While limited, Tim Tebow holds his own in debut

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19: Tim Tebow  of the Denver Broncos celebrates after he ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow hasn’t had many opportunities to take first-string snaps in practice and the designer of the Broncos’ offense is at home right now on his couch. But for all intents and purposes, the rookie held his own in his NFL debut against the Raiders on Sunday.

Tebow completed eight of his 16 pass attempts for 138 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing eight times for 78 yards and a score. And on that score, he took a designed draw 40 yards while breaking several tackles and carrying a defender into the end zone. (Somewhere, Urban Meyer got so giddy while watching the play he screamed to his wife, “Honey pack the kid’s bags – we’re moving to Denver!”)

If it weren’t for the Broncos’ highly conservative playcalling, maybe we could have seen Tebow throw more. But apparently the Denver coaching staff made a pact before the game that they would only run off-tackle on first downs and never, no matter the circumstance, mix in play-action. I shudder to think what would have happened had the Broncos attempted anything but an off-tackle run on first down. It creeps me out just thinking about it.

The Raiders went on to win the game 39-23 thanks to Denver’s hanus defense and horrendous offensive playcalling. Jason Campbell was brutal in the first half but he rebounded in the second to keep the Raiders’ playoff hopes alive. They now have to beat the Colts next week to stave off elimination so yeah, good luck with that, Oakland. (It’s a safe bet that Peyton Manning is going to attempt more than 16 passes and the Colts don’t have any off-tackle runs in their playbook.)

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Brady Quinn is working his way into NFL obscurity

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Brady Quinn  of the Denver Broncos calls out a play at the line against the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

That sound you hear in Denver is Brady Quinn tumbling down the Broncos’ depth chart.

After completing just 6 of 16 passes for 68 yards and throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the Broncos’ preseason opener Sunday against the Bengals, Quinn is off to a rocky (no pun intended) start in his new city. For a player that was once thought to be a top 10 pick, Quinn looked completely befuddled and it shouldn’t be long before he’s demoted and Tim Tebow (who had a strong debut, albeit against third-stringers) is promoted.

Considering it was only one preseason game and his first attempt at running Josh McDaniels’ offense in live action, maybe people should cut Quinn some slack. After all, Kyle Orton (who looked fantastic on Sunday) threw three interceptions in his preseason debut with the Broncos last year.

But considering Quinn showed next to nothing in Cleveland and is now off to a less than ideal start in Denver, the clock is ticking for the 25-year-old to prove himself.

Quinn’s problems are the same now as they were at Notre Dame: His footwork sucks, he doesn’t make quick decisions and he can’t make throws beyond the 10-to-12-yard range. Making matters worse, he still has trouble reading defenses, even though this is now his fourth year in the league. While he still has plenty of time to turn it around, he hasn’t improved at all from year to year, which is obviously troublesome.

Fair or not, first rounders will always have higher expectations when it comes to succeeding. It just comes with the territory, which is why Quinn needs to step up his game before he soon finds himself searching for work outside the NFL. Again, it was only one preseason game and he could come out in his next game and tear it up. But considering he was playing mostly against second-teamers and is battling against a QB in Tebow that the Broncos view as their future, he doesn’t get any mulligans.

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