Tim Tebow: 10 Bold Predictions for His First NFL Start

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterDecember 18, 2010

Tim Tebow: 10 Bold Predictions For His First NFL Start

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    Tim Tebow is set to make his first career NFL start tomorrow afternoon at the Oakland Raiders, and the football world is itching to see what he can do now that he finally has an opportunity to show his wares for a full 60 minutes.

    Indeed, Tebow has only made a handful of cameos this season and has completed just one pass. He has been used only in novelty packages, appropriately designated as "Tebow packages," and exactly how much he'll be allowed to do on Sunday remains to be seen.

    Well, why be patient when you can jump the gun? Here are 10 bold predictions for Tebow's first NFL start.

10. His Best Work Will Come in the First Quarter

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    If we knew what we were going to get out of Tebow on Sunday, this list wouldn't be necessary. Instead, we really have no idea what to expect.

    And if you think about it, neither do the Raiders. Tebow's work in the NFL consists of a very small sample size, and it just probably isn't a very good idea to draw any kind of concrete conclusions from it.

    In other words, Tebow will have the advantage early in the game as the Raiders take time to adjust. After that, his play will level out.

9. Daniel Graham Will Have His Most Productive Game of the Season

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    Because Graham's best game of the season is still his two-catch, 36-yard effort on opening day, the bar really isn't set all that high.

    But I think it's safe to say that we can expect a fair number of roll outs and bootlegs from Tebow, who could look to Graham as his primary target.

    Who knows? Graham might even find the end zone for the first time all season.

8. Tebow Will Throw the First Two Interceptions of His Career

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    The Raiders don't really specialize in piling up the interceptions, but rational thought suggests that Tebow is bound to misfire at least once in his first start.

    So why two interceptions? Well, because saying he'll throw one pick wouldn't be all that bold, would it?

7. His Presence Will Mean a Big Workload For Knowshon Moreno

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    The Broncos struggled with their running game for much of the season, but Knowshon Moreno has come on strong lately. In his last five games, he's averaged at least 4.3 yards a carry, which has led to an average of 92.4 yards per game.

    With Tebow under center, it makes sense that Denver would play it safe by simply handing the ball off as often as they can, and Moreno will be the main beneficiary. Expect 25-30 carries for him.

6. The Broncos Will Use a Very Slim Playbook

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    Passing the ball is really the only thing the Broncos do well, as there are only four teams in the league that have more passing yards on the season than Denver.

    But that was obviously with Orton under center. And given the fact that Tebow has only appeared in packages designed to suit his abilities, it just doesn't seem very likely that the playbook is going to be as wide open.

    He will be granted the dignity of running more plays than just the option, but Eric Studesville and the Denver coaching staff will keep it simple.

5. Brandon Lloyd Won't Have a Catch

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    The 2010 season has been a fine comeback season for Lloyd. And in fact, some might even call it a breakout season.

    But he's had a rough couple games in the past week, catching just five passes for 63 yards and no touchdowns.

    With a rookie quarterback and what is likely to be a very slim playbook, it just doesn't stand to reason that Lloyd will get back on track this week. And I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that he'll end up with the old Randy Moss stat line: zero catches for zero yards.

4. He Will Not Have Success Running the Ball

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    As far as college quarterbacks go, Tebow basically wrote the book for multi-threat QBs at the collegiate level.

    He's had some success using his legs in his rookie season, running for 28 yards on 12 carries and scoring three touchdowns. But most of those obviously came in goal-line situations. Against the Raiders, he's going to have to use his legs with a lot more space between him and the end zone, which is a test of Tebow's wits more than his legs.

    As such, don't be surprised if he struggles running the ball.

3. The Raiders Will Sack Him at Least Five Times

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    One of the things the Raiders do very well on defense is get after the quarterback. Led by Richard Seymour, their defensive line is very physical, and defensive coordinator John Marshall has shown he can be very creative with his blitz packages.

    The Raiders are fourth in the league in sacks with 38, and Kyle Orton can tell Tebow all about the Raiders pass rush after getting sacked four times earlier this year.

    And while it's true enough that Tebow is far more mobile than Orton, it's likely that he's going to find out the hard way about speed in the NFL.

2. He Will Complete Fewer Than 15 Passes

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    Because Tebow has attempted and completed only one pass all season and because the coaching staff will indeed only give him a handful of plays with which to run, it just doesn't seem very logical to expect a lot of throws from Tebow.

    As such, saying that he will complete fewer than 15 passes is not so much a suggestion that he will be inaccurate so much as a realization that he'll be lucky to throw any more than 15 passes.

    Either way, 15 is the magic number.

1. He Will Be Benched Before the Game Is Over

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    There's really no reason at all for the Broncos to put Tebow on too short a leash, but you have to suspect that he's going to be on one anyway.

    After all, if it becomes apparent over the course of the game that Tebow just can't handle a pro-style offense, exactly how hard would it be for them to make the switch to Brady Quinn?

    To be sure, it's not like the Broncos have much dignity left to salvage this season. But after having already been blown out 59-14 by the Raiders this season, they're going to do everything in their power to avoid another embarrassing loss to their biggest rival. If that means benching Tebow, so be it.