Tag Archives: Jay Cutler

It’s My Fault

joe-montana.xxiv

I was watching America’s Game today, the episode on the 1980-81 Superbowl Champion San Francisco 49ers.  Randy Cross, Dwight Clark, and Ronnie Lott were all talking about how everything was Joe Montana’s fault.  A bad snap, Joe Montana would say, “I pulled out too early”.  An interception where the receiver was in the wrong place and Joe would say, “I made a bad pass”.  Everything was Joe Montana’s fault.  Now the coaches knew the truth but the players would do anything for a guy who would take the blame for their mistakes.

Now this isn’t revolutionary, a lot of great players have lived this out and the response is always the same.  Their teammates deeply appreciate it and the effect is the same, when Joe Montana would make a throw that was too high or in the right place, the receivers would fight and scratch to go get it, knock it away from a defender or do whatever they had to do during a game.

18 November 2007:  Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 takes pre-game warmups.  The Vikings defeated the Raiders by a score of 29 to 22 at the H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota. My question is why along the way have the JaMarcus Russell, Jay Cutler, and Jeff George’s of the world never learned this.  Over their career, they have constantly tossed offensive linemen, receivers, and running backs under the bus with confrontations on the sidelines or as JaMarcus Russell did this year, blame them for his lack of success.

They have agents, advisors, coaches, and teammates and you have to think that one of them said, “Hey, stop glaring at your receivers when they drop a pass.  It makes them look bad and embarrasses them.”  Despite that, many have no idea that team sports are won and lost as a team and their lack of emotional intelligence hurts their team and their careers.

How many QB’s won Super Bowls who had teammates who hated them?  Even the wild and out of control Raiders of the 70s and 80s liked each other.

One of the things that the New England Patriots reportedly place a high priority on when drafting players in character.  Character makes players coachable, makes them get along with their teammates, helps them handle adversity, and also keeps them out of trouble with the law or NFL rules.  In other words it allows the team to concentrate on football, not the drama that surrounds the players I mentioned.

What I also can’t believe is that there are still franchises who place so little emphasis on these qualities and really think that talent is everything.  It isn’t.  At the same time I can’t believe that agents aren’t getting these guys coached by the greats that have gone before them.  For years some of these stars have gotten along with having more talent then everyone else but now everyone has talent.  It’s now an age of hard work, intelligence, and desire will win you games.  If I was an agent, I would have my client sit down less with rappers and new media consultants and more with guys like Archie Manning, John Elway, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, and Dan Marino and see what the learned about leading a team, being loyal, and the work it took to play the game.  It was Roger Staubach who called up John Elway and said, “hit the weight room kid if you want to survive playing the way you do.”  With Russell it may as well be, “stay away from the Eggo’s in the morning” but I am sure they would have things to say before he ate away his career.

Contextless Sports Thoughts

The Woods Family Picture :: Tiger, Elin and the kids

  • Interesting article on how IMG is handling the Tiger Woods debacle :: "Specifically," Posner writes, "sources at two of Woods’s corporate sponsors told The Daily Beast that Steinberg has been working furiously to get them to issue public statements demonstrating that they ‘had full faith in Tiger and backed him completely.’" And according to Posner, while Nike is on board with the plan, Gillette and Gatorade are not, and Accenture is wavering. :: I personally think Woods is done as a marketing pitchman and his ability to pitch will be very limited from here on in.  Like Wendy said after reading a news report that said that Tag Heuer was dropping Tiger from it’s latest ad campaign, how do I show her a pamphlet with Tiger Woods on the front and say, “You can give me one of those for Christmas”.  Also, he just didn’t have an affair, he had affairs with women whose lifestyle is not exactly what most Tag Heuer owners ascribe to.  That and the Tiger Woods Tag Heuer watch is one ugly watch.
  • Jay Cutler Dan Pompei has a story on how Jay Cutler needs to grow up and stop being a baby.  He’s another QB that needs to grow up quick or risk having a career trajectory similar to Jeff George.   Mike Shanahan couldn’t get him to grow up, his immaturity lead to him being traded from the Broncos to the Bears (burning bridges as he went) and it ended the honeymoon pretty quickly in Chicago.  We could start a pool on where he ends up next.  Oakland anyone?
  • Pretty big news out of Notre Dame today.  Brian Kelly has been named coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Let’s hope the Brian Kelly era is nicer to us fans than the heartbreaking Charlie Weis era.  Someone does need to Tweet Charlie Weis and get him to update his Twitter profiles though.  You can follow Coach Kelly on Twitter here.

The best and worst NFL owners

Michael Silver has a great two part series over on Yahoo! Sports rating the NFL Owners from #32 to #1.  Here are the highlights.

