Hot Topics: Smith excited for Cutler

Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith thinks Cutler is physically ready to play. Smith didn't really endorse or criticize the move to replcace Jake Plummer with Cutler but said he is excited over the prospect. Check it out in today's "Hot Topics."

Receiver Rod Smith said he is excited for rookie Jay Cutler, who will take over as the Broncos' starting quarterback this week.

Smith didn't really endorse or criticize the move, but said he thinks Cutler is physically ready to play.

"I really believe he's going to have a good day," Smith said. "I think if the rest of us have a good day, he could have a great day. With his talent, and I've thought this all along, that we could win with him playing quarterback, but at the same time I knew Jake (Plummer) was our quarterback."

Even though Smith respects Cutler's talent, he said he doesn't know yet what to expect from the first-round pick, who hasn't played the entire regular season. He did say that he thinks Cutler has handled the situation well.

Smith also said he found it strange to see Plummer as the backup. Plummer hasn't been demoted to second string in his entire career, and he has taken almost every snap for the Broncos since the middle of the 2003 season.

"It's tough for me to watch him taking snaps on scout team," Smith said. "It's hard for me to watch that because I know what kind of competitor he is. At the same time, he's there for Jay, helping him through his reads and little things like that. He's not showing any bitterness."


--OT Erik Pears sprained his ankle and was added to the injury report as probable. Pears struggled against the Chiefs.

--OT Adam Meadows did some drills in practice Thursday but missed the team portion. He has a hamstring injury and still needs to make some progress to be ready for Sunday's game.

--TE Chad Mustard returned to practice Thursday. He has a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report but should play.

--RB Tatum Bell practiced again Thursday, and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he would play Sunday. He said Bell has looked good this week.

--CB Darrent Williams hasn't broken a long punt return in a while. The Broncos haven't been very good blocking for their kickoff or punt returners and need to get some big plays on special teams down the stretch.

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