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Vote for Jake

Paul E. Anna

I’ve never been a big fan of Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer.As a Bronco he has played his best ball, but still, he has shown signs of being erratic. A brilliant touchdown pass with a charging linebacker breathing fire down his neck here, a silly sideline interception there. The drama has been part of his persona since he led Arizona State to the Rose Bowl in 1997.After being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, Jake set up shop in the very stadium where he had been a four-year starter in college. The table was set for the kid to lead the Cardinals to prominence. But it never happened. In six years with the Cardinals Jake threw 90 touchdown passes. He also threw 114 interceptions. A great play here followed by a dumb play there.Last year, in his third season with the Broncos, he had a “breakout” season. After an inexplicable opening-day loss in the blistering heat of Miami, Jake led the Broncos to 13 wins in their final 15 games. In 456 drop-backs he threw just seven interceptions. It seemed like he had found the fountain of consistency. Then the Steelers came to town. In the AFC Championship game Jake’s pair of picks led to Denver’s demise.So it’s a new year, and Jake has the Broncos off to their fourth straight 5-1 start. But questions about Jake don’t just linger, they ring down on Dove Valley where the Broncos train. Everyone wants to know when Mike Shanahan will bench Jake and bring in the rookie from Vanderbilt, Jay Cutler.It could be this week. The Indianapolis Colts come to town, and the Broncos will likely need to put some points on the board to beat the best offense in football. But be careful what you wish for.If you saw Monday night’s game between the Cowboys and the Giants, you saw Dallas coach Bill Parcells succumb to the same kind of pressure that Shanahan feels. He put in his backup quarterback after his favored veteran had underperformed. The result? Tony Romo, the new guy, showed just how new he was by throwing three second-half interceptions.I say stay the course. Root for Jake this week against the Colts. Give him a shot at redemption before handing the season to a promising-but-untried rookie. Boot Jake now and you may lose him forever. And you don’t know how good, or how bad, Cutler can be.Jake has handled things well this season. And I don’t mean just the media and the fans. The Broncos are 5-1. It could be worse.Give the guy a chance. Vote for Jake.Give the guy a chance. Vote for Jake.


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