The Denver Broncos' options at left tackle for the rest of the season are somewhat limited.
Matt Lepsis was put on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his right knee, which forced the Broncos to evaluate what they have in reserve. Cooper Carlisle is the most experienced option, but almost all of his pro experience has been at right guard. He has been Denver's starter since late in the 2004 season.
He does have some NFL experience at left tackle, and he started some games at left tackle for the University of Florida.
"He has played out there so we feel comfortable," Shanahan said. "He has played out there and he has played well when he has played."
The Broncos could also turn to Erik Pears, who filled in after Lepsis injured his knee against Cleveland. Pears was an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State and he spent last season on the Broncos' practice squad. He struggled at times against Cleveland but he has good size and is athletic.
"He's a great, talented young guy," tight end Stephen Alexander said. "He really gets after people."
The Broncos will probably look at the available veterans, but that will likely be to add to their depth and not find an immediate starter.
--QB Jake Plummer remains on the hot seat after a poor finish against the Browns. He did show signs of regaining his touch with a strong first three quarters against Cleveland. The Broncos need him to be effective this week against Indianapolis.
--RB Tatum Bell has a turf toe injury that he has been dealing with for a few weeks. He missed some time in the fourth quarter against Cleveland, but did get back in the game and shouldn't be affected this week.
--RB Mike Bell got some playing time against Cleveland and had a couple of nice runs. Bell is a tough runner but he has been behind Tatum Bell since the second week of the season.
--WR Javon Walker is one of Denver's best players. He is great with the ball in the air and has been reliable on third down as well. He has a good rhythm going with Jake Plummer.
--WR Rod Smith caught six passes for 69 yards against Cleveland. That was a good sign for Denver's offense, which needs someone other than Javon Walker to be productive in the offense.
--WR Brian Clark was added to the Broncos active roster from the practice squad. Denver had the roster spot open when Matt Lepsis was put on injured reserve.
--K Jason Elam missed a field goal against Cleveland, only his second miss of the season. He was kicking in poor weather conditions.
--CB Champ Bailey will be a big part of Denver's performance this week against Indianapolis. If he can take away one side of the field against Indianapolis, it will take the pressure off the rest of the defense.
--DE Elvis Dumervil has five sacks in his last two games, and might start getting more attention from opposing offenses soon. Dumervil has great burst and long arms, which helps compensate for his lack of height.
--DT Gerard Warren now has to deal with pain in both of his big toes. He dislocated the left big toe in training camp - an injury that still bothers him a bit -- and then sprained his right big toe and missed almost all of Sunday's game against Cleveland. He could play this week if he can deal with the pain.
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