View Photo Gallery: Tim Tebow, the Broncos’ coach and top football executive say, is making strides and isn’t going anywhere. (Jack Dempsey | Associated Press)

John Elway and John Fox, the leaders of the Denver Broncos, haven’t exactly been true believers in the legend of Tim Tebow.

Elway, the executive vice president of football operations and Hall of Fame quarterback, famously answered “no” last month when asked if Tebow were closer to nailing down the starting job. This, after telling Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in January: “I don’t think Tim Tebow is a good NFL quarterback at this time.” Fox, the Broncos’ coach, once said Tebow “would be screwed” in a regular offense.

Despite the Broncos’ loss Sunday and the seeming pause — if not end — of Tebowmania, the two seems to have mellowed a bit.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Elway continued to measure his words carefully — but with a dollop of optimism. “Tim Tebow’s not going anywhere,” Elway said. “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, who plans to work with Tebow in the offseason, elaborated on his comments in that radio interview, in which he also said Tebow had to improve on third downs and as a passer. “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.”

Fox, after the Broncos were crushed by the Patriots, answered “no doubt” when asked if he thought Tebow was making NFL-caliber throws and said he was pleased with most of Tebow’s performance. “I think that was a positive,” he said. “I think we came out of the blocks a little faster. That was a positive. There are positives and negatives about every game, not just the losses. There were a lot of positives; we just came up a little bit short.”


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