Portis still sore; Plummer airs it out more

On Wednesday, Jake Plummer admitted he couldn't' throw the ball 40 yards if he had to. Thursday was a different story as the Broncos' starting quarterback aired it out a few times.

On Wednesday, Jake Plummer admitted he couldn't' throw the ball 40 yards if he had to. Thursday was a different story as the Broncos' starting quarterback aired it out a few times.

"His arm was vastly improved from (Wednesday). I don't think it's anywhere close to being 100 percent. There's some soreness there and hopefully there's no setback," coach Mike Shanahan said.

He insisted the biggest issue wasn't whether Plummer worried about taking another hit to the shoulder, where he has a mild separation.

"Can he go out there and function and not think about his shoulder and execute our offense and feel comfortable with it?" Shanahan said.

If not, Steve Beuerlein, who took half the reps with the first team Thursday, would start.

Shanahan will make a decision on Plummer, who is listed as questionable, long before game time but he likely won't announce that decision.

--QB Steve Beuerlein looked pretty good in practice in sharing reps with Jake Plummer, and if coach Mike Shanahan is the least bit concerned that Plummer will think about his shoulder, he'll go with the trusty vet instead.

--RB Clinton Portis practice Thursday but did not participate in contact drills. He reported feeling better, though still sore. Unlike with his quarterback, Shanahan didn't hesitate to say Portis would start.

--DT Daryl Gardener has vowed big things Monday night, but he has practiced little. Shanahan said if he continues to make progress he'll play, but that would entail de-activating another player.

--CB Lenny Walls grew up watching Jerry Rice in the Bay Area. Now he'll be forced to cover one of his former idols. Walls, a first-year starter, vows he isn't intimidated. He hasn't shied away from aggressive play, with seven passes defensed in the first two games.

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