Posted on: August 28, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2011 1:41 pm
NASVHILLE, Tenn. -- Jay Cutler is thinner. He looks quicker. He also looked sharp Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans.
All that controversy that followed him after he suffered a knee injury in the NFC Championship Game seems long forgotten -- even with his teammates.
"He had a pretty significant injury," Bears left guard Chris Williams said. "That guy is as tough as it gets. None of us questioned him one bit. It's not even a discussion."
Maybe not inside the locker room, but it is outside of it. Opposing players and media members piled on when he left the title game. I admit, I was one of those. My problem wasn't so much with the injury, but the body language. Why didn't he stay involved? Instead he sat on the bench pouting. But those who know Cutler say he's been a changed man this season. He is more accommodating with the media. He is more in tune with his teammates. And he looks good.
"He's had a great camp," Williams said. "He's working his butt off."
I've been a defender of Cutler in the past. I like the way he plays the game, with a gunslinger mentality. His passes get on his receivers quickly. The problem in Chicago is that he hasn't had great outside receivers and the line has struggled. The problem in Denver was himself. He wasn't as in tune with the responsibilities that come with playing quarterback in the NFL.
It appears he is now. Even so, he has rough edges. After the Titans game, some local media members were trying to get an idea of how he felt playing back where he played college football at Vanderbilt. He acted as if they asked him why he isn't with Kristen Cavallari anymore. He then blew off an interviewer on his way out of the locker room -- and, no, it wasn't me.
That's what you get with Cutler. Good days and bad days. But at least he's making an effort to change. The body is a start. Now if he can only ditch the bad demeanor on game days.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 6:38 pm
--Did Jay Cutler check out Sunday? The facts are he had a knee injury. It's said to be a Grade 3 sprain of the MCL, which is a tear. That's tough to play on, but not impossible. Word is he wanted to play, but the doctors told him no. Even so, why not fight to play? If Cutler was named Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, this isn't an issue. Since he's the distant, aloof Cutler, it is. I know this: Philip Rivers played on a torn ACL. To me, that's the difference between these two. But to question Cutler's toughness, might be a stretch. His desire? Maybe. Toughness? No way. He takes a ton of shots and never seems to be fazed, aside from the bad body language. I talked with one NFL player Monday who couldn't believe that Cutler acted the way he did after the injury. "Even if he's hurt, he has to be involved with the game," the player said. "That's the worst of it." Cutler moped on the sideline most of the second half, seemingly disconnected from the action. Why not help the young Caleb Hanie? The bottom line is Cutler probably brings on a lot of disdain from the way he acts. But it's hard to know if he quit on his teammates. They defended him after the game, so it sounded as if they had his back. I think Cutler takes abuse more than most passers because he is so difficult to understand. At dinner Sunday night at a nice Chicago restaurant, our waitress said Cutler would often come in after games with a large group. She said he wasn't very nice or social. "He texted on his phone all night," she said. That's Cutler. He doesn't let a lot of people in, which is why he seems to be an easy target. The reality is that even before he got hurt, he wasn't playing well. That, to me, is the bigger issue. Jay Cutler the quarterback simply wasn't very good on the game's biggest stage.
---In fairness to Cutler, the Bears need to get another receiver to help the offense. They have speed, but it is raw in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, who I still don't think is a very good receiver. I would look for the Bears to take a receiver at some point in this year's draft.
---Todd Collins? Really? Todd Collins? He wasn't very good 10 years ago? Why was he listed as the backup Sunday?
----The Bears also need a corner. Charles Tillman had a good year on one side and Tim Jennings was a pleasant surprise on the other, but Jennings was shredded by the Packers Sunday. He's more of a nickel corner. Zack Bowman, who was expected to start and be a breakout player, had a bad season and was benched.
---- The Jets need to find an outside rusher in the 3-4 scheme. If theses playoffs taught us anything about the Jets it's that they don't get pressure without blitzing. Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor just don’t cut it. They need an upgrade at outside linebacker.
----I hated the call to hand the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson on fourth-and-goal from the 1. I know he's been good down there in his career, but either run Shonn Greene or roll Mark Sanchez out. The Jets let Sanchez throw on third down, and he threw an incomplete pass. The fourth-down play lacked imagination, especially when you consider the Steelers are so good at stopping the run.
----Seeing all the NFL players sending out messages on Twitter about Cutler got me to thinking how much things have changed. It's open season on there. Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew was the harshest critic. He played all season on a knee that required surgery. But Jones-Drew did miss the final two games of the season. So for him to question Cutler might open him up to the same type of scrutiny.
