|05-03-2006, 02:33 PM||#1|
How about some Tapenade!
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: The Coaches Cradle...Eastern Illinois University
CU homer alert: BVP likes Cutler selection too
Van Pelt: 'I'm Going To Be Better After This'
'05 Backup Unfazed By Addition of First-Rounder Cutler
By Andrew Mason
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Bradlee Van Pelt couldn't leave the room without sharing one last thought.
He'd just finished a thoughtful response to a question about whether he had ever believed he could be the Broncos' full-time starting quarterback someday -- a reply in which he spoke of how he chose to spend his time focusing on what he could do, and not the things that sat beyond his control.
The reporters thanked Van Pelt for his time, and he removed a microphone and turned towards the door. But as he parted, he turned back with these words:
"I wouldn't bet against me, though, boys."
With that, Van Pelt was gone -- back to the locker room, and back to the work of the offseason, which he performs with regular-season experience on his résumé and, now, with a pair of quarterbacks acquired this offseason to join him and Jake Plummer -- winter signee Preston Parsons and first-round draft pick Jay Cutler.
The last few days have seen a bevy of hypotheticals tossed about in the public discussion regarding incumbent quarterbacks Plummer and Van Pelt and the impact of Cutler's presence upon them and the dynamic of the position for the Broncos.
Van Pelt, though, had heard all the talk, even long before the draft.
"Probably a week doesn't go by that someone hasn't brought up some scenario to me, this guy coming in (and someone asking), 'Where do you stand?'" Van Pelt said. "I've always stood in the same place. I'm just going to improve myself (and) worry about myself.
"It's really competing against myself. I'm not going out there worrying about what other people are doing. I can't. I think to survive in this business you've got to worry about what you can achieve, how you can get better, and let the chips fall where they shall."
Last year, the chips fell for Van Pelt to see substantial action in the regular-season finale at San Diego and to run for a touchdown in a Week 13 game at Kansas City when he entered the game in the shotgun formation while Plummer split out wide.
As a backup who has two years of experience in the Broncos system, he'd like to progress into training camp as the No. 2 quarterback. However ...
"I don't want to speculate where I'm going to begin," he said. "Hell, they could bring in someone else and I could begin at 5 (on the depth chart). It's not going to faze me. I've been there before. I've sat there in the exact same chair being No. 5."
That was in 2004, after the Broncos drafted him and Matt Mauck in the seventh round. Early in that summer's training camp, Van Pelt was behind Plummer, Danny Kanell, Mauck and Mike Quinn. Twelve months later, Quinn was gone and Mauck and Kanell sat behind him on the camp pecking order.
"I think a lot of people have written me off in the past and they keep lingering around," Van Pelt. "I'll probably continue to do the same thing."
While Van Pelt's self-confidence is as evident as ever, he strikes a different aesthetic profile now; brandishing a close-cropped haircut for the first time in three seasons as a Bronco. One might say that displaying such a look shows that he means business -- just like the industry of which he is a part.
"I was a little surprised (with the Cutler pick), but like I said, it's a business," Van Pelt said. "I was telling everyone going into the draft (that) they might draft a quarterback, I don't know. I've got to be prepared for anything. I am prepared for anything and I keep on falling back (on the fact that) I believe in myself. As long as I believe in myself, I have nothing to worry about, and I don't.
"I've said this since my first days at Colorado State: If you just go out there, bust your hump, things will be okay," Van Pelt added. "Wherever I am, I'll be playing football somewhere."
But his parting shot before leaving the Broncos' media room Tuesday showed exactly where he believes he'll define his name as a professional.
"I can only control what I do. I can't control decisions -- whether I get a fair shake. I believe I'm going to," he said. "I think this organization is respectful and they have a lot of character. I think of myself as someone who has a lot of character; that's why I'm going to welcome (Cutler).
"He's a teammate that coaches feel will make this team better. So do I. He's going to make me better. I'm going to be better after this."