Source: Tim Tebow to start

Updated: December 19, 2010, 12:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Denver Broncos will give rookie quarterback Tim Tebow his first NFL start Sunday at Oakland, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Saturday.

Tebow has taken most every snap this week in practice with starter Kyle Orton nursing bruised ribs. The Broncos' plan to start Tebow is based on his talents, the source said.

Tebow has made only cameo appearances this season and thrown just one NFL pass since former coach Josh McDaniels selected him in the first round of the draft in April following his much-celebrated career at Florida, where he won two national titles and a Heisman Trophy.

Tebow still has a long way to go in morphing from a college quarterback who ran the ball as much as he threw it into a prototypical pro passer.

McDaniels was fired Dec. 6 with the Broncos (3-10) in the midst of their worst slide in four decades and the Spygate II videotape scandal that embarrassed the foundering franchise.

Interim coach Eric Studesville insisted this week that Orton is still his starter but acknowledged Thursday that the quarterback situation was unsettled with Orton's status in limbo.

Orton, who has been sacked a career-high 34 times and thrown nearly 500 passes already, was in obvious pain at the podium this week but insisted that while he was sore, his arm wasn't the issue despite poor performances the past two weeks.

His bruised ribs, however, kept him on the sideline and allowed Tebow to get most of the first-team snaps for the first time all year.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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