Broncos Mid-Week Wrap

Practice notes and team news heading into week three of the 2003 NFL season.

Mike Shanahan took a gamble starting the season with only two quarterbacks.
   But with Jake Plummer still limited Wednesday because of first-degree shoulder separation, Shanahan figured it was too risky to continue the trend going into Monday night's showdown with the Oakland Raiders.
   He re-signed Danny Kanell to be his emergency QB. It makes sense considering the punishment the Raiders have inflicted on Denver quarterbacks in the past.
   Brian Griese suffered three separate shoulder injuries against the Raiders, not to mention a busted chin.
   After playing so poorly in the first two games, the Raiders will be out for blood Monday night - the 21st such meeting between the clubs.
   Plummer shared first-team reps with backup Steve Beuerlein on Wednesday, and though it looked like he had plenty of velocity, he never attempted a pass more than 20 yards.
   Granted in Denver's offense, he may not need to.
   "I felt all right," Plummer said afterward. "I didn't really throw anything real hard. But it was good to go through the reads and put the ball in some places. It felt good."
   Plummer has vowed to start Monday night. If he does, he can only hope he breaks a trend. The Broncos have been dreadful in prime-time the recent years. They have lost three straight on Monday night Football, and seven of the last 10 such appearances. Last year they were 0-4 in prime time.
   Though the Raiders are struggling, coming off an overtime win over Cincinnati, Denver isn't about to take them lightly.
   Memories of last year's debacle are all too fresh. The Raiders had lost four in a row when they faced a Broncos team coming off a bye week. Behind pinpoint passing by Rich Gannon, they shredded Denver's defense. Gannon completed 34 of 38 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
   They exposed us in the past," secondary coach David Gibbs said. "We've got to play better this time."
   --QB Jake Plummer shared first-team reps with Steve Beuerlein and vowed to play Monday despite a minor shoulder separation. But he never attempted to throw the ball deep, and his status figures to remain questionable up to game time.
   --RB Clinton Portis practice Wednesday and vowed to play Monday. But he admitted he didn't feel as good Tuesday as he did Monday after suffering a bruised sternum vs. The Chargers. Portis still figures to get his 20 touches - whether as runnintg back or receiver, with Mike Anderson andn Reuben Droughns ready to spell him.
   --QB Danny Kanell was working out with his high school team two days ago, now he's running Denver's scout team after being re-signed to provide depth at the position. Kanell has a good grasp of Denver's offense, and could step in in a pinch if both Plummer and Beuerlein were knocked out.
   --DT Daryl Gardener has talked a big game as he prepares to make his first appearance as a Bronco but he has done little work in practice. Unless he continues to add reps, don't figure he'll see extensive action.
   --LB Keith Burns is listed as probable with a twisted knee but he practiced and should play on special teams Monday.

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