Talk about making a bad entrance. New Denver Coach Josh McDaniels certainly couldn’t have started off worse. He’s in Denver for about two minutes and now his franchise quarterback won’t play for him. If that wasn’t bad enough, the quarterback he really wanted is out of his reach in Kansas City thanks to some of his old pals in New England.
Welcome to the being a head coach in the NFL, Josh! First, you get the challenge of having to replace a local legend in two time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan. Now, your quarterback who threw for over 4,000 yards last year and isn’t even in his prime yet is bailing on you.
For sure, Jay Cutler is being a big baby. But, with athletes these days I don’t think you can expect anything different. Organizations and coaches simply must figure out how to handle them.
The Broncos and McDaniels had every right to listen when people were asking about Cutler’s availability. Any player is replaceable, especially when the people calling you are offering you Matt Cassel, a quarterback who ran your system last year. It’s not so much that they listened. It’s how they handled Cutler after the news got out.
From what I’ve heard/read, it sounds like the new coach and Cutler have had two conversations since Cutler found out about the Broncos not immediately rejecting trade talk involving him. In at least one of the conversations, McDaniels tried to lay down the law and tell Cutler he was expected to fulfill all his obligations to the organization. Today, Cutler was a no show for McDaniels’ first team meeting. Mission: Not Accomplished.
Each time Cutler and McDaniels talk, the situation gets worse and each time both sides come out of the conversation convinced of a different outcome.
I’m not on the phone and I’m not in the room with McDaniels or Cutler. Maybe Cutler is hyper-sensitive and any new coach would have run into the same problems with him. Maybe Cutler is still too young and thin skinned to realize how cut throat the NFL really is. Players are a commodity to be traded at an organization’s whim. Nothing more, nothing less.
On the other hand, maybe Josh McDaniels is too young and inexperienced to know how to deal with the headache this has all become. McDaniels may well go on to be a fantastic coach (or not), but somehow I don’t see this situation playing out this way if say had Bill Parcells or some other experienced coach come in to take over for Shanahan. And at least they would have been able to buy their own beer! (Cheap shot – McDaniels is 32, which is fully legal to drink in most states…)
Ultimately, it would be a shock to us all if Cutler ends up staying in Denver. No matter who’s fault this is look for Denver to have a new quarterback soon.
Could this be Chris Simms’ big break? He’s on the roster and if McDaniels’ could turn Matt Cassel into a pretty good NFL QB maybe he can do the same with Phil’s boy.