Much Ado About Plummer

Broncos Update columnist Sam DeWitt says that Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer has improved during his stay in Denver, but really needs a big year in '05.

The comparisons to Joe Montana, seeming so present when the now-30 year old Jake Plummer was a rookie in Phoenix, have disappeared, just memories of a time when everyone thought "Jake the Snake" was a sure thing. The numbers left in the wake of such strong promise are not good. Although Plummer has been better since arriving in Denver to continue a career seemingly derailed by a long stop in the desert, he's still not there yet.

People say he's exciting to watch, and they're right. It's exciting not to know whether the pass he's dropping back to throw will be a touchdown or an interception. So exciting, in fact that my left arm tingles every time I watch his right arm go to work (coincidence, I'm sure).

Amazing how everyone in town has been able to talk themselves into Plummer, the gunslinger who is more Brett Favre than Joe Montana, but more Tony Eason than Brett Favre.

So far in Denver, he's been all sizzle and no steak.

But this year will be different, won't it? None other than The Greatest Quarterback Who Ever Lived says it will be.

"Jake's in his prime right now," said John Elway, the aforementioned GQWEL.

"I think without question Jake can get better and take his game to the next level. And I don't think you ever stop learning. I think you can always get better, especially mentally, but also physically."

To do that, you have to work at it. You have to want it and not rely on your raw talent to get the job done. Mike Shanahan has a very simple view of the situation, however.

"Jake can make the plays that nobody else can make," said the head coach. "We all know it wasn't a perfect season because you're judged by the end result, which isn't very good right now. But if you take a look at the big picture and what he's accomplished, he's done some incredible things. But we've still got a lot of work to do in the offseason."

Apparently the "we" Coach Shanahan speaks of does not include his star quarterback, as he said he's not planning on breaking down game film from the 2004 season. That's the coaches' job. And he says he hasn't been doing stuff on his own, either, because he hasn't forgotten how to drop back or forgotten his footwork. "There are subtleties you have to be reminded of," he said.

Well let me be not-so-subtle: STOP THROWING INTERCEPTIONS. You can start by never ever throwing a ball with your left hand again. Oh, and don't forget that your receivers are running forward - throw the ball ahead of them (your predecessor had a particularly hard time with this. He's now trying to learn how to throw a pass more than 30 yards in Tampa Bay).

I'll give Jake this much - he has gotten better every season in Denver. And Elway says this is going to be the best season yet for Plummer (note: I believe everything John Elway says. That's just how it goes for a 26 year-old lifetime member of the Broncos Fanclub), so maybe it will be.

If it's not - and I think we should be fully prepared for that possibility - the time to go will have come for number 16 in blue. If the Redskins have a terrible year, we should use their high pick next year on Matt Leinart from USC, a terrific quarterback who could grow with the team as they (gulp) rebuild.

Excuses in place of results don't get it done in a City of Champions like Denver. The simple fact is the AFC West got a lot better this year, and I have no desire to get angry e-mails from Raiders and Chiefs fans because their teams have better records than the Broncos (Chargers fans I can handle; they seem to be nicer because San Diego is a nice place. Oakland and Kansas City, well, you know), and I really don't want to see Indianapolis make it three-for-three in the playoffs against us, winning again by 382 points. I'm tired of it, and I know BroncoNation is tired of it.

This is the year. I want - no, need - Plummer to show me that people compared him to the legendary Montana because of more than just the number 16 on their backs. Otherwise, we're going to spend the next three years grooming his successor.

And I don't like to wait.

Sam DeWitt has been a Broncos fan since he was a small child. His writings appear 1-3 times per week on BroncosUpdate.com. He can be reached via email at UMoose@gmail.com.


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