Another week, another lineup controversy for the Broncos.
The quarterback controversy is quiet for one week after Jake Plummer played well against Indianapolis. In its place is a tailback controversy between Tatum Bell and Mike Bell.
Tatum Bell was out most of the second half because of turf toe problems. Mike Bell took over and rushed for 135 yards, opening up the possibility of Mike Bell at least splitting carries in a committee again.
"I guess we might as well start that controversy and get away from the quarterback," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Mike Bell looked fresh. He ran hard, and the Broncos offense played its best game of the year with him leading the way. That probably earned him some playing time. Mike Bell and Tatum Bell split carries the first two games of the year, then the Broncos allowed Tatum Bell to take the full-time job. Tatum Bell played very well in that role, but injuries have opened the door for Mike Bell again.
Shanahan wouldn't entertain the thought of sitting Tatum Bell for a while to get him back near 100 percent. Bell couldn't cut back in Sunday's game because of the pain in both of his big toes. He has dealt with that problem for a couple of weeks.
"I'm sure he'd be a lot better if he sat down for a couple of weeks," Shanahan said. "I think everybody would feel a lot better if they sat down for a couple of weeks. Everybody is sore this time of year, everybody is tired this time of year. If he's injured, he won't play, and if he's hurting, he'll do his best to play."
--The Broncos signed practice squad WR Brian Clark to the active roster to keep him from signing with Green Bay. Clark was signed last week when OT Matt Lepsis went on injured reserve. Clark returned kickoffs for the Broncos against Indianapolis on Sunday. "It's been good to finally be able to calm down, after the whole hustle and bustle between Green Bay and Denver and making that decision," Clark said.
--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was impressed with Erik Pears' first NFL start. Pears started at left tackle in place of Matt Lepsis, who is out for the season.
"Erik is a very conscientious guy," Shanahan said. "He really prepared hard, it sure wasn't a perfect game by no means, but if we get that type of effort by everybody, good things will happen."
--TE Tony Scheffler had a breakthrough game. He had two catches in his first six games, but he had four catches and a team-high 51 yards against Indianapolis. Scheffler should continue to be a big part of Denver's passing game.
--DT Gerard Warren will be re-evaluated this week to see if he can play against Pittsburgh. Warren missed Sunday's game with a sprained right big toe.
--CB Darrent Williams had a tough day against Peyton Manning but said he felt better after watching film. Williams said he was on WR Reggie Wayne, who had 10 catches, and covered him well at times, but Manning threw great passes. Williams carries himself with confidence and should bounce back.
--FB Kyle Johnson, who sat out the second half of Sunday's game when his sprained ankle flared up, should be able to practice this week. The Broncos don't have much depth at fullback.
--P Paul Ernster is playing well since being chosen as Denver's punter over Todd Sauerbrun. Ernster has been consistent with kickoffs, and his punts have been high enough to allow Denver to cover well.
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