Much has been said, even more written, about the Jay Cutler/Denver Broncos rift. I know many of you have said enough is enough, to stop beating a dead horse. A big part of me agrees with you. In the end, however, as I began really thinking about all of this it occurred to me that I can't just wish it away. I can't stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and say "la-la-la-la" so that I can't hear or see what is happening to the team we all love. I need to talk about it, even if it is for selfish reasons.
When I started this blog, I said it was a form of therapy for me, I used the keyboard and screen as the sounding board my wife and kids used to be, or whichever wall, pillow or remote control that would get punched or thrown. Despite the fact that the number of people who read it and visit has grown, the core reason for this site (for me at least) is still that. A place to vent, in good times and bad. Such it is with the Cutler mess.
When it was all shaking down this weekend, I was in 'read and react' mode instead of 'think and process'. I really had no time to generate a real opinion on the matter. Even on MHR Radio Saturday night, I was piecing together thoughts, thoughts that changed with every news update. I wasn't ready to come to any conclusion, I just wanted to give you guys an outlet to talk about it.
Now a few more days have gone by, and more and more news and innuendo have been added to the situation. Everyone has given their opinion, everyone has chosen a side. You'll notice on this website there are no polls asking your thoughts on who's to blame, nothing requiring you to choose for or against anything. That would be divisive to the fan base and the website, and it accomplishes nothing. To that end, however, we all have an opinion, and this site was created and the community fostered, so that when times like this occur we can get through it together regardless of which side of the fence you fall. Again, I feel we have done that, and I thank all of you for keeping true to the promise you made when you joined MHR.
Now, to Cutler, the Broncos and where I stand. I'm a Denver Broncos fan. I am married to no singular individual on the team or coaching staff. Players, coaches, owners all come and go. The team, the orange and blue, continue on. Fathers pass it down to their sons, husbands to wives and sometimes the opposite. It is a way of life for many, and for most of us who frequent this website. It requires dedication to do this, it requires thick skin. It requires the ability to get kicked in the gut only to stand up knowing it will likely happen again.
I am looking for a little of that right now from the quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler. All of those things above can be said about the quarterback of a football team as well. They have to be physically and mentally tough. They need to have thick skin and take a punch to the gut only to keep on coming.
Most importantly, they have to want it. They have to want it more than anyone. That is the question I want Jay Cutler to answer. Does Jay Cutler want to be the quarterback of the Denver Broncos?
Many of you will point to something he said the other day, that he "hopes" he is the quarterback of the Broncos when the season starts. His actions say otherwise. He has talked about his relationship with the Broncos being damaged, saying that "nothing is unrecoverable", yet when the Broncos ask to meet with him he refuses. He speaks of being a leader, of playing for his teammates, yet again, his actions say otherwise. He has secluded himself away from the team, away from the complex.
I know his pride was hurt. I have said I would be hurt too, initially, but if I wanted to be there, as Jay has said he does, I would fight like hell to prove to the organization that they were wrong. I would show my teammates that I could take a negative and turn it into a positive.
Some of you are saying right now that it is easy to say that sitting here. Put myself in his position you say. I have, and the only reason I could think of to act the way he is would be.....that Jay Cutler doesn't want to be a Denver Bronco. Further than that, I'm saying Jay Cutler hasn't wanted to be a Denver Bronco, perhaps for a long time.
Maybe it is Cutler himself that is unhappy in Denver. He was drafted to be the quarterback of a veteran team, coming off a trip to the AFC Championship Game, to replace a guy who had won a lot of games and was a locker room favorite. When the switch happened, Cutler took a team that was 7-4 to a 9-7 finish, on the outside looking in at the playoffs. There are still "fans" that feel Jake Plummer should have never lost his job, some players too.
Since then it has been two more seasons without a playoff spot, including the way 2008 ended. There have been public run-ins with Brandon Marshall, self-comparisons to John Elway and a public rift with Phillip Rivers, none of which have helped the public persona of Cutler as a guy that talks an awful lot for a guy with no playoff games to go along with an under-.500 record.
Football is a team sport, and it isn't all of Cutler's fault to be sure, but he's the quarterback, and more importantly, quarterback of the Denver Broncos. There are a lot of perks, but a lot of downsides as well. Cutler has used this to make it all about him. He could talk about the moves the Broncos ACTUALLY made, getting Brian Dawkins or Correll Buckhalter. Instead he has kept himself in the spotlight by continually talking to the press instead of talking to the Broncos.
I'm not going to pass judgment on Josh McDaniels, nor am I going to insult Jay Cutler. More than words from an agent, or from Cutler himself, I look at actions. Jay Cutler's actions have said he is no fan of being a Denver Bronco. That is his choice, his right. The way this "issue" has been blown out of proportion tells me that Cutler finally found the vehicle to get out of town instead of the other way around. Perhaps Josh McDaniels sensed it.
There is so much we don't know, so much that is being reported from "sources". I can only give you my opinion, based upon what I hear from Jay Cutler, Bus Cook and the Broncos. Like anyone who has ever had to fight for anything they really wanted, if Jay Cutler WANTS TO BE THE QUARTERBACK OF THE DENVER BRONCOS, as he himself has said as recently as Saturday, then he needs to fight for it. Show the coaches, show the team, hell - even show the fans, that you want it. Go to Denver, learn the playbook, meet with the organization, get back to the business of trying to win a Super Bowl.
Do what you have been doing. Ignore the Broncos, stay home and wait. For what? I don't know. The next important date in all of this is March 16th when "voluntary" workouts begin. If Cutler can bury the hatchet by then, it will speak volumes. If he decides to stay away, his absence will do the same about what Jay Cutler really wants to do, what he really is about. If he wants to be a Bronco, if he does care about his teammates, then he will make the most of a bad situation.
Whether you feel the Broncos were right or wrong to have discussed a move is irrelevant now. It is time to move forward. If Jay Cutler wants it to go away he can make it go away. He can also perpetuate it.
Which side do I fall on? Whichever is best for the Denver Broncos. Jay Cutler is hurting the organization if he decides to stay away. That won't sit well with me.