Tim Tebow, Broncos focusing on 2011
He's won seven of eight games since taking over as their starting quarterback, turning a team that was foundering at 1-4 under Kyle Orton into an improbable playoff contender at 8-5, atop the AFC West.
Still, coach John Fox is reticent about committing to Tebow for the long term, saying he'd rather focus on the task at hand, which is ending Denver's five-year playoff drought.
Football chief John Elway created an Internet firestorm last month when he said that he didn't know if his QB of the future was on the roster. He's since smoothed things over with Tebow and pledged to work with the unconventional quarterback in the offseason.
"Last year we didn't have the opportunity to do that" because of the league's lockout, "and once you get into camp it's very difficult learning the offense," Elway said on his radio show this week on 102.3 FM in Denver.
"I'm hoping to spend as much time as possible with Tim this offseason and give him what I know and be able to help him with the quarterback position."
Team sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen before Sunday's overtime win that if Tebow continues to show improvement and leads the Broncos to the playoffs, the franchise is likely to commit to him as its starting quarterback in 2012 and not automatically use a first-round draft pick on another quarterback.
"You can't call it fait accompli but it's quite a turnaround from where we were a month or two ago," one team source told Mortensen.
While no longer characterizing Tebow's job status as a week-to-week proposition, Fox isn't publicly going all in, either.
"A lot is made of the quarterback position. It's really hard to sit here and answer. We don't talk about the middle linebacker or the left corner position," Fox said. "I think, right now, just enjoy the moment. It's a team game, and we're doing well as a team. I don't like speaking too much of the future. I'm happy for each day."
When a reporter jokingly retorted with a question about whether star rookie Von Miller had done enough to be the strongside linebacker in 2012, Fox cracked: "Exactly. He's the strongside linebacker now. We're in the now."
So is Tebow, who continues to say he's only concerned about beating the next team on the schedule and will do whatever the team asks him to.
Ever humble, Tebow won't stump for the job in 2012, except through his play.
Some of his teammates, however, say it's time to declare Tebow the man.
"I think so, he's 7-1 as a starter this year," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "So, it's hard to top that, if you ask me."
Despite his mechanical and footwork flaws, Tebow is money in crunch time. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to engineer a half-dozen fourth-quarter comebacks in his first 11 starts, something it even took Elway about four times as long to accomplish.
Results, not style points, are what matter the most, said linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
"It's the NFL. I have no say so what goes on in the personnel department, but one thing is, at the end of the day, nobody can take away his wins," Woodyard said. "That's something he's been doing. He's been winning. He finds a way."
Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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