Shanahan: Cutler Not Paying

By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
October 24, 2006
ENGLEWOOD – Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who long has lived by the “no spot is guaranteed week to week” credo when dishing out playing time, won’t definitively say when rookie quarterback Jay Cutler will play.However, Shanahan did say Monday when Cutler won’t play – Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.”When we do make a decision, we make a decision in the best interest of our organization,” Shanahan said. “I will tell you this, that Jake Plummer will be our quarterback against Indy. Then I’ll get a chance to be on this little program again (next week) and we’ll talk about the same thing.”

Shanahan again answered a national report Sunday morning that the Broncos’ patience with Plummer was wearing thin and Cutler would enter the lineup as soon as Sunday’s game against Cleveland, which the Broncos beat 17-7.

Cutler did not play against the Browns.

After the game, Shanahan said, “If we were going to play him, we would have played him.”

“I didn’t write the article,” Shana- han said Monday. “I’ve said this from Day 1. . . . Things don’t change from the first day. I don’t have time to listen to all the rumors and all the speculation when we’re trying to win some football games.

“You play your best players and you try to find a way to win. That’s as factual as I can get. Just because something is in the newspaper or on a so-called channel does not mean I said it or someone within the organization said it.”

Shanahan went on to point out that, despite offensive struggles that include a passing game ranked 30th in the league in yards per game, the team is 5-1 and in first place in the AFC West.

“I know it’s the thing to talk about, the quarterback situation,” Shanahan said. “It happens all the time. Any time you’ve got a guy who is a first-round draft choice. It happened with John Elway and Tommy Maddox; it was the same thing. It happens all the time.

“But we’re winning football games, and why don’t we support the quarterback who’s winning those games?”

He added that while quarterback is the marquee position, Plummer was under the same scrutiny as any other player in the starting lineup and a change is made when he feels the backup will play better than the starter was.

“We’re going to play the best football players; we’ve said that from Day 1,” Shanahan said.

“That doesn’t put any position to rest. It’s not just the quarterback position; it’s the center position, the wide receiver position, any position.

“It’s not my job to share with you if I’m going to make a change at any position. I wouldn’t tell you if it’s the offensive guard, defensive tackle. I wouldn’t say any position; that’s just the nature of his job.”

WARREN HURTING: Shanahan said defensive tackle Gerard Warren suffered a sprained right big toe against the Browns that included “some slight ligament damage.”

Warren might have to miss some practice time this week, but Shana- han was hoping Warren could play at least some against the Colts.

“I think it really has to do with pain threshold,” Shanahan said. “We won’t know until later in the week exactly whether he can go or not. . . . We’ll wait a couple days, see how it heals up.”

After Warren left the game early in the first quarter, Demetrin Veal and Michael Myers played the rest of the way in the two defensive tackle spots.

The two likely would start against the Colts and are the team’s only other tackles on the 53-player roster.

End Ebenezer Ekuban worked at defensive tackle some during training camp and recently signed Kenny Peterson also has played tackle, previously with the Green Bay Packers.

The Broncos also have defensive tackle Amon Gordon on the practice squad, but he has struggled with a left knee injury this season.

ROSTER MOVE: The Broncos placed tackle Matt Lepsis on injured reserve, opening a roster spot. They signed receiver Brian Clark from the practice squad to the 53-player roster.

The Packers, who placed receiver Robert Ferguson on injured reserve, had tried to sign Clark before the Broncos made the move.

Any team can sign a player off any practice squad if the player is signed to the 53-player roster.

Green Bay claimed former Portland State receiver Shaun Bodiford off waivers from the Detroit Lions.

ADDAI CONTRIBUTES: The Colts scored 20 points in the third quarter Sunday against the Redskins.

Rookie running back Joseph Addai got all of the carries on those drives. The Colts’ starting running back, Dominic Rhodes, was not in the lineup for those possessions.

legwoldj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2359