Denver Broncos Vs. Detroit Lions: The Tim Tebow Watch Continues

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IAugust 20, 2010

Denver Broncos Vs. Detroit Lions: The Tim Tebow Watch Continues

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 18:  Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks on during training camp practice at Dove Valley on August 18, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The unending media frenzy that is Tim Tebow continues its steamroll this week versus the Detroit Lions in an epic preseason matchup.

    Well, at least as epic as a preseason matchup where most of Tebow's work will be against guys who will be working for FedEx and The Cracker Barrel  next month can be.

    Of course, that's assuming Tebow even plays since it appears he could be nursing a rib injury suffered in the final play of the preseason game against Cincinnati.

    Tebow or no Tebow, here are some things to look for as the Broncos take on the Lions.

Assuming Tebow Plays, How Will He Do?

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Tebow now has some game experience from the contest versus the Bengals last week. This week, assuming he plays, will give the fans an idea of how much he learned.

    Tebow went 8 for 13 for 105 yards in the game, all in the second half. Most of his completions came on short passes during the closing drive against a fourth team defense, to be completely fair about the situation.

    On the game's final play, however, Tebow scrambled seven yards for a touchdown, a move many of his college fans are familiar with.

    That move may have led to a rib injury, though, so he may not be trying that again anytime soon, and his snaps may end up being more limited versus Detroit.

Will Brady Quinn Improve?

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Brady Quinn #9 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass 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)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The knock on Brady Quinn since he entered the league is that he can't throw downfield and his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.

    Nothing Quinn Showed last week changed anyone's mind.

    Despite some comments from Head Coach Josh McDaniels that he had helped Quinn with his mechanics during the offseason, Quinn went down the same road he did in Cleveland by throwing inaccurate passes and locking on to his receivers, allowing an interception.

    Quinn may get more snaps this week if Tebow is injured, just to preserve Orton for the regular season.

    It's up to Quinn to shut up his detractors.

Kyle Orton Signed A Contract Extension, Now What?

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Kyle Orton just signed a one-year extension. With Tebow waiting in the wings to take his job, was this just a confidence booster for Orton?

    Granted McDaniels may want Tebow to sit on the sidelines for the next two years before turning over the starter's job to him, but the reality is that's just not going to happen unless Orton makes sure McDaniels has no choice but to keep Tebow on the bench.

    Orton has the starter's job and a contract extension, but that's meaningless when it comes to wins and losses.

    Anyway, if Tebow is hurt, expect more snaps from Orton this week, possibly into the second quarter before Quinn takes over.

Watch Out For The Injury Bug

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    DENVER - JANUARY 03:  (L-R) Kenny Peterson #90, Ronald Fields #91, Ryan McBean #98 and Elvis Dumervil #92 of the Denver Broncos defense prepare for action against the Kansas City Chiefs during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on January 3, 2010 in
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Running down the list of Broncos in the trainer's room is pointless for Broncos fans, because those names are burned into their brains and written at the bottom of every glass of beer they've drunk over the last few weeks as the injury list grew proportionate to their buzz.

    Every team suffers injuries in training camp and preseason, but the Broncos can make a case for the worst hit team in 2010.

    You can bet McDaniels is telling his guys to watch themselves out there because losing Elvis Dumervil isn't helping things any.

    Add to that Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, LenDale White and Ryan Clady, and the injured list is starting to look like a better team than what's on the field.

What's Expected Of Josh McDaniels?

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 18:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos addresses the media prior to during training camp practice at Dove Valley on August 18, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Is it too early to say McDaniels is on the hot seat?

    Granted it's only a preseason game, but it is the Lions.

    McDaniels has to have the first team looking good, the second team looking competent, and no worse than an incidental loss this week.

    After the debacle of the second half of 2009, the Tebow experiment and other changes made in the last year, it's safe to say McDaniels is under a lot more pressure this year.

    Losing to the Lions, even in a preseason game, doesn't look good.

    If the Broncos lose, it has to be because of guys who won't be on the team next month, or McDaniels is going to hear it from the fans this week.

Forget Who's Behind Center, Who IS The Center?

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 05:  Offensive tackle Ryan Harris #74 of the Denver Broncos lines up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during NFL action on October 5, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Buccaneers 16-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Ima
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ryan Harris is the only returning starter from last year's offensive line.

    It's safe to say the Broncos offensive line is a work in progress. Playing a team like Detroit, who are rebuilding for the 30th time in the last 15 years, is a good way of testing that line without endangering the quarterback too much.

    This will be a good game to keep the projected starters in and let them mesh.

Enough About The Offense, How About The Defense?

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    PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 14:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game on August 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    While the list of the Lions defects is long and distinguished, quarterback Matthew Stafford does appear to be the real thing.

    Stafford will be going against Denver's first team defense, so watching how effective the Broncos are in stopping Stafford and the Lions will be a valuable viewing experience.

    If the Lions march right down the field and score on their first drive, McDaniels is going to need to go back to the drawing board and start over.

It's Preseason, How Close Should The Game Be?

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    ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 18:  Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos leaves the field and heads for the locker room during the early sessions of practice at Dove Valley on August 18, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Get
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    With this being a preseason game, predicting scores can be really tough since the fourth quarters are about as unpredictable as it gets.

    The Broncos should control the early portions of the game, and if Tebow does play, being effective against Detroit's backups is crucial to his development.

    If the game stays close down the stretch, it could mean the injuries have taken all the depth out of the Broncos offensive attack and defensive line, it also could mean the Lions are improving faster than anyone thought.

    But it probably would mean injuries are taking their toll on the Broncos.