GAME PLAN: The Broncos don't often run that well against the Chargers and their strong defensive line. Denver usually has problems against a 3-4 defense, and they'll have to figure out a solution this week. Denver hasn't been running the ball well lately, which is unusual in Mike Shanahan's offense.
Defensively the Broncos have some tough choices. If they crowd the line against San Diego, Philip Rivers has shown the ability to beat them. If they drop back, they're in danger of allowing a big day to LaDainian Tomlinson. The Broncos probably won't blitz as much as they did against the Raiders last week.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos C Tom Nalen vs. Chargers DT Jamal Williams. Williams usually plays well against the Broncos, who have some troubles against 3-4 defenses. Nalen is crafty and he'll have to keep Williams from getting penetration if the Broncos want to snap out of their slump in the running game.
--Broncos LB D.J. Williams vs. Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Without safety Sam Brandon, out for the season with a knee injury, in the defense's "big nickel" package the Broncos aren't as versatile on defense. Williams will take a few more turns against Gates, who the Broncos have always played well.
INJURY IMPACT: LB Ian Gold did some things at the start of practice on Wednesday but didn't participate in the team portion. He has a hamstring injury and would have to make strides to play this week.
--DE Patrick Chukwurah, who has a hamstring injury, did a little bit in practice this week. The Broncos will evaluate him through the week.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban has a thigh injury. He missed last week's game and is questionable on the injury report, and would have to make a speedy recovery to play this week.
--RB Tatum Bell has two injured big toes. He practiced on Wednesday
but the Broncos have to make a tough judgment call on whether how many
carries he will be healthy enough to handle this week.
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