Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow quietly has been winning over his doubters in recent weeks. And one of the few remaining naysayers is no longer saying nay.
V.P. of football operations John Elway, a Hall of Fame and two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Broncos, has been cool to the notion of naming Tebow the team’s quarterback of the future. Even after a one-week detour from Tebowmania, Elway has offered Tebow a nearly unequivocal endorsement.
“Tim Tebow’s not going anywhere,” Elway told Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press. “I mean, he’s going to be a Bronco and we’re going to do everything we can and hopefully he’s that guy.”
Elway also seems to regret his one-word (i.e., no) assessment of whether, after three straight wins and a 4-1 record under Tebow, Elway was any closer to believing that the team had found its long-term answer at quarterback.
“I think that comment was probably a little bit too blunt,” Elway said. “Because I think the big picture with Tim is we’ve got to see the whole body of work. And so really what you want to see with him is the improvement that’s going to happen over time.
“Because, he’s done what we knew he could do and where we’ve seen his progress is what he does within the pocket. What we’ve said, and I said it when I first got here, was we know Tim’s a great player and what we’ve got to do is make him a great quarterback, and what I’ve learned is you’ve got to be able to win from within the pocket. . . .
“We want it to happen because of the competitor he is and what type of person he is and how he represents not only himself but represents the Broncos and the city,” Elway added. “People have been watching him, so he’s a draw. But that’s where some time in the offseason [helps] and it comes down to timing and throwing.
“Do I think he’ll get there? Yeah, I do.”
It sounds, then, as if the Broncos are willing to give Tebow a full offseason as the unquestioned starter, with the opportunity to continue to address the flaws in his game as a passer. And then Elway will assess the situation once again in 2012, based on the extent to which Tebow does — or doesn’t — improve.