Kyle Orton continues to get treatment on his ribs, and while he was in uniform both days, was an observer as Tebow and Brady Quinn threw passes unencumbered during position drills during the open media period. He was listed as limited for the second straight day on the injury report.
That would point to Tebow's first NFL start this Sunday in Oakland.
The coaches, though, have given no definitive word on the situation, saying that there is still plenty of time for Orton to recover and be under center for the 14th straight game. And when offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was asked whether he thought Orton would be ready, he responded, "Yeah, I do."
Orton's off-time this week represents his first missed practices this season.
"You've got to rest certain guys on a day-to-day basis and kind of see how it goes and make sure that, come Sunday, they're at full speed and ready to go," McCoy said. "That's the most important thing -- the health of our football team."
Interim coach Eric Studesville maintained that Orton could conceivably play without any practice snaps during the week "theoretically," taking advantage of the mental repetitions while Tebow and Quinn are running the game plan physically.
"We still have time," Studesville said. "I'm not in a hurry to make that decision right now. We've still got a lot of time to do rehab and take care of the bumps and bruises we have, not just with Kyle ... and as long as we've got time, we're going to utilize it."
The work that Tebow is getting, regardless, is vital if there are any allusions that he will make a significant appearance this season. Earlier this week, the rookie first-rounder admitted with all the scout-team work he's done, it's left only about five percent of the snaps against the scout-team defense, running Denver's playbook.
"To really have a chance to run the plays physically and not just go over them mentally and handling the small details of each play and things like that (helps)," Tebow said before Thursday's practice. "I think trying to study hard all year and be ready for every opportunity helps. And now to go out there and do it physically obviously helps a lot."
And how did he fare?
The results were typically upbeat publicly. McCoy said Tebow ran the huddle; did a nice job throwing the football and going through alert systems in the run game.
"He looked efficient in practice. Of course, it's practice and the live bullets are more difficult to deal with than practice," said wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who watched Wednesday's practice from the sideline. "But I think with his athletic ability and physical ability, more of what's going to help him is knowing the game plan and on each play what's expected of him. So that way when he goes out there he can just be an athlete making plays."
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