CHARGER UPDATE : NOTEBOOK : Team Should Forget 0-3 Start, Phillips Says

Charger nose tackle Joe Phillips said he was so upset after last week's 13-10 loss to Atlanta that he left the locker room and adjourned to the weight room for more work.

The work continued Wednesday.

"I think for some people there was a focus: 'Wow, if we don't win this game, we might not win a game for a long time,' " Phillips said. "We got to turn our backs on all that (junk); that stuff is meaningless. It's just words.

"The game's played between the lines, and we've got to hold true to that and go out between those lines and come out on top. We can't concern ourselves with this 0-3 thing and this when's-a-win-going-to-come stuff.

"That stuff just snowballs and gets bigger than it really is. What does 0-3 have to do with us playing the Broncos? If we focus on losses and failure, then it's going to affect us. If we don't allow it, it will have no effect at all."

The Chargers' schedule, however, appears to offer the team little relief before Week 8, when Cleveland comes to town. After playing in Mile High Stadium, the Chargers return home to play the Chiefs, and then will play on the road against the Raiders and Rams.

"I don't see any unslayable Goliaths out there," Phillips said. "Maybe at this point we appear to be David, but then maybe it's because we haven't pulled out our best slingshot yet."

The Broncos (2-1) do not appear invincible, but they have John Elway, who has yet to throw an interception this season, and a productive running back in Gaston Green.

Green, a former No. 1 pick for the Rams, has replaced holdout Bobby Humphrey, the team's 1990 most valuable player, and has rushed 60 times for 233 yards.

"Green's got talent and speed; I don't know if he's the back Humphrey is," Phillips said. "It doesn't matter; I think the focus has got to be on the quarterback (Elway). He's the threat.

"They have a pretty good running game. Not as run-oriented as Kansas City or maybe even as we are, but maybe that's because the quarterback is the caliber that Elway is."

Elway, the AFC's No. 2-ranked quarterback behind Buffalo's Jim Kelly, is calling Denver's plays this season. He's completed 52 of 89 passes for 754 yards with four touchdowns.

"Watching John in training camp I felt he wasn't enjoying the game," Denver Coach Dan Reeves said. "It was like the same old thing over again. I felt like if we made a change and let him call his own plays that maybe he would regain some of that enthusiasm he's had in the past for the game.

"I think he's definitely done that. And he's been willing to pay the price as far as the time it takes to take on this added responsibility. Now when he calls a play it's a play he has confidence in or he wouldn't call it."

Reeves was asked to assess the 0-3 Chargers.

"It's hard to figure exactly what the problem is," he said. "They're averaging 5.6 yards a carry, and any time you rush the ball that well in three ballgames you'd think they would be on the winning side, 2-1 or 3-0.

"They got the ability to turn this thing around anytime, so we got our work cut out for us. I think our players have a tremendous amount of respect for them and realize how talented they really are."

Wide receiver Anthony Miller did not practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable on the injury report.

Coach Dan Henning said practice squad wide receiver Yancey Thigpen and running back Chris Samuels will be prepared for Sunday's game, with Thigpen the likely candidate to be elevated to the 47-man roster.

Running back Eric Bieniemy returns to Colorado this weekend, but he will be playing in Mile High Stadium for the first time.

"I don't know whether the fans are going to boo me or cheer me," said Bieniemy, who holds the University of Colorado's all-time rushing record with 3,940 yards. "It's going to be wild; it's a hostile place."

What about the famous mile-high altitude?

"To be honest with you, you never get used to the altitude," he said. "I was there four years and it still got to me. You never get used to it; that's a myth."

Bieniemy has been relegated to special teams for the Chargers this season.

"I got to make a difference, whether it's me on kickoff returns or whatever," he said. "Maybe I can force a fumble and make a play to turn the game around. Being a running back you never want to play special teams, but up here you got to start from the bottom and work your way up."

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