I have been a Broncos fan for 25 years. They were my second favorite team until that dark day in January 1991 when the Eagles fired Buddy Ryan. I’ve been a fan through The Drive, The Fumble, 3 Super Bowl blowouts, Dan Reeves almost trading John Elway, the Elway-Reeves-Mike Shanahan drama, Head Coach Wade Phillips, the arrival of TD and the Mile High Salute, that crushing playoff loss at Mile High to second-year Jacksonville in 1996 (which I managed to block from my mind for 10 years until I saw it again on ESPN), 2 Super Bowl titles, the retirement of John Elway, an offense that could turn anyone into a 1000-yard rusher, a team that can put 30 points on the board while giving up 35, and the firing of Mike Shanahan. I gotta say, with everything that’s happened with this team since the end of the season, the last time I was this disgusted with a team that I was a major fan of was when the Eagles fired Buddy. There’s plenty of blame to go around, too. One thing that everyone needs to keep in mind, though: there’s only a handful of people who know exactly who said what, how they said it, and who started what, so as much as I've been following this, there’s obviously areas I don’t have all the information on.
Jay Cutler: Cutler needs to accept the fact that he’s still under contract to the Broncos for 3 more years, and depending on what’s in the new CBA, they might be able to keep his rights even longer by franchising him. He also needs to accept the fact that it is a business, and that star players sometimes get traded. If Cutler wants to get back at the Broncos for even CONSIDERING trading him for Cassel, he should come in, start learning the offense, and put up numbers in 2009 that it would take Cassel 2 seasons to reach. No matter where he goes, he won’t find a better situation anytime soon than he’ll find in Denver.
At the same time, you can’t blame him for being pissed. When Pat Bowlen fired Shanahan, he said, “Jay’s our guy”. He’s a guy who can be a top-5 QB in the NFL, a franchise passer who has the potential to be a Hall of Famer. He’s a Pro Bowl QB who was going to be traded in a move that is a downgrade at the position no matter how you look at it. And Cutler’s detractors are so quick to throw out the 17-20, never-won-a-playoff-game record, but Cutler’s job is to run the offense and put points on the board, and he’s done that. The Broncos’ offense was one of the best in the league last year. But their defense (which is not his responsibility in ANY way) blows, and gives up points faster than the offense can score them. Break his record down farther: when the defense gives up less than 30 points, Cutler is 14-7; when they give up 21 points or less, he’s 13-1. Doesn’t sound like a loser to me. For comparison, a poster on the Denver Post website came up with the records of a few select QBs in games where their defenses gave up more than 30 points. Here’s the list:
Tom Brady 5-8 (.384);
Peyton Manning 9-25 (.265);
Joe Montana 6-17 (.261);
Kurt Warner 6-22 (.214);
Jay Cutler 3-13 (.188);
Steve Young 4-19 (.174);
Ben Roethlisberger 2-10 (.167);
Brett Favre 8-42 (.160);
Terry Bradshaw 4-20-1 (.160);
Donovan McNabb 3-16 (.158);
John Elway 7-41 (.146);
Phyllis Rivers 1-8 (.111);
Jake Plummer 4-37 (.098), 0-10 w/the Broncos;
Troy Aikman 2-20 (.091);
Eli Manning 1-16 (.059);
Matt Cassel 0-4;
The Denver D gave up 30+ points 9 times in 2008; the only other QB that even approached numbers like that was one season when Indy gave up 30+ 7 times, and the Peyton-led Colts lost all 7 games.
I don’t know, seems like some pretty good QBs with some pretty crappy records when their defenses have shitty games. And there are reports that more than 10 teams are interested in talking to the Broncos if they decide to trade him. Obviously, he’s not THAT bad of a QB then.
Cutler should be in camp right now learning this offense, but these are voluntary workouts, and if the team is treating him as just any employee, he’s going to act like any employee and not attend the voluntary workouts.
