When it comes down to it, sooner or later things just weren't going to work out. There are two kinds of Quarterbacks in this league. Jay Cutler is the prototype for the offense Shanahan ran last year, but not for what McDaniels has in mind.
Shortly after Josh McDaniels was named the Head Coach of the Denver Broncos, it became clear that the things were never going to be the same at Mile High. An offensive, not defensive minded coach, he was going to implement a new system. The "Patriot Way" is coming to Denver. Writers have called the Broncos the "Patriots West" and that IS what we as fans have to look forward to, like it or not.
Gone are the days of old when the Broncos would pound the Rock and then have the ability to catch the secondary sleeping with a well placed throw down field. This is how I would describe the Shanahan offense of old with Elway and TD. This also the vision I think he wished to continue with Cutler and a RB who played more than one game without getting hurt.
Jay Cutler is a gunslinger type QB who has the arm strength and accuracy to place the ball wherever he pleases. Elway was this kind of player, as was Marino, and Favre.
The problem is that McD doesn't need this type of player in his offense, he needs the other type of QB, the Game Manager. The Game manager is a system type player. He makes up for his lack of amazing physical gifts with his ability to read the field, to take what the Defense gives you, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer...to name a few.
The Patriots, and the 2009 Denver Broncos will, run the a dink and dunk, spread, offense that has made them wildly successful. This system only works if you have a QB who is a good decision maker. That is not a term I would use to describe Cutler, not yet at least.
Cutler's production speaks for itself, 4,526 yards 25 TD and 18 INT. That's third in yards, seventh in touchdowns, and second most interceptions during the 2008 season.
The 18 interceptions are not great, but considering how many times Denver threw the ball, having no running game and no defense, some of them can be forgiven, but not all of them.
Cutler's biggest developmental hurdle as a player is his decision making skills. He often tries to make throws he shouldn't make. I think its important for a QB to have confidence, a swagger, but locking on to one receiver and trying to hit a window smaller than the ball itself is not a wise decision. He made it happen a few times, and those throws were amazing, but many of them were also game changing interceptions.
Cutler is young and maybe he could mature past these poor decisions, but the errant throws and his tendency to lock in on one receiver were not big resume boosters in looking at Jay Cutler as a QB in the McDaniels Patriots Offense. You need to be able to see the whole field go through the progression, and dump the ball down to your RB's.
Granted if he had bought into the system, humbled himself to accept the fact that his game still has room for improvement, and accepted the challenge to prove McD wrong for even thinking about trading him, maybe he could have learned better decision making and thrived under the New Denver offense. But honestly I don't think that could have ever happened.
Jay's ego drives him, it is not so much winning or success, but ego. The arrogance (even if its true) to say you have a better arm than Elway. He wants you to just let him go out and do his thing.
And unlike Elway, when his team is down he doesn't elevate them to success, he is not a come from behind player, he forces things that need not be forced. It worked out in the win against the Chargers in the first game of the season, but only after the Ed Hochuli incident, and even then it was a risky call.
All this to say, I like Cutler, and I Like Shanahan, I enjoy the style of offense the broncos have run over the years when he was our coach. I think they were a perfect match as QB and Head Coach.
I just don't think, regardless of the McJaygate trade talk incident that went down, that Cutler-McDaniels would have ever worked. And it's probably a blessing in disguise to find that out now, then halfway through the season.