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Learning Curve - Jay Cutler

There is an interesting series of articles over at ESPN discussing the uphill climb rookie quarterbacks face when they enter the National Football League.  It talks about the 3 first round picks from the '05 draft, including our own Jay Cutler.  Here are some of the more interesting pieces in my mind -

When the chance comes, Cutler will be ready. He started all 45 games in his four years at Vanderbilt -- more than either Vince Young or Matt Leinart, his fellow first-round quarterbacks. And although the Commodores won only 11 of those games, the experience clearly accelerated Cutler's learning curve.

"Having to play against the Floridas and the Tennessees and the Georgias and the LSUs, it made me tough," Cutler explained. "It made me have to learn what defenses are doing and how to attack them."

Said Shanahan, "Coming in he knew the secondary coverages [and] he knew the strengths and weaknesses better than most of the quarterbacks I have ever been with."

No doubt that Cutler exudes confidence.  It seems many people focus on the fac tthat he didn't play at a big football school, but fail to mention that  Vanderbilt was in a big-time football conference.  The experience he got playing against that kind of talent, while not having that kind of talent around him, will prove to be a blessing in disguise for Jay.  Here's some more -

During a morning practice in August, it was obvious that Cutler wasn't quite ready for prime time; on several occasions, safety John Lynch sneaked in from the blind side and could have unloaded on Cutler. Still, for every misread and bad decision, Cutler would maneuver his 6-foot-3, 226-pound body away from the pressure and, almost effortlessly, flip the ball downfield to Javon Walker or Rod Smith.

"In my days at Vandy, things broke down from time to time," Cutler said. "They counted on me to deliver the ball, and most times I did."

"The quarterbacks that separate themselves are the ones that can get off balance and, all of a sudden, throw a 25-yard comeback," Shanahan explained. "You're rolling to the right and it gets there in a second. You know, not many people can do that, and that's what he's shown -- an unbelievable ability to make some throws that most human beings can't make."

I think it is obvious what Shanny thinks of this kid.  The future looks quite bright in Bronco land and I can't wait to watch it unfurl....