Plummer had a fantastic preseason. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Most importantly, he didn't have any interceptions in about four quarters of work.
"If you take those stats, it was decent," Plummer said.
The past two years the Broncos' fortunes have usually mirrored how Plummer played. If he plays well, the Broncos have been one of the best teams in the AFC, and when he gets in a slump, usually Denver does too. It's not that surprising that the Broncos went 4-0 this preseason with Plummer playing well.
"When he's efficient, the rest of us are efficient," receiver Rod Smith said. "He didn't make any mistakes with the football (in the preseason). He has to make sure he's careful and he did that."
Last year Plummer had a very good season but his 20 interceptions overshadowed the 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns he threw for. The Broncos made it clear in the off-season that when they decided to give Plummer a $6 million option bonus in March, they also expected him to take the next step in his third season with the team.
"If I'm not getting more comfortable in this system, something is wrong with me," Plummer said at the beginning of training camp.
Plummer's progress in the offense could be seen in the preseason when he made very few mistakes and none that led to a turnover. Last season Plummer was terrible in the preseason and made many poor decisions, so he's already getting off to a better start this year.
"He ran when he had to run, he was safe when he had to be safe, he threw it in the stands when he had to throw it in the stands," Smith said.
Plummer has been hobbled a bit by a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in the off-season. But he said he feels fine heading into the season.
"After nine years, I don't feel as good as I did in year four," Plummer said. "There aren't many guys who have played as many snaps as I have that would say that. (His knee) is something I don't think about, that I don't want to think about. I'm going to go out and play and make it a non-issue."
SERIES HISTORY: 14th meeting. The Miami Dolphins lead the series 9-3-1, but the Denver Broncos beat Miami in 2004. Denver got a 50-yard field goal from Jason Elam with 2:50 remaining in the game to squeak out a 20-17 victory last Dec. 12.
NOTES, QUOTES --Broncos backup quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt, who played in college at Colorado State, apologized for his actions at the Colorado-Colorado State game in Boulder last Saturday. Van Pelt wore a T-shirt with an obscenity on it and got into a war of words with some Colorado fans.
"I made a big mistake," Van Pelt said. "I think it's one of the few times in my life I'm truly sorry. I made a classless decision. I have to represent the (Broncos) better than that."
"It's definitely a strange situation," Adams said. "I never thought, ever, that this would be an even probable situation. But that's the way it worked out. I don't even know what to say."
--The Broncos lost second-year quarterback Matt Mauck, whom they thought highly of, when Mauck signed with the Tennessee Titans' practice squad. Mauck fell behind fellow second-year quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt on the depth chart and the Broncos have only kept two quarterbacks on the active roster most of the past two years.
Mauck spent most of last season on the Broncos' practice squad.
"If Denver wanted to keep Matt Mauck they could have, but they've waived him twice now," said Mark Rodgers, Mauck's agent. "At this point, Matt is a reasonable guy and he saw the writing on the wall."
--The Broncos pursued quarterback Gus Frerotte to be their backup but Frerotte signed with the Dolphins because he had a chance to start. This Sunday, Frerotte will start against Denver, a team he started seven games for in 2000-01.
"I like Gus," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "When he was here he did a great job for us. I've got a lot of respect for him."
BY THE NUMBERS: 196 --The Broncos gained 196 yards rushing against Miami last December. Tatum Bell rushed for 123 yards on 17 carries.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've had a good preseason, a good training camp, and now it's time to get it done." ---Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL The Broncos signed former first-round pick David Terrell. Terrell joins a receiving corps that doesn't have a lot of proven depth, so he could get a chance to earn some playing time if he picks up the offense quickly.
"I'm happy," Terrell said. "Look at the smile on my face. That says a lot."
Terrell was released by New England after he spent most of training camp sidelined with a leg injury. Terrell never panned out with Chicago after being the eighth overall pick of the 2001 draft but he's looking forward to a new start in Chicago.
"I got to come in and get healthy," Terrell said. "I'm healthy now and I'm able to go out and learn the playbook and the terminology and just play football."
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES --QB Kliff Kingsbury was added to the practice squad because the Broncos had only two quarterbacks in their organization. Denver might bring in a veteran to be the third quarterback later in the season.
--RB Tatum Bell had a huge game against Miami last season. It is unclear how much playing time he will get against the Dolphins this week. Mike Anderson is the No. 1 back and the Broncos have never used a committee at running back as long as Mike Shanahan has been their head coach.
--WR Charlie Adams had such a good preseason, he'll likely get some playing time on offense. Adams was more consistent than second-year receiver Darius Watts in the preseason, but Watts has more big-play ability.
--TE Stephen Alexander wasn't a big part of the Broncos' passing game in the preseason. But he can get downfield and he should have plenty of opportunities to catch passes from Jake Plummer in the regular season.
--G Dwayne Carswell was one of only two backup offensive linemen the Broncos kept. Carswell, who played tight end for his first 11 seasons, is versatile and can play a few positions on the line if needed.
--LB Louis Green made the final cut ahead of 2003 second-round pick Terry Pierce. Green is a very good special teams player, something Pierce never became even though he couldn't crack the starting lineup on defense.
GAME PLAN: The problem for the Broncos is they can't be too sure what to expect. The Dolphins have a new coach, a different quarterback than last year and a rookie running back who had 11 carries in the preseason.
New coach Nick Saban will have his team prepared. The Broncos will have to put some pressure on quarterback Gus Frerotte to limit his time to throw deep. Running back Ronnie Brown may be inexperienced, but he has talent. Denver needs to make sure they don't miss many tackles.
Offensively, the Broncos would love to get a lead and let Mike Anderson grind out yards and milk the clock in the second half.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH Broncos C Tom Nalen vs. Dolphins MLB Zach Thomas. This is a battle between two tough old pros. The Broncos' stretch running plays work when there are cutback lanes, and part of that is the ability to wall off linebackers on the second level. Nalen has been masterful in the running game for years.
Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Dolphins WR Chris Chambers. Bailey didn't play in the preseason because of a hamstring injury. He admitted it might take him a little while to get back to game speed. Chambers will test Bailey deep, probably early.
INJURY IMPACT: CB Champ Bailey (hamstring) didn't play in the preseason but he said he's 100 percent. He had trouble when he tried to come back too soon from the injury, but he said he's not worried about another setback.
DE Courtney Brown (dislocated elbow) is wearing a brace but said he's ready to play. He will probably be eased back into the lineup because he didn't play a snap in the preseason.
TE Nate Jackson (hamstring) had a setback on an injury that hampered him through the preseason and he might not play against Miami.
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