To begin Denver's 3-10 season, Kyle Orton showed much promise and plenty of fire, and his playing clearly stated, "I am the starting quarterback". He led the league in passing yardage (sometimes compensating for a poor rushing game). Through the first 8 games, Orton's statistics are 195/316 (61.7%), 2510 yds, 12 TD / 5 INT, and a 92.7 rating.
As the season progressed, the passing offense, including Orton, regressed. His statistics for games 9-13 are 98/182 (53.8 %), 1143 yds, 8 TD / 4 INT, and a 78.6 rating. Recently the QB controversy has intensified.
Orton supporters cite his experience, noting that the veteran quarterback would give Denver the best chance to win. Tebow supporters cite his potential, noting that his mobility may give Denver an extra edge on offense.
I am not here to debate who should start (barring Orton's injury, of course).
Instead, I ask what do you expect from Tebow tomorrow? More after the jump.
Tebow's preseason stastics are 25/39 (64.1 percent), 344 yards, 2 TD/1 INT, 1 TD rush, and an 87.98 passer rating. This was mainly in the 4th quarter against Cincinnati, and the 2nd and 3rd quarters against Minnesota.
How will this translate to his first NFL start?
My biggest concern, having watched Tebow at Florida, is the protection from the O-line - specifically the career-high 34 sacks on Orton. Yes, he has the mobility and improvisational skills to turn busted plays into big plays. However, if he is rushed too much inside the pocket, his decision making will not be 100%. This for a rookie, having to adjust to NFL speed while making reads he wasn't necessarily asked to do in college.
Tebow's main contributions come from his athleticism. The main question here is how much physical punishment will the coaches subject him to. I would guess mostly pocket passing plays, plenty of hand-offs and check-down screens, a few bootlegs for good measure, and even fewer called QB runs. Tebow's accuracy will never be questioned - so long has he has time to step up and make the throw. How many of his preseason passes looked like they were shot out of a cannon? LIke many other quarterbacks, it is in the face of pressure when he will start to misfire.
Denver will be going up against an excellent, 7th-ranked, Oakland pass defense. However, other posters have mentioned the possibility of Oakland stacking 8 men in the box to offset their 26th-ranked run defense. This would create some 1-on-1 matches that Denver must exploit.
I predict 15/24, 180 yds, 1 TD/1 INT, and 1 rushing TD for Tebow. Let's hear your take and your predictions in the comments below.