Normally, to get an opportunity like this, you've got to lose 13 or 14 games."

    Instead, all it required was patience, intrepidity and a willingness to answer the phone and make deals. The series of events that led to Cutler's selection actually began more than a year earlier when the Broncos traded out of the 2005 first round to get the Washington Redskins' 2006 opening-round pick. A deal with the Atlanta Falcons converted the Broncos' No. 29 pick into the 15th; a subsequent trade with the San Francisco 49ers allowed the Broncos to turn the No. 22 selection obtained from the Redskins into multiple picks.

    Collectively, the deals gave the Broncos the ammunition to move up to the 11th slot, giving the team the highest pick of the Shanahan era. With a highly regarded quarterback available at that juncture, the decision proved to be an easy one -- and one made independent of the club's thoughts on Plummer.

    "It had nothing to do with how we felt about Jake or how he had played this past season, how we feel he's going to play in the future, as much as it's opportunity (to take a quarterback like Cutler)," Sundquist said. "I find that (notion) very comical because the same people who say that (the pick is a knock on Jake) are the same people that say, 'Why are you going with two quarterbacks? You need to get another quarterback in here. Do you feel like the two that you've got are good enough?'"

    Indeed, even Plummer saw the logic behind the decision to take Cutler.

    "I think I would have made the same pick," the 10-year veteran said. "You go get a chance to get a guy like him. Especially with this organization when are we going to get a chance to pick that high again?"

    Not for a long time, the Broncos hope.

    MENTORSHIP

    When Plummer broke into the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals in 1997, veteran Kent Graham was there to provide guidance and support,

    "I've had great guys who were always there to help me, and were there genuinely and truly, not just as a backup but as a friend and confidant wanting me to do well and not waiting for their chance to jump in," Plummer said. "I'm going to go and obviously help Jay become a better football player. I know what the league's about. That's what you do as a quarterback, you pass on to the next guy what you know and hopefully whenver his time comes, he does well."

    Actually, Plummer has already played the role of counselor and football mentor, and for evidence of this one needs to look no further than than Preston Parsons, a veteran of four training camps who hopes to latch on to the Denver roster after a year out of the NFL but not out of the sport entirely, as he worked as a volunteer coach at his high school in Portland, Ore.

    Parsons broke into the NFL in 2002 with the Arizona Cardinals and found Plummer's presence to be a welcoming one.

    "When I came in, it was me and another rookie quarterback (Josh McCown) who made the team, and he took us both under his wing," Parsons recalled. "I kind of had the same personality as Jake does, so we became great friends. He takes a lot of guys like that and is nice to them, but we hit it off even more.

    "I couldn't find anyone better to learn from than him in my first year," Parsons added. "Obviously after he left (for Denver), we kept in close contact and we have over the last few years. Being able to reunite with him, first off, it's a big comfort zone for me, just because I was around him and know what he's all about. Second, it's great to have an asset like him; for him to be in my corner is big for me."

    Until now, Plummer and Parsons hadn't been teammates since 2002, yet they continued to communicate over the years in between.

    "He said, 'Trust in yourself, because you can play,'" Parsons said. "He told me some things and gave some opinions that I'll keep to myself, but they gave me a lot of confidence that I can play in this league and he said, 'Keep your head up no matter what happens,' because you're going to find the right system and the right person that's going to believe in you."

    THE OTHER INCUMBENT

    While Cutler's arrival dominated headlines throughout the offseason, Bradlee Van Pelt continued to plug away at the team's facility following a year as the team's No. 2 quarterback -- a role he maintained into minicamp.

    "He's been throwing very well," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said earlier this month. "In fact, (the first day of minicamp) is one of the best days he's had since he's been here. He's a worker. He works on doing the little things the right way."

    Added Van Pelt: "I can't worry about what other people think. I know what I'm capable of. I do know this system. I'm a competitor. I'll never shy away from competition and for me, I'm going to lace them up, like I did last year, the year before that, (like) I did in college. I really haven't faced competition and not overcome it. I'm not saying I'm going to overcome Jay Cutler, but I'm going to go out there swinging, and if I go down, I'm going to go down swinging.

    "I've said this since my first days at Colorado State: If you just go out there, bust your hump, things will be okay. Wherever I am, I'll be playing football somewhere."

