I donít get all the hand-wringing going on over the alleged hissy fit being thrown by Jay Cutler and his very public spat with his Denver superiors. It all seems pretty straightforward to me. The 2008 Broncos had a top-flight offense with a quarterback who threw for over 4500 yards and went to the Pro Bowl, but they were defensively challenged, so they fired their offensive-minded head coach and replaced him with . . . an offensive-minded head coach. The new guy then fired the coordinator who ran that top-flight offense and brought in his own guy, who ran the 19th-ranked passing offense. The Pro Bowl QB lobbied to keep his old coordinator, but did not pout when he was replaced. What hacked him off, if we are to believe what we read, is that the new head coach was shopping for a new quarterback.
Maybe. Possibly. But could it be that the Pro Bowl quarterback simply questions the judgment of his new boss, maybe thinks heís overmatched, and wants to go someplace where he can win?
Jay Cutlerís reaction to the firing of Mike Shanahan is not unlike the situation in Chicago back in 1982, when a young defense on the come was faced with the prospect of losing its architect during a head coaching change, the difference being that defense was ranked 19th in a 28 team league when they sent their missive to the owner begging for their coordinator to be retained. By contrast, Denverís 2008 offense was 2nd in the league in yards per game and 3rd in passing when Shanahan was fired and Cutler expressed his wish that the offensive staff stick around. Offense wasnít their problem, defense was, and still, the team hired an offensive coach to run the team who is barely older than Cutler himself, and then the new coachís first order of business is to gut the offensive staff and try to bring in his teacherís pet?
I can hardly blame Cutler if he was sitting on his couch and wondering, ďAre you @#$%ing kidding me?!Ē Maybe Cutlerís thinking McDaniel is clueless for focusing on trading for his protťgť when he already has a Pro Bowl QB on his roster and the defense heís inheriting couldnít stop a Pop Warner team.
Talk about misplaced priorities. If I was the Last Bronco Fan Iíd be irate that the team was shopping their best asset for another quarterback who may only be a one hit wonder, instead of concentrating on improving a defense that ranked in the bottom eighth of the league. Whether Matt Casselís success in 2008 was the product of his talent or a result of Josh McDanielís exceptional coaching skills or the excellence of the organization he played in is immaterial. Denver had a quarterback with all the tools already sitting right there on its roster. Why waste energy trying to replace an all-star at the most important position on the field when there are bigger fish to fry?
This whole situation brings to mind another episode when another diva quarterback refused to play for his team, and ironically Denver had a role in that affair as well, principally as the enabler. It was 1983 when John Elway publicly stated that heíd never play for the Colts because they didnít know how to use him, and that heíd go play baseball for the Yankees or flee to the USFL if the Colts were foolish enough to waste their top pick in the draft on him. The Colts took him anyway, and when Elway started digging around his toy box for his glove the Broncos were right there waiting, ready to oblige with Chris Hinton (the fourth pick in that same draft), a #1 in 1984, and QB Mark Herrmann (or was it Bernard Herrmann, or Herman Munster?), who spent his two years with the Colts backing up Mike Pagel and Art Schlichter. Poetic, isnít it? You just know that somewhere, somebody in Baltimore is laughing as the Karma train rolls back into Denver.
Which brings me to the Bears. Today, they can make the reverse of the Elway incident work to their favor. Substitute Kyle Orton, who can actually play, for Herrmann and Brian Urlacher for Hinton (shedding an aging Bears diva in the process), and ship them the obligatory first round pick. Maybe toss in a third-rounder to compensate for Mumblesí age and balky back, and I think Jerry Angelo solves the Bearsí 60-year problem under center.
Call it the return of the Bearsí karma train that left when they traded away Bobby Layne.