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NFL SCOUTING COMBINE

Even with Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos need QBs

Broncos aren't ruling out the unconventional Tebow as long-term answer. But with only two quarterbacks on roster, they want to bring two more to training camp, and the combine is ground zero in search.

February 24, 2012|By Sam Farmer
  • Broncos General Manager John Elway fields questions from reporters during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Friday.
Broncos General Manager John Elway fields questions from reporters during… (Michael Conroy / Associated…)

Reporting from Indianapolis -- The Denver Broncos have their fingers crossed that Tim Tebow is their long-term answer at quarterback, but they're still scanning the horizon for an alternative.

With only two quarterbacks under contract — Tebow and practice-squad player Adam Webber — the Broncos are looking for two more to bring to training camp, and one or both could come through the draft. Tebow is the starter at the moment, but there's no guarantee the job will be his come September.

"He added a great spark for us, and we really had some good things happen to us," Broncos Vice President John Elway said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. "I was really happy with his progress. I know Tim's going to work hard this off-season. We're hoping that he's going to be the guy for a long, long time."

League rules prohibit teams from supervising or mandating workouts for players at this time of year. Elway was aware, however, that Tebow was at UCLA last week working on his game with Noel Mazzone, the Bruins' offensive coordinator.

"The one thing I don't have a concern with is the fact that Tim Tebow is going to do everything he can this off-season to get better," Elway said. "If that's out working with Mazzone — or whatever he is doing — I know that he is going to do everything he can to get better."

As for what type of quarterback the Broncos are looking for in the draft, a traditional passer or someone more unconventional like Tebow, Elway was noncommittal.

"When I look at Tim and I look at our offense, we can do it with either one," he said. "Whether it be a guy like Tim, or if it's more of a drop-back-type guy, we feel like either one is going to be able to fit."

Can we talk?

It's still early in the process but here's a tidbit that might further hint at which way the Indianapolis Colts are leaning: They have yet to request an interview with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

All arrows point to the Colts' using the No. 1 pick on Stanford's Andrew Luck, no matter what the decision is on Peyton Manning.

Griffin said Friday he met with Philadelphia, and has interviews with Cleveland and Kansas City on his schedule. Luck met Thursday night with Colts offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen.

There's talk that the Browns would trade up from the fourth spot to the second — which now belongs to St. Louis — to select Griffin. It's a natural, because the Browns also have the 22nd pick as part of the deal with Atlanta last year that allowed the Falcons to take Julio Jones.

"It would be fun to compete with Colt," Griffin said, referring to Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, a former Texas standout. "I played him one year in college and he beat us, so maybe I'd have to go out there and beat him."

Asked if he'd be comfortable playing behind Manning were he to be selected by the Colts, Griffin said: "I'd carry that clipboard with pride."

Luck said essentially the same thing.

"When you have the chance to learn from a guy like Peyton Manning, if that chance arises, you'd better take advantage of it," Luck said. "He's arguably the best quarterback ever, and he was my hero growing up. So, yeah."

Ready to roll

In another year, absent the rampant speculation about Manning's future, much of the quarterback talk would be focused on Green Bay's Matt Flynn, who's scheduled to become a free agent March 13. The NFL has gotten only a glimpse of him, but who could quibble with what he's done in relieving Aaron Rodgers?

Flynn started one game last season, the regular-season finale against Detroit, and threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory.

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy said at the combine Friday that Flynn is ready to be a starter somewhere this season. A logical landing spot would be Miami, where former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is the new coach.

"He'd like to come back and play with Green Bay," McCarthy said. "The other side of the fence is he's earned the position he's in. In my opinion, he's ready to be a starter. If I was with a club that was looking for a good young quarterback, he'd be a guy I'd talk to.

"He's ready. It's his time to play. He's improved every aspect of his game."

Westwood one

The only UCLA player at the combine is tight end Cory Harkey, who started all 14 games last season but was almost exclusively a blocker, catching just one pass. He said this is his chance to prove he can be whatever an NFL team wants him to be, and that includes a receiving target.

"I feel like I can prove a lot of people wrong," he said. "For me, my whole thing is just confidence, knowing that I'm going to be able to catch the ball and tuck it and run with it. I think that's always been my thing is my confidence and my confidence is high right now. I need to go out there and be relaxed and do my stuff and play the game that I love."

Keep it down

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