The Associated Press
DENVER - With the end of the Cold War and the corresponding decline in espionage, spy enthusiasts will be glad to know that counter-intelligence activities still exist in the NFL.
Last Wednesday, the Denver Broncos released quarterback Shawn Moore, who had been competing for the team's backup position but had slipped to fourth-string. Six days later, the Arizona Cardinals signed him.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, released reserve quarterback Will Furrer on Monday, and on Wednesday the Broncos signed him.
Purely by coincidence, the Cardinals and Broncos meet Thursday night in the final preseason game for both teams.
Neither coaching staff, of course, would do anything so low as pick the brains of their new quarterbacks for information about their old teams. But just in case Cardinals coach Buddy Ryan has been able to pry some secrets out of Moore, the Broncos have installed new terminology and new audible calls for the game.
"We're going to change some of the offense, because he does know the entire offense," said Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, exhibiting appropriate paranoia. "He'll know the audibles and the formations."
Added Broncos offensive coordinator Jim Fassel, "We have to be careful how we communicate at the line with calls and things like that."
With the future of several jobs at stake, the Cardinals (1-2) and Broncos (1-3) renew their preseason series. It will be the fifth straight year that the teams meet in the preseason. The Cardinals have won the last three, including 34-9 at Sun Devil Stadium last year.
The Broncos are playing their final preseason game just four days after Sunday night's 34-10 loss to Dallas.
Because of the proximity of those games, the Broncos have had little time to install a game plan for the Cardinals. They'll be without three starters on defense because of injuries to linebacker Dave Wyman, cornerback Ray Crockett and safety Darryl Hall, and will also be without quarterback John Elway, who is taking a rest.
The Broncos' announcement on Wednesday that they will either trade or release backup quarterback Tommy Maddox because of his high salary means that Hugh Millen will get most, if not all of the quarterback work Thursday night. Furrer is the only other available quarterback, and he has had only one day of practice with the team.
"I'd like to play against the Cardinals," Furrer said, "but it's going to be a little difficult to pick up fast what I need in order to play. I don't want to get someone killed, let alone myself."
Similarly, Moore isn't expected to play for the Cardinals.
Asked if he would put more emphasis on winning because this is the final preseason game, Ryan said, "We won't change much. But because you need to look at your personnel, you're going to use your regulars more." Read Next Article