November 2006

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Jake of Arabia

It looks like Jake Plummer is finished as the Broncos quarterback and I think it’s the right move. With apologies to Peter King, here are ten things I think about Jake and some other stuff…

1. Jake is a good QB. He plays his heart out on every play in every game. There are not a lot of pro football players you can say that about. He plays for his team and not for himself. But he makes bad mistakes, mistakes you expect from a rookie QB and not from a ten year veteran. What’s worse, he has a stubborn refusal to learn from his mistakes. His mantra after his “bad Jake” games is, “Hey, that’s me. You get the good with the bad and I’m not going to change who I am.” It’s great to be who you are but it’s also a good idea to learn from your mistakes and it seems like his refusal to adjust his game to stop making those bad throws was his achilles heel.

2. Jake is not going to win us a Super Bowl. He played horribly in the AFC Championship Game at the new Mile High last year. We were extremely lucky to be playing that game at all and to be playing that game in Denver. We were handed that opportunity on a silver platter. But Jake upended the platter and our season came crashing down. It makes it hard to trust him to deliver next time.

3. The Broncos are not going to win the Super Bowl this year. They cannot beat the Colts, especially not in Indianapolis. Odds are, nobody is going to knock off the Colts for us this year. And what about the Chargers? We lost to them at home and they didn’t have a couple of their best players. I doubt we can beat them on the road in the playoffs.

4. Shanahan has not let loose his offense because he is afraid Jake will turn the ball over. Yet even on this restricted diet, Jake makes awful throws. In other words, with his rookie playbook and his rookie mistakes it’s as if we’re playing a rookie quarterback right now! Why not play the real rookie quarterback, the one who we believe can grow into the full playbook?

5. I like Jake. He may not have has all of Elway’s skills but I think he has Elway’s drive and the fans appreciate that. Brian Griese, for instance, did not seem to have that drive. I also admire Jake for his support of Pat Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation.

6. I don’t know much about Jay but I’m already on the bandwagon and we haven’t even left the barn. For better or worse, Jay is the future of the Broncos. It’s going to be fun to watch the future unfold — starting Sunday.

7. It is funny how this is being treated with all the importance of a Presidential succession here in Denver. It’s just football people!

8. Along those lines, I watched the ND-USC game over the weekend and after a Notre Dame score, Brady Quinn came over to the sideline and sat on the bench and, dripping in sweat, he spurned the phone bearer (the coaches upstairs were calling) while he caught his breath. It was a great football moment. And then Brent Musberger, his own adrenaline surging, said, “BRADY QUINN IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR HERE!” And that annoyed me, because I was watching a football game, not a war. And in the real war things are not going well. Just that day we’d heard that six guys were doused with kerosene and lit on fire as they exited a mosque. So I think Brent Musberger should use his head and not say stupid things like that.

9. It’s always irritated me when pro athletes talk about “going to war” with their teammates. At first it was a minor irritation but it has had a cumulative effect on me to the point where any attempt to equate a game with war really annoys me. Maybe it’s because I listen to sports to help me forget about serious stuff like the war and it pricks my guilty conscience. But it’s also because such comments reflect such cluelessness about what’s going on in the world.

10. The bottom line is that Jake Plummer is about the 15th best in the world at what he does and we’re thinking Jay Cutler will be at least the 10th best, hopefully better. Jake will be no doubt be a starting QB for another team next year and he’ll enjoy several more years in the NFL. But here’s my idea for his retirement years. I wonder if Jake Plummer would be interested in leading an Arab nation to democracy? Sort of a Lawrence of Arabia for the 21st century. He’s got the passion for life that Lawrence of Arabia had, the determination and sense of adventure, and the beard. Jake of Arabia, I like the sound of that…

Last night, Mom and I went to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute at Denver’s new opera house. It was fun to hobnob with the high culture crowd–and to just generally be out and about.

As for this Mozart kid, I’ll tell you what, he’s the real deal. He’s gonna be playin’ on Sundays.

At the Opera

Farewell 46L!

Most bus routes in Denver are north-south or east-west. When I moved into my new house in southeast Denver in 2004, I was fortunate to find the 46L, a diagonal route that basically ran from my house to downtown Denver and back. I could get on a block from my house and get off fifty feet from the door to my office building.

Effective today, 46L has been discontinued. The new southeast Denver light rail system makes my beloved route obsolete in RTD’s eyes. They’re probably right, but still, I’ll miss ‘er. My commute time was nearly the same whether I drove downtown or took the bus and that’s if I paid for parking. If I parked for free circa 12th & Pearl, driving took longer.

The 46L would wind around the neighborhood out here so to save time in the morning I drove over to South Cherry and parked my car on the street — where somebody vandalized my side-view mirrors, I won’t miss that part. What I will miss is the time I could spend reading on the bus before and after work and the people-watching opportunities that only public transport can provide.

Light rail is not a great option for me because I would have to drive to the Colorado Blvd light rail station (not that far, but further than South Cherry). Light rail would then take me downtown and drop me on the 16th Street Mall, quite a distance from my office at 13th and Sherman. In short, the new system would add at least 30 minutes to my commute each way. The 46L has spoiled me.

I was already leaning toward driving into work after my retransplant. As much as I enjoy riding the bus (and I really do), taking public transport means mixing with the public and that is something immunosuppressed people should generally avoid. This applies doubly for light rail and the 16th Street Mall shuttles because they are more crowded. I’m in favor of light rail and a big fan of public transport in general, and I’ll give the new system a whirl, but I suspect I’ll usually be driving into work. I’ll miss you 46L! We had some good times.

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