Unit-by-unit analysis: QB and RB

Check out our Unit-by-Unit postion analysis for the 2006 Denver Broncos. Today, we take a look at the quarterbacks and the running backs. Veteran Jake Plummer returns to lead the team at the quarterback position, but running back is up for grabs as the Bronoc head into training camp.

QUARTERBACK: Starter - Jake Plummer. Backups - Bradlee Van Pelt, Jay Cutler. Plummer came into his own last year, then unraveled in the AFC Championship Game with four turnovers. Why the sudden slip? For a staggering amount of last season, Denver played with the lead. That kept Plummer in situations where he could be very patient and manage the offense.

Against Pittsburgh in the playoffs, Plummer had to carry the offense and he made some mistakes. Once again, the Broncos will try to keep Plummer out of situations where he has to do too much. Plummer's skills fit the offense well, because he can make plays on the move. He's a good fit as long as he isn't pressing to make plays that aren't there.

Van Pelt is an exceptional athlete who is unrefined as a passer. Because of his experience with the offense he'll start camp ahead of Cutler, who might be the franchise quarterback Mike Shanahan has coveted since John Elway retired.

RUNNING BACK: Starters - Ron Dayne, FB Cecil Sapp. Backups - Tatum Bell, Cedric Cobbs, Mike Bell, FB Kyle Johnson, FB Brandon Miree.

Dayne gets the first crack at the starting tailback job, which has produced plenty of 1,000-yard rushers. The Broncos think Dayne fits the offense perfectly. Dayne ran in a similar zone-blocking system in college at Wisconsin, and he was Division I-A's all-time leading rusher and a Heisman Trophy winner. Dayne is big but has nimble feet. He can spot the hole, make one cut and get momentum downfield. The Broncos like that in their backs.

Tatum Bell is talented but the Broncos have always been reluctant to give him too much responsibility. He needs to work on the little aspects of his game like receiving and blocking before he is the every-down back. But Bell gives Denver a shot at a big play every time he touches the ball because of his tremendous speed. Cobbs is a dark horse. The Broncos love his physical tools and he'll get the chance to impress during the preseason.

Sapp moved ahead of Johnson at fullback this summer. Sapp is an instinctive, tough player and he'll get every chance to win the job permanently.



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