Hot Topics: Cutler, Leinart lead class

Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart and Vince Young lead what may be the best quarterback class since John Elway and Dan Marino came into the league.

Broncos rookie quarterback Jay Cutler said he has noticed what fellow rookie Matt Leinart has done with the Cardinals, but he doesn't think there's a rivalry between the two.

"I'm not into that," Cutler said. "We've got our own stuff to worry about here."

Leinart went with the 10th overall pick of the draft, and Cutler went one pick later. They meet for the first time in their careers on Sunday. Add Tennessee's Vince Young to the mix, and the quarterback class of this year has a chance to be historically good.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said it's possible this class reaches the heights of the 1983 quarterback draft class, which included John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.

As for who is better among Cutler and Leinart, Shanahan said that won't be settled this week or for a while.

"We did the same thing with Elway and Marino," Shanahan said. "We'll just let it play out."

The Broncos studied Cutler and Leinart before the draft because they knew they'd have a chance to trade up and possibly draft one of them. The decision became easy when Leinart went to Arizona, but Shanahan felt both would be good pro quarterbacks.

"These guys are both slam dunks, in my opinion," Shanahan said.

PLAYER NOTES

--CB Darrent Williams was downgraded to questionable on the injury report. Williams has toe and shoulder injuries. He hasn't participated in the team portion of practice this week, but he hasn't been ruled out.

--CB Karl Paymah would be in line for more playing time if Darrent Williams can't play. Paymah was one of three cornerbacks the Broncos drafted in 2005, but he has played the least of the three.

--TE Stephen Alexander didn't practice Thursday because of rib injuries. He is a valuable part of Denver's running game and could play this week. He is questionable on the injury report.

--OT Adam Meadows missed practice again Thursday because of a hamstring injury. He could miss his third consecutive game.

--K Jason Elam kicked in practice Thursday for the first time since suffering a left hamstring injury on Dec. 3. He said he's not 100 percent yet, but he is very close, and his range shouldn't be affected much this week.



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