The biggest story in the NFL is the drama in Denver, where the Broncos face the prospect of losing quarterback Jay Cutler due to his disenchantment with new head coach Josh McDaniels.
I interviewed Garrett Barnes, editor and lead blogger of Bronco Madness, about the Cutler-McDaniels situation.
TT: So what’s the deal with the Denver Broncos and its franchise quarterbacks? Back in 1992, your team drafted Tommy Maddox in the first round to replace Hall-of-Famer John Elway. Today, the Broncos have completely lost the trust of Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler. Do you see a pattern here?
Garrett: It is the pattern with the Pat Bowlen mind set. He does not want to get involved with his head coach and while in some cases that works to perfection, it can also backfire. Dan Reeves didn’t like Elway when he came, Shanahan offered to trade up Shannon Sharpe (my all time favorite Bronco) when he came, and now McDaniels is doing so with Cutler. The only difference is that Shannon Sharpe and John Elway mainly kept their mouths shut. This is Shannon Sharpe we are talking about, the biggest mouth in the history of the NFL and he realized he needed to stay somewhat quiet through this. McDaniels chose the wrong guy to mess with and he is paying for it whether he deserves it or not. Pat Bowlen has put in a system where even a new coach can do whatever he wants with the team and it has finally backfired on the franchise.
TT: What do you think of how Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has handled this situation thus far?
Garrett: McDaniels has done about as well as he could. He is a young coach and this is great for experience. It just came at an unfortunate time when he was so new. He has shown me personally that he knows to stick to his guns as a head coach and not back down when ever somebody goes out and makes a complaint. He has a good system when he makes clear that no player is indispensable and will gain a lot of respect from his players and fellow coaches for that.
TT: I think Jay Cutler is a goner and will be traded on draft day. What do you think?
Garrett: It’s a 50/50 chance at this point. We all thought that Chad Johnson… *cough* i’m sorry… Chad Ocho Cinco was a goner too but that all turned around quickly. If Jay Cutler is ill-advised by his agent Bus Cook there is no chance he will be back in orange and blue but if he happens to turn it all around and drop Cook’s bad, bad ideas he could stay. I think this could run even into training camp like Brett Favre last year. This year’s training camp if he is not traded will be more of a circus than a training camp.
TT: Some Titans fans love the former Vanderbilt quarterback and would be more than happy to see Vince Young leave Nashville. Any chance Cutler ends up in Titan blue?
Garrett: I might be wrong here but I even remember Jeff Fisher saying that he wanted Cutler but the fans wanted Young and that is why he drafted him. I could be wrong though… You just resigned Kerry Collins but don’t count this out. IF he ends up in Tennessee though I don’t want Young but Collins in return and both your draft picks this year and next years. There are about 14 teams that I think could make a play for him (11 who have already inquired) and Tennessee will definitely be in play, maybe even a dark horse to watch.
TT: Jay Cutler is one of your two favorite Broncos players. Why do you like Cutler?
Garrett: I like Cutler because he is talented. I usually am sort of a sucker for Safeties which was the position I played in high school but when you have a franchise QB as good as Cutler on your team it is hard not like them. It is like that wherever one goes. If he leaves Brian Dawkins might be taking over his throne.
TT: What will happen to Denver in 2009 if Cutler leaves?
Garrett: Oh, this is the big question… It all depends. If Cutler is gone and we get let’s say, Brady Quinn I think we might lose only one game less than what we might have with Cutler. But if we don’t get a viable QB option in return then it could be disastrous. Chris Simms is perfect for the system and Josh McDaniels is a system over talent kind of coach so it might work out. But if we have a second round pick like Rhett Bomar starting then we are screwed. I see us with Cutler: 10-6. With another viable QB option: 9-7. With no viable QB option: 6-10. That said, we have a great offensive coach. Maybe what we think is not a viable QB option might be one by the end of the season.