ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The debate over Tim Tebow's worthiness as an NFL quarterback will undeniably continue in the offseason.
What's not in doubt is his status as the Denver Broncos' starter.
The team sought to curb the circus that's sure to surround Tebow over the next several months by declaring him the incumbent at a season-ending news conference Monday.
"Well, I think Tim's earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year," Broncos boss John Elway declared at the beginning of a 40-minute news conference in which 24 of the 47 questions were about Tebow.
"I think he made some good strides this year," Elway said. "He obviously played very well against Pittsburgh and played very well in a lot of football games."
And exceedingly poorly in plenty of others.
That's why Elway, a Hall of Famer who rejoined the team a year ago as chief of football operations, has pledged to personally work with Tebow this offseason to polish his passing game and help him become a better quarterback.
He has a willing pupil in Tebow, who said his offseason goal was "to work pretty hard and try to get a lot better."
Elway said he wants to "help Tim in every way I can, to be able to improve through what I learned."
And that was this: Mobility is great, but to compete for a championship, you have to become a pocket passer. That's what Elway learned late in his career, which he capped with back-to-back Super Bowl titles after losing the big game three times.
"Hopefully, I can teach him what I learned over my 16-year career," Elway said, "to be able to tell him what I learned in Year 10, hopefully get that to him in year 3 or 4."
The Broncos, like everyone else, are looking for that franchise quarterback "and we're so hopeful that Tim's that guy. Obviously, we have some work to do and he knows that, too."
Tebow took over a 1-4 team in October and guided the Broncos to their first playoff berth since 2005. But the clunky dual-threat quarterback completed just 46.5 percent of his passes in the regular season and 40.4 percent in the playoffs while compiling an 8-5 overall record that included five second-half comebacks.
His 80-yard TD toss on the first play of overtime beat Pittsburgh in the wild-card round and capped his best performance as a pro.
Then, he had the worst completion percentage — 34 — in a playoff game since 1998 in a 35-point loss at New England on Saturday night in a game that showed how far both he and the Broncos have yet to go.
Sticking with Tebow as the starter doesn't mean the Broncos won't be adding a quarterback or two in the offseason either through the draft or free agency.
"Well, right now as we look at it, we've got two quarterbacks under contract," Elway said, noting that practice squad QB Adam Weber signed a futures contract. "So, we've obviously got to be in the market to find some more quarterbacks."