Will Moreno carry load in opener?

The Denver Broncos' running back crew is as healthy as it has been all training camp, but it is still not in a perfect situation.

Denver has to be pleased that starter Knowshon Moreno is on the mend. Moreno practiced for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury on the first full day of training camp about 30 days ago. Moreno said he is about 80 percent healthy. With the season opener at Jacksonville 12 days away, Moreno could be close to being at full strength.

The issue is Moreno may be a bit rusty when the team faces the Jaguars. I’m sure he won’t be overworked in the meantime to protect his injury. So it may be asking a lot of him to carry a huge load in the opener.

Denver’s No. 2 and No. 3 backs, Correll Buckhalter and LenDale White (who will serve a four-game suspension to start the season) are also getting back to health. I would not be surprised at all if the Broncos, who cut Justin Fargas on Monday, look for a veteran running back to help with depth.

That search could begin with Derrick Ward, who was just cut by Tampa Bay. The Broncos studied Ward during free agency last year, so it could be a fit.

Meanwhile, Denver coach Josh McDaniels made a surprising call that the starters will play some Thursday at Minnesota. Usually, starters wear baseball caps on the sideline in the preseason finale.

McDaniels told reporters that neither Tim Tebow nor Brady Quinn has separated himself in the chase to be the No.2 quarterback and they will compete for the spot this week.For what it’s worth, I expect Tebow to be the No. 2 quarterback for Denver on most game days.

This one has to sting Denver: Detroit traded offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus to Seattle for a late-round pick. The Lions claimed Polumbus off waivers from Denver last week. Way to flip a player, Detroit.