    But he wants it to be in Denver, so he willingly accepts the challenge of having a first-round pick in his midst..

    "I think of myself as someone who has a lot of character; that's why I'm going to welcome this guy," Van Pelt said. "He's a teammate that coaches feel will make this team better. So do I. He's going to make me better. I'm going to be better after this."

    TRAINING CAMP POSITION PREVIEWS:




    http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.ph...4&storyID=5769
    The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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  • #2
    Yes, I know that certain naysayers will say that Sundquist is a liar and 'what else would he say', but to pull a quote from the above article:

    "It had nothing to do with how we felt about Jake or how he had played this past season, how we feel he's going to play in the future, as much as it's opportunity (to take a quarterback like Cutler)," Sundquist said. "I find that (notion) very comical because the same people who say that (the pick is a knock on Jake) are the same people that say, 'Why are you going with two quarterbacks? You need to get another quarterback in here. Do you feel like the two that you've got are good enough?'"
    The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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    • #3
      I've always been under the belief that they nabbed Cutler because, A) as mentioned by Sundquist, to get a player of Cutler's caliber -- you usually have to be a big losing team; B) they were planning for the future; and finally C) that they didn't think that Plummer could get them to where they wanted.

      I absolutely understand why they would go after Cutler. When's the next time Denver will be picking in the Top 5 or Top 10 to get a player like him?

      However, I do believe that it does indicate some feeling towards the confidence of the Broncos Brain Trust and their confidence in Jake being able to take us to the big dance.

      Now. . . if that means I'm calling Sundquist a liar, so be it.

      But quarterback isn't an position if you're confident in Jake that you draft if you want to win now. Oh well, I loved the pick, and I think we did some things in this draft to help us now and in the future, which makes it really that much better than one would believe.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dream
        Oh well, I loved the pick, and I think we did some things in this draft to help us now and in the future, which makes it really that much better than one would believe.
        I loved the pick, also. Whatever the motivation, I think Jay has the potential to be a really good, and hopefully great, QB for many years in Denver.
        The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tnedator
          Yes, I know that certain naysayers will say that Sundquist is a liar and 'what else would he say', but to pull a quote from the above article:
          That quote would actually be significant if he were the GM. Oh wait, he IS the GM.





          YEAHHHHHHHHHHH Right.


          "Would you like cream in your coffee, Mr. Shannahan?" - TS during the draft
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          • #6
            Originally posted by broncos_mtnman
            That quote would actually be significant if he were the GM. Oh wait, he IS the GM.





            YEAHHHHHHHHHHH Right.


            "Would you like cream in your coffee, Mr. Shannahan?" - TS during the draft
            Can you name on one hand the people you don't bash or criticize?
            The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tnedator
              Can you name on one hand the people you don't bash or criticize?
              Sure, but I won't do it here.

              If you think I'm the only one who is critical of the lack of a REAL GM in the front office, you need to check out other threads on the topic.

              Back to your post, I'll go out on a limb here and say Parsons' OPINION of Jake will prove to be meaningless in whether or not he sticks around. Heck, if he couldn't beat out Josh McCown, his chance of beating Jay or BVP are slim.

              It also won't have any bearing on Jay replacing Jake. That day is coming sooner than the Jakesters want to admit.

              I will close with a line from the Matrix...

              Agent Smith (hearing the coming subway): "Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability."

              If you will allow me to paraphrase....

              Shanny (after signing Jay Cutler): "Do you hear that, Mr. Plummer? That is the sound of inevitability."
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              • #8
                Originally posted by broncos_mtnman
                Sure, but I won't do it here.

                If you think I'm the only one who is critical of the lack of a REAL GM in the front office, you need to check out other threads on the topic.

                Back to your post, I'll go out on a limb here and say Parsons' OPINION of Jake will prove to be meaningless in whether or not he sticks around. Heck, if he couldn't beat out Josh McCown, his chance of beating Jay or BVP are slim.

                It also won't have any bearing on Jay replacing Jake. That day is coming sooner than the Jakesters want to admit.

                I will close with a line from the Matrix...

                Agent Smith (hearing the coming subway): "Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability."

                If you will allow me to paraphrase....

                Shanny (after signing Jay Cutler): "Do you hear that, Mr. Plummer? That is the sound of inevitability."
                I shouldn't have taken that shot at you. Sorry.
                The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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                Comment

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