When the Broncos signed free-agent quarterback Steve Beuerlein, it appeared that the future of Gus Frerotte had suddenly become expendable.
Thursday afternoon in Greeley, it was Beuerlein that became expendable, due to a partially torn tendon in his throwing elbow. Minimally the injury is expected to sideline the fifteen-year veteran the first eight games of the 2001 season.
Not the best news considering the NFL plays a sixteen game season.
Now the Broncos are faced with the decision whether or not to place Beuerlein on injured reserve, which would sideline the teams' projected backup the entire season.
"It's never an easy decision," Shanahan said. "That's why you go with your gut feeling."
Shanahan's gut feeling tells him to wait a few weeks before making that commitment, a feeling shared by offensive coordinator Gay Kubiak, who is well aware of the potential for more injuries as the preseason rolls on.
"If you get somebody nicked, then you've got another decision to make," said Kubiak. "We've got to see how things pan out the next few weeks."
With Beuerlein down, Frerotte solidifies the number two spot behind veteran Brian Griese, with NFL Europe star Jarrious Jackson firmly entrenched as number three. Considering Griese's recent history, the chances of a Frerotte directed offense seem to be growing by the day.
"It'll answer some questions, maybe not the way that I thought or Steve thought it would happen, but at least we kind of know what's going to happen now," said Frerotte.
"I feel bad for Steve because he's a competitor, but it kind of eases my mind more or less from a family standpoint. I don't have to worry if I did go somewhere, packing everybody up and moving everything, or being without my family for a while."
Look for Frerotte and Jackson to share the majority of snaps during this Saturday's game against Green Bay, with Griese directing no more than the first few offensive drives.