Tim Tebow: Elway regime backs me

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow said he believes the John Elway regime is as committed to him as was former coach Josh McDaniels, who was fired last season before Tebow made the first of his three rookie starts for Denver.

"I believe in them, and they believe in me," Tebow told ESPN Saturday.

Tebow returned to Denver from Florida over the weekend and plans to spend the majority of the remaining offseason working out with teammates including receivers Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney during the lockout.

Elway described himself as being Tebow's "biggest fan" because if he justifies the first-round draft pick McDaniels spent on him, the Broncos can more quickly recover from a disastrous 4-12 season.

Tebow led the Broncos with six rushing touchdowns last season, and Elway describes the young quarterback's mobility and intangible qualities as unique.

Those comments and Elway revealing his plans to be directly involved with Tebow and Denver's other quarterbacks were encouraging, Tebow said.

"To have John Elway say positive things about you is just amazing," Tebow said. "He's played the game at the highest level possible, and I'm excited because he's going to be a great asset for me."

Elway has told Tebow directly that for the Broncos to become Super Bowl champions as they were when Elway retired that the quarterback will have to perfect his throwing motion, improve his accuracy and prove he can win from the pocket. Elway is confident Tebow can reach that point but can't predict when the transformation will occur.

Tebow has emphasized exactly what Elway is advising during his offseason workouts.

"Any quarterback at this level has to be able to do that," Tebow said. "That's nothing new to me. It's what I'm working to do so I can compete and we can win."

Elway said Tebow will compete with veterans Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn for the starting job. Tebow's potential was the reason the Broncos used the No. 2 overall draft pick and their other premium draft choices on rebuilding the NFL's worst defense rather than taking a young quarterback.

"I think where we are as an organization, we are going with Tim," Elway said.

Tebow also disagrees that the lockout could destroy his chances of winning the starting job because the Broncos might prefer Orton's experience if training camps and preseason games are lost to the labor issue.

"Other guys might be taking it easy," he said. "So this might be an opportunity for me to outwork people."

Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.