Oakland Raider owner Al Davis

The Worst Owner if the NFL, no secret here.  Al Davis

Think hard: Since the Raiders were blown out in Super Bowl XXXVII by the Bucs (and then-coach Jon Gruden, whom Davis dealt to Tampa Bay after failing to offer him a market-value contract extension), has he or Matt Millen been worse at running a team? It’s a tough call, and that’s scary. Now, sources say, Davis once again has cash-flow issues. In a July interview with team play-by-play announcer Greg Papa of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Davis said he was scaling back on grandiose birthday-party plans because he didn’t want to flaunt his good fortune in a bad economy. “What a joke that was,” says another owner. “He has no money – he’s trying to sell another 10 percent of his team to raise working capital. That’s what that was about.”

If I was Michael Silver, I would just retired #32 for Al Davis.  After he gives up ownership of the Raiders, you don’t become the worst owner in the league, you are just labeled Al Davis.  As a Denver Broncos fan, I hope he keeps control of this team until he’s 140 and then pulls a Walt Disney and leaves instruction on who to draft from the grave.

This one hurts if you are Cincinnati Bengals fan where Mike Brown is rated the second worst owner in the game.

It’s hard to put Brown’s philosophy in its proper context, but here’s a loaded attempt: He’s the 21st century’s answer to a Communist Party bigwig in the Soviet Union’s heyday – gaming a system steeped in shared revenues for his own benefit while setting new standards among his peers for brazen laziness. Says one owner: “Anything that’s going to force him to do any extra work, he speaks out against it.” In recent months, Brown voiced opposition to the league’s moves to allow teams to cut sponsorship deals with state lotteries and hard-liquor providers and to sell advertising decals on practice jerseys. When Saints owner Tom Benson asked for a waiver on club-seat revenues to help fund improvements at the Superdome – part of an admirable transformation that has pushed him away from his usual spot at or near the bottom of these rankings – Brown was the lone Grinch in the meeting room. “It’s a great American story, Tom Benson defying the skeptics and keeping the Saints in New Orleans, and [expletive] Mike Brown speaks out against it,” the same owner says. “Meanwhile, the guy has the best stadium deal ever. It was completely built for him and he has no operating expenses. He probably makes more money than any of us.” Nonetheless, Brown repeatedly advocates for additional handouts from his larger-market peers via revenue-sharing and spends as little of it as he can get away with on employees.

He does get some credit for not changing the Bengals helmets.  I still think they are one of the greatest in pro sports.  Other than that, I’m not so sure.  The stories of the Brown family’s thriftiness is legendary (like being the only team in the league that doesn’t serve breakfast for players).

There is some good news.  Tom Benson has risen up a couple of spots to No. 22 for his efforts to keep the Saint’s in New Orleans.

Benson, who clearly had a wandering eye even before Hurricane Katrina hit, responded to the disaster by recasting his legacy. “It’s hard for me to say this, because I’ve seen him say and do so many stupid things, but Tom Benson has been terrific,” says one longtime critic among his peers. “When everyone assumed he’d use Katrina as an excuse to line his pockets, maybe he viewed it as an opportunity to prove people wrong.” Last week Louisiana lawmakers approved a deal with Benson that will keep the team in New Orleans through at least 2025 and initiate improvements to the Superdome which, blessedly, should put New Orleans back in the Super Bowl rotation.

Okay, Benson’s ranking is the only one I can’t agree with.  He is doing what the Bush administration could not do and this is make a tangible effort at rebuilding New Orleans.

This one hurts Denver Broncos fans everywhere.  Pat Bowlen has a really bad off-season and slips to #17.

After years of relative stability and smart, league-friendly stewardship, Bowlen had what seemed to be the owner’s equivalent of a midlife crisis this past winter after the Broncos blew a playoff berth with a late-season collapse. First Bowlen fired longtime coach Mike Shanahan and replaced him with then-32-year-old Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Bowlen then allowed McDaniels to hire another neophyte, Brian Xanders, as his handpicked general manager. To say the newbies had a rough start was an understatement. In April McDaniels tried to trade 26-year-old franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, lost the player’s trust and acted as though damage control was beneath him, creating an untenable situation that finally prompted Bowlen to deal Cutler to the Bears. After Cutler successfully pushed his way out of town by alienating the owner, star wideout Brandon Marshall attempted to do the same and was miffed when the strategy didn’t work. He’s currently under suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Talk about a Rocky Mountain Low. Through it all Bowlen has been wishy-washy and weak, admitting during the Cutler saga that he’s been having short-term memory lapses. (That might also explain why Marshall’s agent, in June, said Bowlen had told the receiver in a one-on-one meeting he’d deal him while McDaniels insisted the Broncos had no such plans.) Bottom line: I’m worried about Bowlen. He’s only 65, but he appears awfully confused about the direction of his team. Oh, and here’s the capper to a horrid offseason: When Bowlen fired Shanahan, his coach and de facto GM, he wasn’t aware that a league rule required him to post a deposit for the balance of the outgoing employee’s contract. “So he had to give the league $21 million in cash,” one owner says. “Surprise.” Ouch, babe.

