Beuerlein to Start, Sharpe Update

After getting some practice time in, Brian Griese hoped to be ready to start this week against the Chargers. The Chargers were left with the possibility of preparing for two quarterbacks.

Broncos quarterback Steve Beuerlein will get the start instead this Sunday against San Diego because Brian Griese is still favoring his sprained left knee.

Denver Coach Mike Shanahan decided to start Beuerlein after reviewing practice this week.

"After looking at practice yesterday, he can do some things but I hate to put him in that situation where he doesn't have full mobility and be able to do the things that he needs to do,'' Shanahan said. "We just studied the film and he was favoring it.''

Shanahan said earlier in the week that Griese's availability would be a game-time decision. But he named Beuerlein the starter to give him time with the first-team offense.

Beuerlein and Griese split time with the starters during practices Wednesday and Thursday.

"I don't want to take away the reps from Steve and give him the reps when there's a chance that he wouldn't be able to go -- probably a good chance,'' Shanahan said.

Beuerlein was 15-for-24 for 185 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in Denver's 23-20 overtime loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.

It is surely disappointing news for Griese who earlier in the week wanted to push himself to get ready for the weekend as three teams are tied atop the division at 7-4.

"I'm going to push myself to the point where I know whether I can play or not," Griese said. "It's a huge game for us, and it's a must-win for us, no doubt. With what happened last week and (the Chargers) being in our division and tied for the lead in our division, we have to win this game. So I'm going to do everything I possibly can to get out there and play."

Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer has claimed that he would not change the way he prepared either way.

"We will not prepare any differently for either quarterback," he said. "They are very, very similar in their quick release, quick decision-making and their accuracy."

Keep in mind that the Chargers have not done very well against backups who have been elevated to a starting role this season. Last week Ray Lucas had a solid game against them and previously Chad Pennington also smoked the Chargers.

Sharpe Update

Shanahan also said tight end Shannon Sharpe continues to improve, but his status against the Chargers remains a game-time decision.

"Shannon has made some strides, he looked pretty good today, and I've got to sit down and talk with him and see how good he feels,'' Shanahan said.

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