“The Snake” slithers back into town this weekend, but Jake Plummer will again play the role he has in previous visits: Wearing a hat and toting a clipboard.
Sunday’s game will be Plummer’s third return since the former Arizona State and Cardinals quarterback left the Valley in 2002, but for the third time he’s unlikely to see the field for the Denver Broncos.
Plummer began the season as Denver’s starter, but after throwing 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions — contributing to Denver’s four-game losing streak — Broncos coach Mike Shanahan benched Plummer in favor of rookie first-round pick Jay Cutler two weeks ago.
Cutler has completed 53 percent of his passes and thrown four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The plan was for Cutler to watch and learn under Plummer, but even with a solid running game and the addition of Javon Walker at receiver, the Broncos’ passing game struggled.
Plummer still wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He has three years remaining on his contract but likely won’t remain with Denver after the season.
Despite the demotion, he’s kept his feelings to himself in the Mile High City.
“He talked to me when I got named the starter and kind of said that things were not going to change between me and him, and he was going to help me out as much as possible,” Cutler said. ”And that is what he has done. These past two games he has been there for me and doing whatever he can.”
Said Shanahan: “He’s been such a first-class guy. No one likes being demoted, that’s for sure, and nobody is happy with it, but he couldn’t be classier than he’s been.”
Despite the rocky road Plummer has traveled this season, count Cardinals coach Dennis Green among those who expect the former Sun Devil to find regular playing time next season.
Such is life in the NFL.
“A guy should never think he can’t play just because he doesn’t play for a particular team anymore,” Green said. “There’s always a spot for a great competitor and Jake’s a great competitor.”
Five players missed at least a portion of Wednesday’s practice with injuries, so the Cardinals opted not to wear pads.
Running back Marcel Shipp’s ribs appear to be the most serious of the ailments. He was downgraded to doubtful Wednesday. Shipp had sore ribs last week, but the team listed him as probable before the Seattle game.
“They’re quite a bit more sore than they were last week,” Green said.
Reggie Wells didn’t practice while battling a virus but is expected to play Sunday.
Green was hopeful Chike Okeafor (calf) would return to practice today.
Cornerback Robert Tate and tackle Reggie Wells (illness) are listed as probable.
LEWIS JOINS FRONT OFFICE
Former Cardinals offensive lineman Bill Lewis, who until recently had hosted a radio show on KDUS (1060 AM), has been hired to work with Cards alumni and be a liaison for Cardinals charities.