Here we are, tightly squeezed into the press box at Oakland-Alamedia County Coliseum, looking at a soaking wet field. We could be in for one of the more interesting games of the season if the driving rain picks back up. According to the forecast, there’s a chance this one will be played in some nasty conditions.
In addition, Kyle Orton’s lack of practice reps this week has left the starting quarterback job up in the air this afternoon. While the official call will be a game-time decision, all indications are that Tim Tebow will make his first career start. The rookie is currently on the field warming up with Daniel Coats and Britt Davis.
Both pieces of news make for an exciting afternoon here in Oakland as the Broncos prepare to take on the Raiders in just about two hours.
11:43 a.m. PST: The rain is back — and practically blowing sideways with all the swirling wind in the stadium. The only players left on the field are Ryan Harris and Britton Colquitt, who is already wearing the team’s all-white uniform. Eric Detweiler is on the field braving the elements to capture some of the pregame atmosphere. We’ll have those photos in the next 30 to 45 minutes.
11:53 a.m. PST: Just got the Broncos inactives — and Orton is listed as the third quarterback. Looks like Tebow will officially make his first start this afternoon. In addition, Matt Prater, Brian Dawkins, Laurence Maroney, Cassius Vaughn, Eric Olsen, Demaryius Thomas and David Veikune will not suit up against the Raiders.
12:14 p.m. PST: The Raiders inactives are in: WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, CB Walter McFadden, CB Jeremy Ware, RB Michael Bennett, LB Bruce Davis, G Daniel Loper and G Bruce Campbell will not play this afternoon. J.T. O’Sullivan is listed as the emergency third quarterback.
12:21 p.m. PST: The Raiders are in their black jerseys and silver pants as members of both teams have made their way to the field for warmups. The rain has momentarily stopped as Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn loosen up. Kyle Orton is on the field in full uniform talking with Quarterbacks Coach Ben McDaniels, but he’s not throwing the ball. Eddie Royal and Eric Decker among others are fielding punts and kickoffs as the game is less than an hour away.
12:27 p.m. PST: Brandon Lloyd just had a quick chat with Tebow as the rookie threw passes to Decker. Here are some pregame photos courtesy of Eric Detweiler:
12:45 p.m. PST: We’re just about a half hour away from kickoff. Oakland and Denver’s offenses are running through plays on opposite sides of the field — Tebow just connected with Decker on the sideline.
12:55 p.m. PST: Mario Haggan is inviting the crowd to get louder as the fans boo the Broncos on their way off the field back to the locker room. Now both teams have cleared the field and pregame festivities are about to begin. With kickoff about 20 minutes away, there aren’t many fans in the stadium.
1:10 p.m. PST: Here come the Broncos to raucous boos, and now the Raiders are making their way onto the field to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells,” much to the crowd’s delight. The National Anthem is up next, and the game will kick off shortly. See you in the First Half Blog.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com