INDIANAPOLIS — Few know the quarterback position like John Elway. Even fewer are better qualified to be an on-field mentor to Tim Tebow.
In a few weeks, that process will begin in earnest. Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations, will have the opportunity to tutor Tebow this offseason with a normal schedule back in place for teams following the lockout restrictions of last year. Tebow will go into training camp as Denver’s starter, although Elway is intent on adding competition for the position, and will be involved directly with Tebow’s development.
“Hopefully, he can be the franchise guy for a long time, but those are things we don’t know at the time,” Elway said Friday at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
Elway continues to praise all of Tebow’s “intangibles” — leadership, a knack for clutch plays, his motivational skills — knowing that his fundamentals and mechanics need work. Much of this has been out of Tebow’s hands; he’s never had a normal offseason as a starting quarterback with regular reps during OTA with the starting offense. He’s still very raw coming out of a college offense that lacked a lot of the volume and nuance of what is expected at the NFL level.
“He made tremendous strides last year, and that’s without an offseason,” Elway said. “He’s our starter going into camp, and we have great expectations for him.”
Elway said he will focus on some mechanical issues like Tebow’s footwork, but the game is also mental. Tebow must learn to read coverages more quickly and see the game at a different level. As Elway put it, “speeding his thought process up.”
Elway also is trying to identify other quarterbacks to bring in to fill out the roster and push Tebow. He might want one quarterback in the mode of Tebow, as far as being unconventional and more of a running option, and he could want one who is more of a traditional drop-back passer.
“We have to gauge the interest first before we see what direction we want to go in,” Elway said, noting that some passers in the Tebow mold might not want to sign in Denver.
“We’re not closing ourselves to anything,” Elway said. “As the process goes along we’ll see who is interested.”
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