Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Sept. 20

Mike Anderson (in photo) is still the Denver Broncos' starting tailback, but Ron Dayne might have done enough to earn some more playing time. Read more in today's edition of Broncos Update Insider.

Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that running back Mike Anderson is still the starter, even after Dayne was Denver's hero on its final game-winning drive against San Diego. How the playing time might be split up is a mystery, even to the players involved.

"You never know with Coach Shanahan," Anderson said. "We change it up from week to week; personnel changes, too. So you never know."

Dayne had two carries for six yards when he got in the game on Denver's final drive. He had a 13-yard gain on his first carry on that drive, which was the Broncos' longest run of the game, and he stayed in the rest of that drive. He picked up three first downs on that drive and had 38 yards on six carries.

Dayne had a great preseason, but was inactive for Denver's first game. He fits the Broncos' zone blocking scheme well -- he ran behind a similar scheme in college at Wisconsin, where he was a Heisman Trophy winner.

Dayne's Broncos teammates have been surprised at his burst and how hard he runs.

Anderson can be excused for not being very effective against San Diego. He was playing through separated rib cartilage, but still managed to carry the ball 15 times. He had 49 rushing yards with a long run of eight yards, but he was going against a Chargers defense that has had a lot of success the past two seasons stopping Denver's rushing attack.

Shanahan said Tatum Bell, who slipped to third string behind Dayne, would still be a factor. He said he planned on getting Bell some carries against the Chargers before he was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury.

"It's good to have a few guys that can get the job done," Shanahan said.


---Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was not pleased Denver was penalized for having too many men on the field during Darrent Williams' punt return for a touchdown against San Diego. A couple of players ran on the field too soon, and officials called the penalty, nullifying the touchdown. Shanahan said he didn't want to be fined so he wouldn't talk about the call, but then he changed his mind and said the call was unnecessary.

"It had nothing to do with the play," Shanahan said. "It was in the end zone. It was disappointing. That will cost me five grand."

--Defensive end Courtney Brown had a sack in his Broncos debut. He missed the entire preseason and Denver's first game because of a dislocated elbow, and played in passing situations against San Diego. He could go back in the starting lineup as soon as this week if the Broncos decide to replace Ebenezer Ekuban.

"(Brown) is ready right now," Shanahan said.

--Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said he felt no problems after playing against San Diego with a dislocated left shoulder. Bailey had a game-changing interception return for a touchdown in the win.

"I feel OK, just usual post-game soreness," Bailey said. "Nothing major."


--K Paul Ernster, Denver's rookie kickoff specialist, might have been active against San Diego, but he suffered a minor knee injury during pregame warm-ups. After that, the Broncos decided to have Todd Sauerbrun kick off.

--P Todd Sauerbrun is Jason Elam's new holder this season, and they had some problems against San Diego, leading to two missed field goals. But Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't have a problem with Sauerbrun's holds. --RB Tatum Bell has a sprained ankle. The Broncos don't think it is serious and they hope he can practice by Thursday. Denver still has plans to use Bell as a change-of-pace back.

--WR Rod Smith is nearing 10,000 receiving yards for his career, but he has always been a blue-collar player. A perfect example came Sunday when the Broncos ran a pitch to his side on fourth down and 1, and Smith made a great block on Chargers cornerback Drayton Florence to lead Ron Dayne to a first-down run.

-- DE Marco Coleman was inactive against San Diego. The Broncos have plenty of younger ends and Coleman was the odd man out. Coleman started all 16 games for the Broncos last season.

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