And here is a season where Bowlen is reportedly taking a more hands on approach with his team.  Personally I think he fired Shanahan because he just couldn’t fix the defense and there were a lot of questionable coaching calls made over the last couple of years that cost not only games but playoff berths.  The other thing is that Shanahan spent Bowlen’s money like it was going out of style.  It’s fine if you are Jerry Jones and it is your own money but when it is the boss’s money, they tend to get a little tense and uptight at you blowing their millions on players who don’t work out year after year after year.

We all know the Kraft family is going to be number 1 but number 2 is Jerry Jones

But if I were a Cowboys fan, I’d get down on my knees and thank the football gods for sending Jerry and his family to North Texas, and none of you will ever convince me otherwise. Among his many recent accomplishments: Jones, as chairman of the NFL Network, joined forces with Goodell to settle a long-running dispute with Comcast after successfully demonstrating that customers would cancel their cable service if denied access to the channel. Said one rival owner: “You’ve got to give it up for Jerry. The stadium’s spectacular. Four words: Big vision, big testicles.”

Can’t wait until next year and if Silver is correct, Bowlen won’t remember that this list was even published in a week and Mike Brown may be too lazy to read it.

Comments?  Anything he missed?

Pat Bowlen’s Letter to Fans

It can be summed up with, Jay Culter is lying to you about McDaniels and him not trying to contact him.

“Understand this: it remains about team,” Bowlen wrote. “Our franchise has gone to the Super Bowl six times, with three different coaches and with many different players. It has never been about one player, and it never will be. Coach McDaniels shares this vision, and everyone in the organization—players, coaches and staff—must understand and accept this unconditionally. If anyone does not, that person will not be a part of this franchise.”

Like I said before, that is an odd part of the equation.  I can understand not wanting to talk with McDaniels but I don’t know why Cutler ignored the calls from Bowlen.  For whatever reason, I think in the end, Cutler wasn’t strong enough emotionally to recover from having his coach and offensive coordinator fired and was going to take it out on whoever the new coach was and the owner.

Jay Cutler: I never wanted to be traded

This kind of cracks me up/makes me want to hit my head against the wall.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

"I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon," Cutler told Glazer in his first comments since the statement was released. "I didn’t want to get traded. This wasn’t me. (The Broncos) had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback and then they didn’t."

"I really didn’t want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn’t want it to get this far."

It makes me wonder if this was an attempt to get a new contract rather than force a trade.  Cutler had two amazing receivers, a good offensive line, and an offensive minded coach and owner.  Now he is in a city with a mediocre offense, no high draft picks, and a team that thinks run first.

Now Denver will go out and draft Matt Sanchez and he will get to drive the Ferrari that is Denver’s offence.

What’s wrong with Jay Cutler?

Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler

Shutdown Corner has a post on what is going on with the Denver Broncos and their Pro-Bowl Quarterback, Jay Cutler.  They quote Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. Quoth Peter:

I heard one other interesting thing Sunday: Cutler asked for a trade shortly after the Broncos lost offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates — Cutler’s confidant — to USC after the season. So maybe both sides need to go into marriage counseling here.

For the record, McDaniels says he never wanted to trade Cutler to begin with, though he’d have to say that, right? Again from the Denver Post:

"We’ve received trade calls on a number of players, which is not uncommon this time of the year. I also think the sensitivity of the other trade that was occurring, with my relationship with New England and the whole Cassel thing, I think that stirred the pot even more."

And then McDaniels made a point of emphasis: "We don’t want to trade Jay. We never did. He’s our quarterback. We’re excited about this season. And excited about what we’re doing here in free agency to improve our team."

Another possibility is that names get leaked all of the time to the media just to rattle team chemistry (see what Minnesota Vikings did last year with Brett Favre).  At the same time Cutler needs to make nice with McDaniels and prove to the new coach that he can be the man in Denver.  He needs to remember that despite his high powered offense, there were some games that the offense was not a factor in the game and he lost them one or two games by himself, games that may have saved Mike Shanahan his job.

Finally, Jay has to realize that pro football is a business.  It’s what players say all of the time when they want their contract renegotiated and it is what they say when it is free agency.  What they need to learn is that it is business from the teams point of view as well.  If the Broncos think that someone else can do the job better, they go with them.  It happened to fellow 2006 draft class QB’s Vince Young (who was a Pro Bowl QB as well) and Matt Leinart last season and it will happen to some other player who feels he is the “face of the franchise” this year.  It’s not just a business but a brutal one at that.

