Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC West [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Comparing Elway's Tebow comments

By Bill Williamson

As the Denver Broncos continue to try to figure out a trade for Tim Tebow – the Jets and Jaguars are still in play – let’s review the difference in the comments Denver executive John Elway made in January when he said Tebow would be the starter going into training camp and Tuesday’s press conference to announce the signing of Peyton Manning:

Elway in January

On the plan for Tebow: “I think Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year. I think that he made some good strides this year. He obviously played very well against Pittsburgh and played very well in a lot of football games. So, he made great strides, and he has earned the right to be the starter going into training camp next year.”

Tebow & Elway
Even in moments like this one, after a 38-24 comeback victory over Oakland in November, John Elway's support of Tim Tebow seemed lukewarm.
Elway on what Tebow has to do to improve this offseason: “The thing that we talked about is the fact that with the way the season was last year — not having the offseason — and with Timmy being named the starter, I think the sixth week of the season, and it was a tough situation for him. Obviously, we’ve talked about the improvement that Timmy needs to make with mechanics at the quarterback position, so we’re looking forward to having this offseason with him. There’s no question — and he realizes it too — that we’ve got to get better in that area. We ran the ball tremendously this year, No. 1 in the league in rushing, but obviously, the passing game wasn’t where we wanted it to be, so those are the strides that we’re going to have to make for us to the offensive team that we want to be. That’s what we’re looking for this offseason, and we know what kind of mentality Timmy has. He’s a great worker, and we know he’ll work his tail off this offseason. We’re looking forward to this offseason to be able to see him improve in that area. I think he will make those improvements.”

Elway on his plans to work with Tebow in the offseason: “I’m looking forward to spending considerable time with him as well as all the quarterbacks, along with Adam Gase, the quarterbacks coach, as well as Mike McCoy, the offensive coordinator. I think that there are things that I can add. There are a lot of things that I didn’t go directly to Timmy with but talked to Adam Gase quite a bit about during the season. The thing is, as a quarterback, the last thing that you want is to have too many voices talking to you. I think there’s got to be one singular voice that’s talking to him — or two voices. Where I can help him, and as well as I can give my experiences to him as well as Adam and Mike, I’m looking forward to being able to do that.”

Elway on Tuesday

On how Tebow fits in with the Broncos: “We are going through that process now. We are going to look at that. Coach [John] Fox and I called Tim last night and talked to him about it. I think having been in this game as long as I have, and seeing as many friends as I have seen in this game that all of a sudden they are gone one day and another or retire or leave, that this is a tough business. I will tell you the toughest thing about this whole thing is Tim Tebow because of what I think about Tim Tebow. The things that he did last year were tremendous in helping turn this organization around from a 4-12 team to a playoff team and winning the division. I have a great deal of respect for him as a person and the things that he does. There is no question the hardest thing about this business is the personal side. We just had to make a decision as an organization — myself, Coach Fox, the personnel department, coaches — for what would be the best opportunity to be competitive for a world championship and Peyton Manning was that. That is why we chose to go that direction.”

On giving Tebow an opportunity compete for a starting job elsewhere: “I would love to be able to do that, just because of the type of guy that Tim Tebow is and the situation and where he is in his career. Obviously, we’re coming off of last year, the competitive side that he has. There’s no question I would love to be able to, whether it be — not knowing what we’re going to do with it — but it would be our goal to put him in the best situation possible for him to have success also.”

My take: Yes, they are certainly two different takes. Two months ago, Elway was all-in on Tebow. This week, Elway all but shut the door on Tebow.

I don’t think Elway should be criticized for the change of heart. He wasn’t lying two months ago. At the time, he thought Tebow was going to be his starter.

The Manning pursuit happened. All bets were off and that’s why Denver is working hard to finalize Tebow's trade out of town. It’s pretty simple. It’s the NFL. Things change.