Broncos Update Insider - 10/31

With success comes attention, which Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is finding out. Whether it's telling a national magazine he has a stronger arm than Broncos legend John Elway or reviving a feud with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during a television interview, Cutler has been in the spotlight.

Between his battle with Type 1 Diabetes and his great start this season, Cutler has been a popular topic among the national media, which he said is fine.

"It's been fun," Cutler said. "You start winning, you start getting some attention, and that's good for the program, for the franchise."

His comments about Elway to The Sporting News, saying he has a stronger arm "hands down," drew a lot of attention in Denver. Elway still is and probably will always be the most revered and popular sports figure in the city and state of Colorado. In typical Cutler fashion, he reiterated he thinks he does have a stronger arm than Elway and shrugged off the attention.

"I'm not worried about it," Cutler said. "What's done is done, what's said is said."

Although Cutler's stats are strong for a third-year starter, even with a recent slump factored in, he refused to say he was close to the two quarterbacks he has said have set the bar for the league, Indianapolis' Peyton Manning and New England's Tom Brady.

"You've got to win Super Bowls and that's what those guys do," Cutler said. "You can put up all the stats you want to in the regular season but if you don't get to the playoffs and make stuff happen in the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl, you're not in that level. You're just not.

"And they've been doing it for a number of years, so you have to be consistent. There's a lot of guys that go out (and) throw for a lot of yards and win ballgames for one year, but it's over an extended period of time. That's what they've been able to do."

Cutler's dip in production came when Denver sustained some injuries at receiver. The Broncos haven't scored more than 20 points in four straight games. Turnovers have been a big problem. Cutler has thrown five interceptions in Denver's past four games.

Once the Broncos get healthy on offense, Cutler's numbers should pick back up. Receivers Brandon Stokley and Eddie Royal and tight end Tony Scheffler have all missed time over the past month.

"We just have to go out there and do what we have to do and execute, and I think our offense will be fine," Stokley said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Quarterback Jay Cutler has no problems with his right index finger, a little more than a week after dealing with plenty of pain in the first half against New England. He hit his hand on a defensive lineman's helmet on the first play of the game.

He missed a series before the end of the first half because the Broncos were worried he broke the finger. X-rays showed no damage, and he hasn't missed any practice time since.

"I got lucky," Cutler said. "It feels pretty good."

--Cutler said he was given a forearm blow by New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, but refused to say whether it was intentional or not. Wilfork will reportedly be fined for the late hit.

"I was a little dizzy afterwards," Cutler said.

--Broncos running back Michael Pittman has badly bruised ribs, which he suffered against New England. But he finished that game and says he will play this week against Miami.

"They're sore but I'm fine," Pittman said. "This time of the year, everybody is sore."

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Consecutive home games for the Broncos against Florida teams. They have played Tampa Bay and Jacksonville and face Miami on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you get the opportunity you have to rise to the occasion." -- CB Karl Paymah, who is replacing Champ Bailey. Bailey is out four-to-six weeks with a groin injury.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Broncos are choosing to go with Darrell Hackney as Jay Cutler's backup quarterback for the time being instead of signing a veteran. Hackney does know the complicated Broncos offense after spending the last season and a half on the team, mostly with the practice squad.

Denver needed a new backup quarterback after putting Patrick Ramsey on injured reserve with an elbow injury.

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Ryan Torain appears set to make his NFL debut this week. He said he isn't having any problems with his elbow, which he injured early in training camp. He could get limited playing time at tailback.

--CB Karl Paymah will be tested by opponents as he fills in for injured Champ Bailey. Paymah, who was benched from his nickel corner role earlier this year, is in a contract year and could use a good stretch while Bailey is out.

--OT Tyler Polumbus will continue his role as a swing backup tackle for the Broncos with Erik Pears out. Pears was a former starter but is out for the year after having an appendectomy. Polumbus is an undrafted rookie but had been active ahead of Pears for games.

--RB Andre Hall is tied for the team lead in special-teams tackles. Although Hall's two fumbles against New England will hurt his playing time, he is a valuable member of the kick coverage and kickoff return teams.

--S Marquand Manuel is third on the Broncos with 49 tackles. He is the safety that plays in the box, and he will have to play well if Denver is to improve its run defense.





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