Josh McDaniels: Most of the blame for this lies strictly on him. WHY in God’s name would you even CONSIDER trading a franchise QB for Matt Cassel? I understand that when coaches take a new job, they’ll bring some players with them from their old team, but does he need THAT much of a safety blanket that he’d make that trade? I don’t know, maybe he got spoiled by having Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady in New England, but franchise QBs aren’t that easy to find. Ask the Lions, Bears, Vikings, Jets, 49ers, and Titans, among others. There’s only one reason I’d think about doing that, and that would be if Cutler was the one great player on a horrible team, and you could pull off a Herschel Walker deal to rebuild your team. But Denver isn’t that bad. They’re a .500 team with holes, but any holes they could fill by making that trade wouldn’t make up for the gaping hole under center that trading Cutler would create. Without Cutler last year, that team wins between 2 and 4 games. With an average defense, they win 10-12 games.
And whatever happened with the trade talks, fucking man up and tell Cutler the truth. Don’t tell him how excited you are to work with him, then turn around and talk about trading him when he flies home to Nashville the SAME DAY, and then try to lie about who started the talks. Cutler’s main problem with this is that he’s felt lied to and disrespected, and I can’t exactly blame him considering where McDaniels has come from. Even today, during the interviews that he was forced to give under NFL policy, he said “Jay’s our quarterback, but….”. No buts. Again, this idiot doesn’t fucking get it. Then again, he’s NEVER been a head coach, not even in Pop Warner.
That brings up another problem with him—his demeanor, attitude, whatever. I don’t want my team run like the fucking Patriots. I want to win, but there are other ways to win, and do it honestly, and with class. In the last few years, look at the Steelers, or the Colts under Tony Dungy. And while Bill Belicheat is a scumbag, his coaching tree (Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Nick Saban, and McDaniels) doesn’t exactly have the record of success of Bill Walsh’s coaching tree (Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassell, San Wyche, George Seifert, Dennis Green, Mike Sherman, Steve Mariucci, Mike McCarthy, Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, Jeff Fisher, Brian Billick, Andy Reid, Ray Rhodes, Jon Fox, Gary Kubiak, Jack del Rio, Mike Smith, Brad Childress, John Harbaugh, Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith, and Mike Tomlin, among others).
McDaniels needs to fucking wise up, swallow his fucking pride, and fix this, as it’s a mess of his own doing.
Broncos management: Pat Bowlen, who’s generally been one of the best owners in the league since he bought the Broncos 25 years ago, is fucking up BIG TIME here. First, he fired Mike Shanahan because he wanted to take control of his team back, and “be more involved”. Apparently, Shanahan was so involved in running the team that he was making decisions without informing Bowlen, including extending the contract of an assistant coach without telling the owner.
Part of his plan after firing Shanahan and restructuring the team’s front office was to take personnel duties away from the coach and give them to the general manager, but the only times I’ve ever heard GM Brian Xanders’ name mentioned was to say that he was present, as in “Pat Bowlen, Jay Cutler, Josh McDaniels, and Brian Xanders were present at the meeting”. Between that and the fact that McDaniels is the only one talking about discussing trades with other teams (when he’s forced to talk about anything by the league), it really seems like he’s calling the personnel shots and Xanders is just an empty suit.
So with all of Bowlen’s talk about being more involved with the team, what did he say to reporters last week when asked about the situation: he’s not getting involved. What the FUCK?!?! He’s also being pissy because his old buddy Jay isn’t returning his phone calls either. He needs to step up and get these 2 together to straighten this out.
Bus Cook: Cutler’s agent. If this is a ploy to get a new contract out of the Broncos (like has been reported in some places), it has to be one of the stupidest moves an agent has made since the Rosnehaus Plan to get more money from the Eagles for T.O. Some people are comparing it to the Brett Favre situation last year (since Cook was his agent), but they’re totally different situations. Getting Cutler shipped to Detroit is NOT in the best interest of his client.
That’s what I have to say about it now. I’m sure there will be more as events develop.