Thursday, December 16, 2010
Cassel, Orton (and Tebow) updates
By Bill Williamson
As expected, there were no decisions made Thursday on the quarterback situations in Kansas City and in Denver.
We should know a lot more on both situations Friday when the injury designations are made, although we might not know anything official until game time on Sunday in both instances. Both situations are intriguing for entirely different reasons. The situation in Kansas City, of course, is paramount because it affects the AFC West playoff chase. In Denver, there is interest because it could mean the first NFL start for rookie Tim Tebow.
In Kansas City, starting quarterback Matt Cassel was limited for the second straight day as he attempts to come back from an appendectomy he had last Wednesday. Cassel being limited in practice a second day is neither progress nor regression. I think it is exactly where the team thought Cassel would be.
This is just a guess, but I think Cassel will be listed as questionable on Friday unless there is a setback in the next 24 hours. I think the Chiefs -- who are 8-5 and lead San Diego, 7-6, by a game in the AFC West – will plan on Cassel playing Sunday, but they are keeping Brodie Croyle in the practice loop just in case Cassel can’t play or has to leave the game early. But as of now, there seem to be signs that Cassel will try to play.
In Denver, starter Kyle Orton was reportedly not throwing passes in the part of practice that was open to reporters. He was expected to be limited for the second straight day with a ribs injury. Denver interim coach Eric Studesville said Thursday that the team still plans for Orton to start at Oakland on Sunday. But it is clear Tebow is getting ready just in case.
I think Denver wants Orton to play, but if he doesn’t improve, Tebow is getting ready. Denver receiver Brandon Lloyd told reporters Thursday that if Orton can walk, he’ll be able to play, so Tebow might have to wait. Still, it is conceivable we will see Tebow on Sunday. However, if that’s the case, I don’t think we’ll know until Sunday.
But there will be a chance the No. 25 overall pick will be the seventh rookie quarterback to start an NFL game this season. Tebow has only played in special packages during the regular season. The Broncos are 3-10 and Denver fans have been clamoring for a glimpse of the future in the next few weeks. Tebow told reporters Thursday that he will be ready if he’s called upon in the Black Hole.
“I think just getting more opportunities out there, more reps — that’s a lot of fun for me,” said Tebow, of his extra practice time this week. “That’s a chance to really work and improve and learn this offense even more. If I get an opportunity on Sunday, that will be exciting as well.”