Before I do, I have a few final observations:
It became clear from the outset that "the coach" was determined to follow in the footsteps and methodology of his mentor, Bill Belicheck. While his take no prisoners approach was by and large applauded in media circles, only a relative handful of writers and commentators have been brave enough to publicly lay this egg at his door step, where it belonged.
The truth is that whatever his true role and motivations, he has made a bold opening statement to his tenure that immediately weakened his new team, the Denver Broncos.
Yes, I have heard and read all of the spin regarding how this move could be a good one for Denver:
- Look at all of the draft picks they received.
- Cutler was a whiner for even getting upset.
- Josh McDaniels is the second coming of Belicheck (who was actually run out of Cleveland on a rail in his first head coaching outing).
- Look at who he was throwing to! He put up those numbers because of who he was throwing to.
- The McDaniels "system" is so good, that you can put in any QB and they can still win. (Really? Whenever I heard or read comments to that effect, I couldn't help but think—McDaniels also had super strong Patriot Teams (Read Defenses) to back up that system. I'm looking forward to seeing this great system run with an average QB and the 29th ranked overall defense. Good luck with that.)
I'm just not buying Denver being better off without Cutler. Think about it—better off without the No. 2 ranked offense in the league, led by the third ranked QB in the league?
A Pro-Bowl QB at that? A QB who put up monster numbers and whose talent promised that with a defense strong enough to keep the other team from scoring more than 22 points, that he could make your team practically unbeatable?
Sorry, Denver. Sell stupid somewhere else. I'm not saying Jay Cutler was perfect, as he surely can stand to improve in his decision making and attitude as he matures, but that's exactly my point—he's a young QB, who will improve with more exposure and experience in big games.
There seemed to be a marked double standard in the overall reporting on this situation in the media in general. Even today, there has been relatively little ink given to how bad a move this has been by Josh McDaniels and the Broncos, as a whole. I can't believe that almost everyone agrees with the decision to trade the franchise QB.
It's almost as though McDaniels has been given a figurative "pass". By and large, the media seems willing to wait and see if the decision implodes in his face before demanding his head on a stick, while many articles referencing Cutler don't seem to carry the same wait and see theme.
Most carry variations along the following lines: "Cry Baby, Whiner, Needs to Grow Up, Won't Do Well in Chicago, Not the Answer to the Bear's problems...etc,etc".
I'm still wondering why it makes a man a cry-baby to demand that his coach and organization be honest and up front with him, and tell the truth and actually mean it?
Teams need their star players more than they want to admit it. Jay demanding (and getting) traded cuts into the core belief that management is inheritantly right, and employees have to "grin and Bear it" (pun intended!).
To my way of thinking, the Bears just got better. Much better. This is a team that won 9 games last year, with the 21st ranked defense. While at 21st, the Bears weren't much better than the Broncos were at 29th, they still have the heart of a defense that went to the Super Bowl a few years ago.
With a new QB, a new found energy, and a renewed defensive focus, I believe that they have another good run in the tank. If he's able to stay healthy, Jay Cutler gives the Bears at least another 2 wins on the strength of his arm alone.
So, I for one, am rooting for Jay and Da Bears this season. While both sides are claiming victory in this battle, it seems clear to me that the Bears got the better end of the bargain.
I can only hope that McDaniels, for the sake of his team, realizes that you don't need to be a dictator to be a successful head coach in the NFL. The Tony Dungy's, Jim Harbaugh's, Lovie Smith's and Mike Tomlin's of the NFL are living proof of that. Treating players like human beings and not like inhumane products can actually be a plus to a team, not a liability.
Given a choice between "my way or the high way," some players will now actually choose the highway. And sometimes, as in this case, I believe that the highway will lead to a better opportunity.