December 12, 2013 in Sports

Shanahan proceeds with QB plan

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(Full-size photo)

Tonight’s game

Chargers at Broncos

Kickoff: 5:25 p.m. (NFL Network) Records: San Diego (6-7, 3-4 away), Denver (11-2, 7-0 home)

Line: Broncos by 10 1/2, O/U: 56 1/2

Synopsis: Denver plays its regular-season home finale, and has been almost unstoppable there. The Broncos are 7-0 at home and have scored at least 35 points in all but one of those outings as quarterback Peyton Manning continues his record-shattering season of passing as the Broncos lead the league in that department as well as total offense and scoring. Meanwhile, San Diego has the league’s 28th-ranked pass defense. On the other hand, the Chargers should be able to move through the air as QB Philip Rivers leads the league’s No. 4 aerial attack and the Broncos are even worse at defending the pass than the Chargers – they are No. 29. But look for Denver to close its home schedule in a big way.

Pick: Broncos 43-30

Dan Caesar, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Kirk Cousins will start for the Washington Redskins on Sunday – and Robert Griffin III will be the No. 3 quarterback behind Rex Grossman.

Coach Mike Shanahan on Wednesday went ahead with his plan to sit Griffin, further stoking the turmoil surrounding the future of the coach.

Shanahan said on Monday that he was considering benching Griffin for the rest of the season to keep the quarterback healthy for the offseason.

But there’s no certainty that Shanahan will be around to coach in the offseason. The Redskins have lost five straight and are 3-10, their third losing season in Shanahan’s four years in Washington.

The open question remains whether Shanahan, who is in the fourth year of a five-year, $35 million deal, might resign – and thus forfeit a year’s salary – or wait to be fired. There’s also the possibility he and owner Dan Snyder could negotiate a settlement, and that the benching of a healthy franchise player could in some way be Shanahan’s way of getting some leverage in those talks.

Peterson’s status up in air

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has shed the walking boot on his sprained right foot, but he’s not ready for practice. His status for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia remains in question.

Backup Toby Gerhart likely won’t practice until Friday because of a hamstring injury.

Matt Cassel has been named the starting quarterback for a second straight week. Christian Ponder will be the backup.

Bears upbeat about Cutler

Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman is optimistic that quarterback Jay Cutler will be ready to return from an ankle injury this week against the Cleveland Browns.

Meanwhile, star linebacker Lance Briggs has missed the past six games because of a broken shoulder, and the odds that he’ll suit up appear slim.

Extra points

As expected, receiver Wes Welker has been ruled out for the Denver Broncos’ game against the San Diego Chargers tonight because of a concussion. … St. Louis Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin (ankle) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back) sat out practice Wednesday. Cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) and running back Daryl Richardson (thigh) also were held out. … California safety officials have issued $54,000 in fines against an elevator company whose employee was killed while working at the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara. Mechanic Don White, 63, was killed June 11 by an elevator counterweight. In a statement, Schindler Elevator Corp. said it intends to vigorously contest the citations. The $1.2 billion stadium is slated to open next year.

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