|10-17-2006, 12:02 AM||#1|
For Average Bronco Fan
"We will find an answer," Plummer said. "Coach Shanahan is one of the smartest offensive minds in the game."
But is that faith reciprocated?
Yes, Mike Shanahan told The Associated Press, he has similar faith in his quarterback, even though it might not appear that way to the average fan.
When the Denver Broncos jumped up 13-0 on the winless Oakland Raiders Sunday night, Shanahan appeared to shift once again to "safe mode" on offense, leaving it up to the Broncos' dominant defense to seal the win -- and who could blame him? His defense is stingier through five games than any NFL team since the 1934 Detroit Lions, who shut out their first seven opponents.
"In fact, we have never dialed down anything," Shanahan insisted.
After punting on their only possession of the third quarter, the Broncos threw four times in seven snaps in the fourth quarter before killing the clock on their final drive.
"What people don't realize is after the first drive of the third quarter, we only had the ball twice," Shanahan said. "But when you're not efficient, sometimes people say we're conservative. Now, if somebody says you're not efficient, that's very true."
And inefficiency isn't Plummer's problem alone, Shanahan said.
"Sometimes a lineman will make a mistake, sometimes a wide receiver will make a mistake, a quarterback will make a mistake," he said. "But as a group, to make an offense work, it's the whole group. And all the pressure will go to the quarterback because most people don't understand who broke down.
"I'm not going to tell people who broke down. Our job is to fix it."
Plummer has completed just 53 percent of his passes (68 for 128) with three touchdowns and five interceptions so far, numbers that Shanahan attributes to having so many newcomers.
Of his 21 players on offense, 10 weren't here last year. "So, sometimes it takes some time," Shanahan said. "I'm very confident we'll get there. We've just got to keep on being positive. We've shown what we can do over the last how many years. But hopefully we'll get back to where we've been."
Nobody at Broncos headquarters is publicly criticizing Plummer, who is 36-12 in four seasons in Denver.
But Oakland safety Stuart Schweigert suggested last week that things are evening out for Plummer, who is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he led Denver to the cusp of the Super Bowl.
"Maybe it's kind of catching up with him a little bit, his luck kind of maybe ran out from last season," Schweigert surmised.
Rod Smith isn't complaining about the suddenly low-octane Denver offense, at least not publicly.
"Whatever works," said Smith, who caught one pass Sunday night to extend his streak to 113 games with a reception. "A win is a win. In this league, wins are hard to come by.
"For some reason we are sputtering on offense. I like seeing our defense play, but not that much. The minute we figure things out, we are going to open things up."
Unlike Smith, Javon Walker is taking his frustrations public.
Walker, who has 20 catches for 488 yards and two scores, is about the only offensive player who is consistently making big plays, but he suggested Monday the Broncos aren't capitalizing on his talents.
"I feel like any time I get the ball in my hands something good can happen and I think more points can be scored," Walker said. "But like I said, I'm just executing the plays that are called right now."
Walker, who expected more out of this offense when Shanahan traded for him in the offseason, said he wasn't the only receiver who is unhappy with a lack of opportunities: "We all feel the same way," he said.
Shanahan said he didn't mind Walker's criticisms and he's glad to know there's some consternation over the offensive struggles.
"But it goes back to not stats. It goes back to what? Winning football games," Shanahan said. "And we have played well when the pressure's been on. That's the sign of a good football team."
I have been saying from sunday night... go watch the tapes if you have from the st. louis game and KC game specifically.... Dont see just the QB alone.. see people around him as well and you will understand what is going on......
We are 4-1 and not 1-4..... so feel happy about it