Plummer improved, but Beuerlein expects to start Sunday

Updated: October 10, 2003, 6:05 PM ET

DENVER -- Even though Jake Plummer's injured shoulder is improving, Broncos backup quarterback Steve Beuerlein is prepared to start against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

But coach Mike Shanahan left the door open for Plummer to play.

"Jake is feeling a lot better, so that's a good sign," Shanahan said. "Unless there's a setback, he'll be ready to go."

Plummer, however, is listed as questionable on the Broncos' injury report.

Plummer partially separated his throwing shoulder four weeks ago against San Diego, then aggravated the injury Sunday against Kansas City.

Too sore to practice Wednesday, Plummer practiced Thursday and Friday but was not asked to throw the ball more than 20 yards.

Beuerlein, who got significant work in practice all week, insisted he has not been told whether he will start.

But asked whether he expected to be the starter Sunday, he said, "I expect that to be the case right now. With the reps I took (Friday) and the general feeling I get, yeah. I've seen more surprising things happen in my life, but I would expect that to be the case."

Beuerlein added that "it's a lot easier to prepare to be the starter and then adjust back than it is to say, 'I'm not going to play and all of a sudden be thrown in there."

Safety Kenoy Kennedy was downgraded from probable to questionable on Friday's injury report. Defensive tackle Daryl Gardener and tight end Shannon Sharpe also were listed as questionable, but both practiced Friday.

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