In a press conference on Monday, Denver Broncos vice president of football operations and legendary quarterback John Elway said that Tim Tebow would enter next season's training camp as the team's starter, according to USA Today.
That is hardly a ringing endorsement, however.
One person who isn't buying into Elway's vote of confidence is current NFL Network analyst and former head coach of the Baltimore Ravens Brian Billick. On an episode of NFL Total Access on Monday night, Billick expressed that he wasn't a big fan of how Elway handled the Tebow situation, according to Nate Davis of USA Today.
"To me, that was a little weak to say, 'He is going to be the starter when we go to training camp.'
"I think we're gonna have a whole bunch of liar's poker between now and the draft and free agency and beyond," said Billick.
I think Billick makes a good point. If Elway had truly bought into Tebow at this point, then he would have said that Tebow is going to be the starter next season. Instead, he decided to offer the caveat of Tebow being the starter when training camp opens, which is kind of a slap in the face.
Obviously, Tebow is a very unorthodox quarterback, and he needs to improve his accuracy as a passer and his overall consistency, but he should be rewarded for what he accomplished this season. He took a Denver team that was down and out at 1-4 and was a big part in willing them to an AFC West title.
If that wasn't enough, he was probably the main reason why the Broncos were able to beat the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. Tebow was far from perfect in that game, but he made several huge plays against the league's top-ranked pass defense and ended up with 316 passing yards and three total touchdowns.
Winning even a single playoff game is an extremely difficult thing to do in the NFL, so the fact that Tebow was able to do that should be enough on its own to earn him the starting job next season.
I understand that the politically correct thing to say is that every job is technically up for grabs in training camp, but Tebow should have been given a better assurance.
I have to believe that Tebow was already pretty sure that he would enter training camp as the starter, especially since backup Brady Quinn's contract is up. Maybe Elway wants to make sure that Tebow stays hungry, but I don't think that being named the definitive starter next season would have diminished his drive.
Tebow isn't the best quarterback in the league, and I doubt he ever will be, but for the way the Broncos are currently constructed, he is the only choice to be the starter next season.
That much should be apparent to anyone who watched his performance against the Steelers, but for whatever reason, Elway is still apprehensive.