Why Mike Shanahan had to go

Tom Curran of NBC Sports had this to say

What had to clinch it for Bowlen, though, were the absurd losses Denver absorbed this season. Beaten by the lowly Chiefs 33-19 after a 3-0 start. A 41-7 destruction by the Patriots in Foxboro. A sloppy, staggering loss at home to Miami. A 31-10 ripping at home by the hated Raiders. Then the three straight losses to end the season.

Wins over decent teams like Atlanta, Tampa and the Jets only served as proof that Denver had talent but, for whatever reason, it wasn’t playing up to it.

Jay Cutler, the Broncos’ third-year quarterback, took an aggressive stance on the dismissal, telling Jeff Legwold of the Rocky Mountain News on Tuesday, “I’m disappointed, I’m shocked, I’m not happy about it, I’m not pleased with it at all. We had zero inkling this was going to happen. I didn’t have a clue.”

Irked as Cutler may be, his play waned after a brilliant start as well, throwing six touchdowns and seven picks while Denver was going 2-4 down the stretch.

Defensively, the Broncos were an embarrassment. They allowed 448 points (and an eye-popping 857 over the past two seasons) and were minus-17 in turnovers.

Shanahan didn’t have the out of being able to blame the general manager for providing him with players who couldn’t take coaching or didn’t have talent. He was the Broncos’ GM, as well.

In a game where coaching matters as much as football, Shanahan had to take responsibility for the play and the preparedness of the Broncos.  Yes he won 2 Super Bowls but his teams have not always shown up to play over the last couple of years and the defense is horrible.  When he had the GM fired and the team faded down the stretch like it had a couple of times before, who else was there to blame?  His coaching staff, his players, his inconsistent team that fell short.

The NFL Network and Terrell Davis share their thoughts here.  Jason Cole suggests that Mike Shanahan had another job lined up which forced Pat Bowlen’s hand.

Emergence of the gambling man

Michael Silver (who has become one of my favorite sports writers) has a good article on the return of Mike Shanahan.

Denver Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan on the sideline The true significance of Sunday’s game was Shanahan’s gutsy decision to go all in and play for the win – a course that he and Cutler plotted as the Chargers went up by 7 with 4:22 remaining.

Strip it all away, and this was an "I’m Back" statement from a coach nearly a decade removed from his last Super Bowl victory who is coming off a losing season he found untenable.

It was a power move by a play-calling savant who knows he finally has the quarterback who can help the Mile High City get over its collective post-John Elway hangover.

And, let’s be honest, it was the act of a man who, despite recent rumblings to the contrary, is secure in his environment. Now in his 14th season, the league’s second-longest-tenured head coach was willing to risk the backlash that would have accompanied a failed conversion. Given that only six other coaches had pulled a similarly risky move (going for two while down a point in the final two minutes) since the advent of the rule in 1994 – and only two of those six had been successful – Shanahan had to be feeling mighty exposed.

Let’s be honest: He’s been waiting for a chance to expose himself in good conscience for a long time. And even in those tense moments before he knew how the outcome would play out, Shanahan loved every second of it.

"I think so," said Cutler, who completed 36 of 50 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns in a performance that we may remember as the day he became a big-time NFL passer. "I think he’s comfortable being aggressive. We’re attacking a lot more this year. We’ve got so many weapons. Our receivers are stepping up, our tight ends are exciting and our backs are so versatile. And with the way our line’s playing, we feel like we can attack you any way you want."

Most of all Cutler, in his third season, has progressed to a point where Shanahan wants nothing more than the ball in his quarterback’s right hand with the game on the line.

"That’s why you go for it," Shanahan said afterward as he sat in the coaches’ locker room at Invesco, his face still flushed from the excitement. "I’ve always believed you get a good feel for a quarterback in his third year, and I knew going into this offseason that Jay was capable of doing what he’s done these first two games. If he keeps on playing at this level, good things will happen."

Week One

While my fantasy team is disarray, at least the Denver Broncos won big.

Jay Cutler shredding the Oakland Raiders Cutler threw for 299 yards with long touchdown passes to rookie Eddie Royal and Darrell Jackson that helped the Broncos beat up on their AFC West rivals in a 41-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.

“There were a lot of questions about us, but we felt good about what we have,” Cutler said. “You have that little bit of doubt about what’s going to happen with the young guys when the lights come on, but they came through time and time again.”

Cutler showed why the Broncos made him a first-round draft pick in 2006, completing 16 of 24 passes and confidently picking apart Oakland’s rebuilt defense despite missing its best offensive playmaker to a one-game suspension.

How did the Raiders new acquisitions do?

The Raiders went on an offseason spending spree to try to reverse five straight seasons of double-digit losses. The early payoff was not good.

Receiver Javon Walker, who got $16 million in guaranteed money, missed the game with an injured hamstring. Hall, who got $24 million guaranteed, was frequently beat by Royal in coverage and committed the two personal fouls. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who got $18 million in guarantees, was part of a line that failed to get pressure on Cutler all night.