The Passion of Van Pelt

Ah, the glory and passion of preseason football, it's almost enough to make you break out in a hot, humid, early evening, King-size Texas sweat.

In Bradlee Van Pelt's case, that sweat began before he ever took to the field.

After moving into second place on the depth chart behind starter Jake Plummer, Van Pelt was well aware of the microscope he would find himself under during Saturday night's preseason opener against the Houston Texans, and the former CSU standout responded in typical Van Pelt fashion.

At times brilliant, at times ackward, but at all times giving it one-hundred per cent.

"I could have drawn it up a lot better," Van Pelt told reporters. "I'm a perfectionist."

Informed that his father had given his performance a grade B or B+, the second string quarterback thought about the assesment for a minute, then downgraded his play to a C, claiming it was, at best, "about average."

But average for Van Pelt, and average for most backup quarterbacks in the NFL are two different things. For this first-year pro, completing 10 of 17 passes for 107 – yards, while rushing for an additional 45-yards on three carries, was just not enough, he wanted more.

"It felt good to get out there but I wanted to play better," said Van Pelt. "I wanted to get some touchdowns and hit some more passes. I felt I played below what I was capable of."

Despite any reservations Van Pelt may have had, the Broncos coaching staff were far more positive in their review.

"This was his first game and you could see his athletic ability," Shanahan said. "I'm proud of the way we came back and had a big-time drive against an excellent defense."

Sure, it may have been against a second and third team defense, but given the fact that Van Pelt spent his entire rookie season on the teams' practice squad and played only one series of downs during the 2004 preseason, Saturday night proved itself significant in the career of Denver's newest backup.

He's not John Elway and he's no Jake Plummer, he's "BVP", and that fact alone may play a very important role in the Denver Broncos 2005 season.

Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past nine years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.

Schon can be reached at
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