Jake Plummer has company

The Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins were expected to compete for conference championships, not which team could heat up the talk show circuit the most with a quarterback controversy.

Listen to the shock jocks, and you'd think Jake Plummer, Mark Brunell and Daunte Culpepper are on the verge of losing their jobs. Listen to their head coaches, however, and there appears to be little chance any of them are in danger of hitting the bench -- yet.

When the Broncos used a first-round pick on strong-armed Jay Cutler, the writing was on the wall for Plummer. But the common option was that writing read, "lead us to the Super Bowl or Cutler will take over in 2007." But with Plummer stumbling badly out of the gate with four interceptions and no touchdown passes, many are wondering if Shanahan would consider making the move sooner.

"It's great for talk radio and it's great for TV, but Jake has won a lot of games," Shanahan said. "Just because we started out a little slow, just like we did last year, doesn't mean it's the end of the world."

Joe Gibbs won't let the emergency alarms sound in Washington, either. Brunell has a 67.7 passer rating and no touchdown passes in the Redskins' 0-2 start. But backup Todd Collins hasn't started a game since 1997, and second-year man Jason Collins has zero regular-season passes on his NFL resume.

"Any time stuff's going bad, they're going to look at one guy and that's the quarterback," Redskins center Casey Rabach said. "Mark's the leader of this offense. He's what drives this engine. He still has a lot in him. Everyone has 100 percent confidence in Mark's ability to get this thing on the right track. A guy like him will step up, kind of take the bull by the horns and really get us going. He's been through it all. He knows how to bounce back from some bad games. He knows how to rally guys around him. That's we need right now."

Like Brunell, Culpepper has been victimized by poor offensive line play in Miami's first two losses. But he is obviously not back to the level he was at before his major knee surgery last year, and is also struggling with his footwork.

Coach Nick Saban won't discuss rumblings in South Florida that a switch to Joey Harrington might be in order, but he did admit that Culpepper isn't back to the player he was before the injury.

"(Culpepper) can be a good player. He is not playing like he's capable of playing right now," Saban said. "He's more mobile than lots of quarterbacks who play. He's just not as mobile as he used to be and he has to understand and manage that. And we need to help him do that."



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