Cutler to replace Plummer as Broncos' starting QB

Updated: November 26, 2006, 9:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Denver Broncos quarterback controversy is headed for a resolution.

Jay Cutler
Cutler

Head coach Mike Shanahan plans to turn to rookie Jay Cutler to replace incumbent Jake Plummer for the rest of the season, starting with the team's Dec. 3 game against Seattle.

The Denver Post first reported the change Sunday, and team sources confirmed to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Shanahan plans to install the rookie behind center. ESPN.com's John Clayton said there's "no question" Cutler will be the starter against the Seahawks.

Quarterback
Denver Broncos

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
315 175 1886 11 12 70.5

Shanahan was planning to meet with his staff Sunday, The Associated Press reported, but the soonest he'll address the issue publicly would be after Monday's practice, team spokesman Jim Saccomano said.

Plummer said Thursday night after the Broncos' 19-10 loss to the Chiefs that he hadn't been told his days as the starter were over, but he appeared to be steeling himself for a benching nonetheless.

"I'm the starter right now, and if Mike wants to put Jay in there, then my play hasn't warranted him to not do it. Whatever he wants to do is what I have to go with," Plummer said.

Plummer has struggled all season despite leading the Broncos to a 7-4 record. Denver ranks 26th in the NFL with 171.5 pass yards per game and is tied for 21st in the league with 17.7 points per game. Plummer's passer rating of 70.5 is 29th in the league, ahead of only Bruce Gradkowski (70.1), Drew Bledsoe (69.2), Matt Leinart (68.1), Vince Young (56.1), and Andrew Walter (55.0).

That's not the most prestigious list. Bledsoe was benched after six games for Dallas in favor of Tony Romo; Gradkowski, Leinart, and Young are all rookies; and Walter is in his first year as a starter.

Plummer, meanwhile, is in his 10th season and has started 46 straight games for the Broncos since 2003 but has been unable to get the offense moving in 11 games this year.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN. John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report.