What do you want from your quarterback?

2 04 2009

There’s something about a whining quarterback that rubs me wrong. The groveling, finger-pointing, ignoring phone calls and text messages…it seems out of character for a position which values leadership and toughness. But here we are with Jay Cutler, doing everything he can to earn the ire of opponents who may have already had no respect for the emotional QB (how hard must Phil Rivers and the rest of the Chargers be laughing at The Great Cutler Debacle). 

If you’re reading this and don’t know what Cutler situation I’m speaking of, I’ll give you the quick rundown:

1. Broncos fire long-time coach Mike Shanahan and hire young and inexperienced Josh McDaniels from the Patriots.

2. McDaniels and the new GM clean house and want to bring in their own boys — including former Patriots QB Matt Cassel.

3. Broncos attempt trade for Cassel, but swing and miss. Worse, the media finds out and Cutler is incensed.

4. Cutler says he wants to be traded and allegedly ignores all forms of attempted communication from the Broncos front office.

5. Broncos resign themselves to Cutler acting like an angry girlfriend and claim they will attempt to trade him.

I think that fairly encapsulates this situation in five points. Cutler is the angry girlfriend. He found out the Broncos tried to cheat on him through a third party, leading to embarrassment and anger. He feels used, like his past accomplishments don’t matter. Even worse is that Cutler likely feels ashamed at the Broncos for not considering him their man for the future. What does Cassel have that he doesn’t? At first glance, nothing, except the longing of Josh McDaniels.

Look closer, though, and Cassel has something else that alludes Cutler: the confidence to thrive in any situation. Remember, it was Cassel who maintained the confidence to come off the bench and replace Tom Brady after years of sitting on the bench, rarely getting game action. Cassel could’ve put on his sourpuss face at any point in his NFL career, but he stayed focused and waited for his opportunity. And he thrived when it came, leading the Patriots to 11 wins, and throwing his hat into the ring for Most Promising Young NFL QB. 

Cutler, on the other hand, doesn’t have the confidence to even speak to the Broncos after they admitted they circulated his name to teams in possible trade scenarios. Why Cutler is shaken that easily is something I don’t pretend to have an answer to, but I think it’s an ominous sign to whichever team ends up acquiring him. The guy seems a bit too fragile for my taste — could you imagine Brady or Peyton Manning or Big Ben Roethlisberger reacting the way Cutler has? 

This is a time for Cutler to show a bit of the arrogance for which he’s been known. Be arrogant enough to know that nobody can replace you, that the Broncos are better off with you, and that no trade rumor will prevent you from leading the Broncos back to the top of the NFL. Unfortunately for Denver fans, all he seems capable of doing right now is taking his ball and going home. Cry me a river.

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