Posted Sat Sep 13th by Jonathan Douglas
Stefan Fatsis’s book “A Few Seconds of Panic” has revealed several interesting insights into the Broncos organization as they prepared and played in the 2006 season. The Denver Post has been promoting the book by printing sections of it in the paper. The current installment centers on Jake Plummer and his eventual benching.
The most significant issue that surfaces in the text is Mike Shanahan‘s number one pet peeve – missing off-season workouts. Jake Plummer only made 85% of his off-season workouts that year (the lowest on the team). For a team captain and leader of the offense to miss ANY of the workouts in Denver is nearly as bad for your career as lying to Coach Shanahan’s face. 85% is practically a slap in the face to the team and great players like Rod Smith.
In Plummer’s case, he not only gave up $200k in workout bonuses, he JUST didn’t seem to understand why this was important to Shanahan and the team. In Fatsis’s account of his post-benching conversation with Plummer, Jake says this:
“Yeah, I missed some workouts. And you know what?” Jake lowers his head to the table and talks directly into my tape recorder. “Mike Shanahan, you can kiss my [ass] for being pissed at that. You can quote that. I made 85% of my workouts and he’s still mad about it. He still brought that up. Give me a break. That’s the dumbest [damn] thing on earth…. Well, if that’s the reason (I was benched), then I’m glad I didn’t make those. Because I don’t want to be here every day in the off-season.”
Well, there you go folks…
I loved watching Plummer play. I liked his fit in Denver’s system, but blowing off the off-season workouts and posting the lowest participation on the team is completely unacceptable from your QB. The great players at that position are the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. And the fact that Plummer couldn’t understand that (and was even pissed about it) makes me now understand the cold shoulder Shanahan showed him during that season – specifically related to the not telling Plummer of his benching personally.
I’m sure letplummerplay.com will have a different spin on this issue, but I think this puts to rest the real reasons behind Plummer’s benching. I can see now that Shanahan could not allow another off-season of partial participation from his starting QB. From Plummer’s own statements, he simply didn’t want to be there every day, and that attitude can have a devastating effect on the morale of the young team Shanahan was building.
I still like Jake. I still respect his decision to walk away and live his life the way he wanted. But I now also understand Shanahan’s decision making that year.