11-24-2006, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bend, OR
Shouldering the Blame (DB Article)
Shouldering the Blame
Plummer Puts Loss On His Shoulders, But 'You Can't Pin It On One Guy,' Says Alexander
By Andrew Mason
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the wood-paneled darkness of a subterranean 34-year-old locker room, a man who's been working at his job for nearly a decade knew exactly what was coming.
The Denver Broncos' much-anticipated holiday showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs was over; they lost 19-10, were saddled with their first two-game regular-season losing streak in nearly two years and left Arrowhead Stadium trailing the San Diego Chargers by a game and a half and the Chiefs by a division-record tiebreaker.
Jake Plummer knew what would happen when the locker-room doors opened to the media, and he faced it as he would an opposing pass rush -- by facing the tumult, rather than running for safety.
"If I was ever a quitter, I never would have made it this far, and wouldn't have done what I've done in the league," he said. "All I can try to control is what I do on the field and I battled my a-- off today and just didn't make a few plays. I feel like I let the guys down, but I think a lot of guys feel that way."
Denver's locker room was understandably disconsolate after the loss.
"It's down," said fullback Kyle Johnson, who first joined the Broncos in 2002. "As far as the regular season goes, it is proportional to some of the biggest losses we've experienced."
It was as downbeat as tight end Nate Jackson has ever witnessed in his four seasons since joining the team in 2003 via trade.
"It really is -- because we expect so much," Jackson said. "We expect so much that when we don't come through, it sucks -- and it hurts."
So much, in fact, that the moment brought what sounded like a sliver of a quiver to the voice of Plummer, ever so slightly betraying the rugged, indefatigable face he's borne through a 10-season career filled with as many peaks and valleys as the inland West that has been his home -- from Idaho to Arizona to Colorado.
"I'm going to take a few days off and come back," he said, "and if I'm still behind the trigger, I'm going to play my a-- off -- as hard as I can, like I always have."
Plummer was a man hurting. Not because of a story published on NFL.com, in which Adam Schefter asserted that Jay Cutler could get the starting nod by the Seahawks game 10 days later. Not because inquisitors' cold queries flew at him like hailstones during a Front Range storm.
It was simply because his team had lost, and he felt responsible for it.
"I didn't make some plays today, and I've got to make those plays," he said.
A 76.4 passer rating on Thursday, the five interceptions in three games ... mere irrelevancies for Plummer. The two losses in five days, though ... those were the daggers that wounded hium.
"That's it. I don't care if I play like s---. I want to win," Plummer said. "I don't care if I throw no completions; I want to win ballgames. That's all I care about.
"I don't care how pretty I look -- obviously," he said, gesturing to a wacky western-themed shirt that seemed ripped from John Ford's worst sartorial nightmare. "I want to play ball and try to win games for my team, and if that doesn't happen, that's frustrating to me, and a lot of times I get too much credit and too much blame, right now the blame is there."
Whether the rumors are true or not...It's frustrating to see everyone here act as if they are fact. We seem to take three steps ahead of where we are today. Too many here try and solve the problems with our play by blaming one person or one side of the team...and reality is, you can't blame just one person. It is a team sport and how each person playes effects the rest of the team.