Cutler shines in QB debut

Aug 15, 2006 2:06 AM

The Broncos were more than satisfied with their first exhibition effort from Jake, only it was Cutler, not Plummer.

Welcome, to quarterback controversy 2006

Forget about Denver’s 20-13 loss at Detroit, provided you didn’t bet the Broncos getting two points or mess with the ”˜over’ 37½ posted total. Never mind that the line moved from Denver -3½ to +2. Concentrate only on Cutler’s excellent numbers —16-of 22, 192 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions.

Fans that were salivating over Cutler prior to the game are now in full bloom love with the ex-Vandy star. The ball now falls into Plummer’s court for this week’s second preseason contest against Tennessee and its first-round phenom QB Vince Young at Invesco Field this Friday night.

You can even add runningback controversy to Coach Mike Shanahan’s plate, with the Mike Bell vs. Tatum Bell battle for the No. 1 spot still up in the air. Mike hurt his chances with a costly fumble, though the Broncos did rush for a modest 120 yards and had the ball for rough 36 of the 60 minutes.

The Titans enter preseason Week 2 coming off a 19-16 home loss to New Orleans in the much-hyped Young vs Reggie Bush matchup. Tennessee is now 0-1 against the spread, coming in as a three-point favorite over the Saints.

Game 3 in the exhibition season usually showcases the starting units for at least a half, so it’s unlikely Plummer will see that much action against the Titans. So, look for more from Cutler and perhaps more controversy talk if he produces another impressive outing.

Defensively, the Broncos played consistently. They allowed 123 yards rushing and 123 yards passing to a Lions team that clearly wanted to win this football game for their win-starved fans.

Denver is likely to put up a win against Tennessee, which hosts Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons next week in Nashville. The Broncos will host Houston in the lone Sunday night game Aug. 27.

The final Denver preseason game is just four days later at Arizona against the new and supposedly improved Cardinals. The Broncos open regular season play at St. Louis against the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Caesars Palace has the Broncos 10-1 to win the Super Bowl and 5-1 to capture the AFC championship. The ”˜over / under’ projected win total is 10½.