"Jake Plummer is going to have a helluva year, because he knows his personnel, working with them, he knows our system better. And the rest of us will adjust to him to make his job easier. We'll make him better. That's our job, to make him better."
Of course, Smith said the same thing about Brian Griese a few years ago. But Smith said there is an unspoken communication with Plummer that gives him a tremendous amount of confidence in the success Denver will have.
"We're just feeling it instead of talking about it," Smith said.
While Plummer struggled with poor decisions and interceptions in Arizona, he fared much better in his first season with the Broncos. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was the best of his career (15-7). So was his 62.6 completion percentage. And in 11 starts last season he was sacked only 14 times - a major contrast to the 46 sacks Broncos quarterbacks suffered a year earlier.
"That's what you love about the great quarterbacks. When everything breaks down, they can do something that you can't coach," coach Mike Shanahan said. "We had that with John (Elway) and when I was in San Francisco, Steve Young and Joe Montana. If you have quarterbacks who can do things when everything breaks down, it separates those guys from the rest of the pack."
A plus for Plummer is his success in the AFC West, where he has a 9-8 record and 23-17 TD to interception ratio.
Broncos practice twice a day through Aug. 7, then leave for Canton and the Hall of Fame game They break camp Aug. 20.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
--LB John Mobley as expected was released because he still cannot pass a physical after suffering a spinal cord injury midway through the 2003 season. Though coach Mike Shanahan claimed Mobley's career as a Bronco isn't necessarily over, that's just coach speak. Mobley will have been out for nearly two years if he is ever cleared, and the Broncos are moving on.
--S Jarious Jackson was released as coaches decided the experiment to make him a safety wasn't working. The Broncos released the former backup quarterback, giving him a chance to catch on elsewhere in the league and earn a job as a quarterback again.
With Tatum Bell out with a finger injury, that means more carries for the rest of Denver's running backs. Quentin Griffin is the front-runner, but converted fullback Mike Anderson has slimmed down as he competes to carry the ball. And Ahmaad Galloway is healthy now and showing off his speed. Ditto for Garrison Hearst. Even Santonio Beard is getting a look.
D.J. Williams very well may be in the starting lineup on opening day, but he'll start training camp as a backup to Donnie Spragan. ... RB Tatum Bell is out indefinitely after fracturing his finger during his first camp session. He had just arrived after a contract holdout that did not endear him to coach Mike Shanahan ... WR Darius Watts has turned heads early and often. ... CB Jeremy LeSueur has moved up a notch with the injury to Lenny Walls. ... Jeff Shoate will get a look as a punt returner. ... Triandos Luke also will get a look as a punt returner. ... Josh Sewell is fighting for one of the remaining roster spots but has his work cut out. ... QB Matt Mauck is splitting scout team reps with Mike Quinn, and getting more practice time that fellow rookie Bradlee Van Pelt.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Darius Watts. He turned heads in the first practice, and showed his athleticism and playmaking ability. The question is whether he can do it on game day, and be consistent.
CB Lenny Walls had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right ankle and will miss about 3 weeks. DT Dorsett Davis had surgery on his pinkie that and will be out for the season. RB Tatum Bell had pins inserted in his fractured middle finger and his status will be unknown until he begins rehab work in three days.
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