In Defense of Josh McDaniels

Sara HannonCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, MA - 2008:  Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Now that Jay Cutler is on his way out of Denver, we have to look at what started this whole ordeal and why it ended in such a messy divorce.

Many people blame rookie head coach Josh McDaniels, but how can you? Maybe he didn't handle the situation as well as someone with more experience. But looking at their stats last year, you can't blame him for going after Matt Cassel.

Here's a few reasons why McDaniels should have gone after Cassel:

1. Josh knows Cassel and knows how he works. I would compare it to someone getting a new job and bringing their old secretary with them because they know each other and how things are organized and how they both work.

It's comfortable, it's a good plan, and would ease some of the transition from offensive coordinator to head coach, probably making life easier on the entire coaching staff.

2. Cassel was better than Cutler last year. The Broncos played in a weaker division, with the Chiefs and the Raiders, their only competition coming from the Chargers. The AFC East had three possible playoff teams the last week of the regular season.

Here are Matt Cassel's stats for 2008 and Jay Cutler's stats for 2008. You compare.

Cassel: 21 TD 11 Int and an 89.4 passer rating

Cutler: 25 TD 18 Int and an 86 passer rating

You might say these numbers are virtually the same, but again, you have to look at the division.

3. Finally, the NFL is a business. They are in the business of winning, and they have the weapons, McDaniels wouldn't have been a good coach if he didn't look into upgrading one of those weapons. He has to look at all the options before just taking what he was given.

So, if McDaniels was not making a bad decision in terms of coaching, then why all the drama? Here's why: Cutler has handled this situation as poorly as anyone could. In Cleveland, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn hear trade rumors every day.

In Chicago, there is similar QB unrest.

Even look at baseball, Mike Lowell was on the trading block because the Red Sox wanted Teixeira. They didn't get him, and Lowell is fine. All of these men take the trade talk in stride, understanding that it is a business, and their teams have to try and get the best player to help them win.

In fact, most of these guys take the trade talk as motivation, to prove to their teams why it was a good idea to keep them. That's all Cutler had to do. He is supposed to be the leader, and as a leader, you take the punches and turn them into motivation.

You don't whine, ignore the team like a 13-year-old girl sulking after being told "no", you understand its a business, and roll with it.

Jay Cutler would have had a great year under McDaniels, he's pretty good at offense, and he could have put Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to good work. Now I guess we'll never know.

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