Posted on: March 16, 2009 8:49 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2009 10:05 am
He points out the won-loss records of the two quarterbacks. Plummer was 40-18 as a starter, while Cutler is 17-20.
But underneath Cutler's record lies a serious problem that nobody on offense could overcome, including the great John Elway. The past two seasons the Broncos have stunk on defense. Big time.
Combining the 2007 and 2008 seasons, only two teams have allowed more points than the Broncos. Denver gave up a combined 857 points in 2007 and 2008. The St. Louis Rams (903) and Detroit Lions (961) are the only teams worse. Those two have a two-year combined record of 12-52, while the Broncos were 15-17. That's because of Cutler.
Those defensive numbers are indicative of a team that should have won four games each of the past two seasons. Instead, the Broncos won seven and eight. Thank Cutler.
Jake Plummer played at Arizona State, so I will always have respect for him since that's my alma mater, but give me Cutler any day.
One more thing about the Cutler story. He's getting killed for being a big baby. And I do think he's overreacted to the news that he might be traded.
But I warn Denver fans that he doesn't come close to the biggest baby move in Denver quarterback history. Need I remind you that a certain Hall of Fame quarterback that led you to two Super Bowls told the Baltimore Colts where to stick it when they drafted him. He took his ball and his bat and glove and told the Cotls he was a baseball player and wouldn't play football.
Until they traded him to the Broncos. Baby move. Yet it happened in the era before the Internet, before talk radio. Elway's brazen move was far more of a cry-baby move than anything Cutler is doing.
Oops, I forgot. You can't bash Elway to Broncos fans. That's asking for an Orange Crush.
Posted on: February 28, 2009 10:01 pm
Who the heck is making decisions in Denver?
We thought Mike Shanahan made some bad personnel decisions, but now we get a new regime signing a bunch of "slappys" as one scout told me and then there is word that the Broncos were interested in trading for Matt Cassel?
They were interested in swapping Jay Cutler for Cassel? Can that be serious? How stupid can new coach Josh McDaniels be? Just because a guy played well for you in New England doesn't mean he's better than the cannon-armed passer you have.
Cutler or Cassel? Please.
That's what happens when good football people don't run teams and too much power is given to coaches. McDaniels clearly doesn't know what he's doing if he thinks Cassel over Cutler is a good move.
Now we get word that Cutler is angry about it all. That can be repaired.
What can't be is the stupidity of the organization. If it keeps going like this, the Broncos are in big trouble.
Posted on: September 17, 2008 12:49 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2008 1:20 pm
As a guy who puts his opinions on players and coaches out there, I sometimes like to play the Right-Wrong game on my original thinking. So here goes:
Right: David Garrard isn't the elite quarterback everyone expected him to become. Garrard has struggled this season, throwing three interceptions in two games, the same number he threw all of last season. The Jaguars gave him a $60-million deal this spring. Wonder if they wished they'd waited?
Wrong: Matt Leinart would be the best quarterback from the 2006 draft class. It's clear right now that Denver's Jay Cutler, who is lighting it up, has a huge edge on Leinart, who is sitting on the bench.
Wrong: The Rams defense would be better in 2008. I actually thought that when I saw them work for two days against the Titans this summer. I should have known better. Vince Young lit them up and we know he can't pass at all.
Right: Cleveland and quarterback Derek Anderson wouldn't be as good as expected. The Browns are 0-2, losing two home playoff games, and Anderson is completing 51.8-percent of his passes and has a passer rating of 57.1. Brady Quinn time is coming.
Wrong: Fred Taylor would have a huge season. So far, Taylor has 67 yards on 23 carries. The line has been hit by injuries, and Taylor is traditionally a slow starter, so that could change.
Right: Packers corner Charles Woodson is one of the best cover players in the league, and the best on his team. Woodson didn't go to the Pro Bowl last season, while teammate Al Harris did. That was a crime. This time, Woodson is making an early case with two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Get him to Hawaii, please.
Wrong: Julius Peppers would become an edge force on the right side. Peppers does not have a sack in two games.
Right: The Steelers would be better than expected. When I spent time at their camp this summer, I came away impressed. At 2-0 and atop their division, I'm convinced that that they will win the AFC North.
Wrong: Matt Leinart will have his breakout season. Oops. He might not see the field the way Kurt Warner is playing.