The Tim Tebow era has a 50-50 percent chance of starting Sunday in Oakland.
Denver starting quarterback Kyle Orton was limited for the third straight day with a rib injury. He is listed as questionable. Tebow, the No. 25 overall pick in the April draft, took many of the repetitions in practice all week.
Denver interim coach Eric Studesville maintained most of the week that Orton would start. On Friday, he backed off that certainty somewhat.
“We have time -- we have practice today and we have two more days before the game,” Studesville told reporters Friday. “Kyle is a valuable part of this team and we are going to wait as long as we have to.”
So, it appears like it will be a game-time decision. You have to wonder what the team’s motivation to start Orton is. The Broncos are 3-10 and Orton has missed major practice time.
Why not just go with Tebow?
There are three things at work here:
1. The Broncos are planning on using Tebow and they don’t want to give Oakland extra time to prepare to feast against the rookie.
2. Denver doesn’t think Tebow is ready to play on a full-time basis and will give Orton as much time as he needs to heal.
3. The Broncos want to wait until the two final home games, Dec. 26 against Houston and Jan. 2 against San Diego, to play Tebow.
I think Denver should just go ahead and play Tebow on Sunday. Who cares that it will be in hostile an environment in Oakland? That’s life in the NFL and Tebow was used to playing in unfriendly confines in the SEC. Mental toughness has never been an issue for Tebow.
Denver has nothing left to do but play for the future. Let’s get it started and see what Tebow can do.
If he fails Sunday, so what? The Broncos lost to Oakland by 45 points in October. If the Raiders hammer Denver again, it surely won’t just be because of Tebow. If it happens, Tebow won’t be the first NFL quarterback to fail in his first start.
The season is lost. Orton is hurt. Tebow has practiced all week. The timing is perfect to light the candle on Tebow’s career as a starter.
Let’s see it happen.