Chargers at Broncos Game Notes

This is the 88th meeting between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos hold a 48-38-1 advantage and are 31-11-1 at home vs. the Chargers. Denver won the last meeting, 37-13 in San Diego. The Chargers have won but twice there since 1994. In their last two visits, they have lost by at least 10 points.

Chargers Camp:

--Marty Schottenheimer coached teams have fared well against Denver QB Jake Plummer -- when Plummer was in Arizona. When the Plummer led the Broncos past the Chargers in Week 2, it marked the first time Schottenheimer had lost to Plummer in five games.
--The Chargers are facing the Broncos after their bye, which isn't good. Denver is 10-4 after its bye.
--Doug Flutie, 41, was the oldest quarterback to start an NFL game since Warren Moon at 44 years.
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson is on track to rush for 1,675 yards; he set the franchise mark last year at 1,683.
--Flutie's winning performance broke a nine-game losing streak. He was the starter in 2001, when the team ended the season with nine straight losses.
--With the spotlight on Flutie and the receivers, Tomlinson has gone under the radar for the past week. And that's fine with him: "It's awesome for me. If those guys can take the pressure off me and I can stay low key but still do my thing, it's great for me. I don't mind at all."
--DE Marcellus Wiley continues to play, but not collect any significant statistics. Wiley, has one sack in nine games, had one assist in Sunday's win over the Vikings.
--Would you buy a house from this man? Schottenheimer worked in real estate in Denver before beginning his coaching career.
--Ex-Chargers DB Ryan McNeil signed with the Broncos this week. He was cut during training camp.
--The Chargers, who have struggled in the red zone this year, were on the mark on Sunday. In five trips inside the Minnesota 20, they scored touchdown on each possession.
--The team dropped WR Dondre Gilliam from the practice squad and added DE Omari Hand.

Injury Updates:

--C Cory Raymer took all his snaps Wednesday, despite fracturing his right hand on Sunday. He should be a go for Sunday.
--C Jason Ball (ankle) practice for the first time since being hurt on Oct. 19. But he did very little, and is questionable for Sunday. That's why it's key that Raymer is able to go.
--DE Raylee Johnson (foot) didn't work, and is doubtful for Sunday.
--RT Solomon Page (ankle) didn't work, and isn't being counted on for Sunday. Rookie Courtney Van Buren would replace him; that gives the Chargers two rookies on the right side, with undrafted rookie Phil Bogle at right guard.
--TE Stephen Alexander (groin) should be activated on Sunday.
--DE Marcellus Wiley (ankle) didn't practice, but Schottenheimer declined to term the injury as serious. Wiley will go on Sunday.
--S Vernon Fox (groin) is fine.

Broncos Camp:

--Is Shanahan getting more paranoid? For the first time in nine years he's closed practices during the regular season.

--Unlike with Dale Carter a few years ago, the Broncos are standing behind fullback Mike Anderson, who has been suspended for four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Anderson admitted that he tested positive for marijuana, but insists that he inhaled only second-hand smoke, and that his levels were so low it wouldn't even be deemed a positive test in the state of Colorado.

"I've known Mike Anderson since the day he was drafted, and he's been nothing but a stand-up, outstanding person," Broncos GM Ted Sundquist said.

Anderson, in a prepared statement that the Broncos helped him write, said, "I want to apologize to my fans and the entire community for this humiliating and embarrassing situation."

--Cornerback Ryan McNeil was released by San Diego at the end of training camp as part of the team's youth movement.

Now he may get a chance to face his former team after signing a one-year deal with the Broncos.

"The Chargers made a decision to go in a different direction, which is fine. They had that right," said McNeil, now on his sixth team in 11 years. "Anybody who was on the team when they traded Junior (Seau) realized no one is untouchable."

Before he faces the Chargers, he'll have to show coaches he knows enough of Denver's defense before being activated.

Lenny Walls and Kelly Herndon will remain the starting corners, but expect McNeil to push embattled Deltha O'Neal for playing time in Denver's nickel packages.

O'Neal has given up at least five touchdown passes this year, and his mental lapses are wearing on Broncos coaches.

Asked if signing McNeil was a direct reflection on O'Neal, Shanahan bluntly said, "Yes."

Don't be surprised to see O'Neal not play a down on defense this week.

Injury Updates:

--QB Jake Plummer remains listed as questionable but he has been taking all the reps at practice and will start.
--K Jason Elam tested his groin by kicking a few balls Wednesday and though coaches are optimistic, he will need to continue to progress.
--WR Ed McCaffrey returned to the practice field on a limited basis but he is still doubtful for Sunday's game because of a quadriceps tendon injury. That means more playing time for Ashley Lelie and Chris Cole.
--LB Donnie Spragan practice and likely will start as his sprained ankle is much improved.
--LT Ephraim Salaam has been practicing all week and will start Sunday after missing two games.
--FB Mike Anderson is out because of a four-game substance-abuse suspension. That moves Reuben Droughns into the starting lineup. The suspension also will force some changes on special teams as Anderson was a big part of that as well. He also was a tailback at times, spelling Clinton Portis, so look for Quentin Griffin to get those duties this week.

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