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With new CBA rules, how much can Elway really help Tebow?

  • By Jeff Darlington NFL.com
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INDIANAPOLIS -- While delivering another nod of support in quarterback Tim Tebow's direction at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Denver Broncos vice president John Elway also maintained his previous stance that he'd like to work with Tebow to aid his growth this offseason.

"I know Tim is going to work hard," Elway said. "We're hoping he's going to be the guy for a long, long time."

But how much will Elway really be able to help?

New rules in the collective bargaining agreement, which were instituted to protect players from being overworked, could provide a slight hindrance in that process. Finding a way to assist Tebow -- while also giving him enough time to absorb any of the lessons Elway can bestow on him -- is going to be a considerable challenge.

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"It's really not for me to question those rules," Elway said. "It is what it is. I support what comes down the pipe, I do what I'm told, and it's not my job to give my opinion on that.

"There's enough time in the offseason, and also enough guys out there that they can get help from."

Elway will be able to begin his tutelage of Tebow on May 1 -- the second phase of the new offseason workouts. Not until then will he be able to work with Tebow on the field at all.

During the first phase (which begins two weeks earlier on April 16), players can only work with strength and conditioning coaches, and quarterbacks can only throw to uncovered receivers with no helmets. Then, on that May 1 date, all coaches (and Elway, in this case) can be on the field with players. They can deliver individual instruction, but players are restricted from taking part in team drills and one-on-one drills, and they can't wear helmets at any time. For the following four weeks (the third phase), Elway will still be able to work with Tebow, and teams are allotted 10 organized team activities (down from 14 in the old CBA).

So essentially, Tebow and Elway will have seven weeks to work together before training camp begins. What exactly will they work on? And how will Elway make sure he helps Tebow become a better passer without inhibiting what he does best?

"I don't know if you look at it as being more conventional," Elway said. "There are things we have to get him to do within our offense to be more successful as an offense. We look at what we did last year. Tim's strengths, no question, he can run the football. He's a big guy, physical, and likes to run it.

"We'll continue to do that, but we'll also want to see strides in Tim and his ability to get better -- throwing the football downfield from the pocket is something we have to do to get better as an offense. It makes everything else he does that much better."

Since he's restricted from working out at the Broncos' facility, Tebow has recently been sharpening his game in Los Angeles with UCLA's new offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone. They've been working out as much as twice per day. Elway hasn't had any contact with Mazzone (he wasn't sure if he was allowed to do so), but he doesn't sound concerned about someone else assisting Tebow with his game.

"I don't have a concern that Tim Tebow isn't going to do everything he can this offseason to get better," Elway said. "Whether that's working with Mazzone, or whatever he's doing, he's working to get better.

"There are a lot of guys out there who know a lot about football."

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @jeffdarlington

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