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The Day After -- Thoughts on what comes next

In true Ted Bartlett fashion, I have some random thoughts flying around my head that I need to expunge, and fast.  Thanks in advance for humoring me.

Milehighreport_small_mediumLet's start with Mark Kiszla's article.  I actually read it last night and had to email Kis to let him know how 100% accurate I thought it was.  I rarely, if ever, reach out to the media guys, but for all the criticism they get I felt some kudos were in order.  Here is just an excerpt --

But let's not pretend the Broncos are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, as Shanahan did for far too long after his team had slipped from elite status. Serious rebuilding has begun in Denver.

McDaniels might be only 32, but the brash coach has the championship experience to understand the cold, cruel truth: The lone way to win big in the NFL is to put the needs of the team before individual desires and personal feelings.

Cutler never got it.

In the end, Cutler failed to grasp what it meant to be the quarterback in Denver, where every rousing fourth-quarter comeback, every spat with the boss and every little thing matters way too much in a city of Broncomaniacs.

The power of being Denver's quarterback is in the job, not the name on the back of the jersey.

That's why Cutler, who believed losing a confidant on the coaching staff or being misled about a proposed trade was more important than acting like a leader during his personal melodrama, had to go in a trade to Chicago.

And that's why the Broncos are better off without Cutler, after dealing their disgruntled star to Chicago for the complete unknown of the 18th and 84th choices later this month in the NFL draft, plus a first-round pick in 2010 and Orton.

Please remember: Cutler demanded this trade. McDaniels called his bluff.

There's more, so I suggest reading it.

Milehighreport_small_mediumDespite the attempts of anyone and everyone, everywhere, we really won't know who the 'winner' or 'loser' of this trade is until a couple of years have passed.  With all the draft picks the Broncos have gained, they have a unique opportunity, especially in this day and age where draft picks are gold, to get the holes on the team fixed alot faster than would have been possible before. Denver now possesses 5 of  the top-84 picks in this year's draft. 

Think about that.  Let's say I'm right, and the Broncos won't trade up to get a QB.  Think about who they can get.  The defense could get fixed, and fast!

Milehighreport_small_medium Don't think for a second that the Broncos need to trade up to get a quarterback.  Remember what Josh McDaniels has done in the past with 6th-Round (Brady) and 7th-Round (Cassel) quarterbacks.  He has a system, and he will find a quarterback that runs that system most efficiently. 

By bringing in two quarterbacks that have started in the NFL, McDaniels has done exactly what he wanted to do - create competition all over the football field.  Team first, no one is replaceable.  You can say Patriots-Way, but it goes deeper than that.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have been doing that for a long time as well.

Don't confuse that thought with coming in and running the starting quarterback out of town.  The point is, there is a message and that message applies to everyone, no matter who it is. See Kiszla's article.

Milehighreport_small_mediumI always say I am not big into stats, but many of you are; so, I will humor you a bit with some.  First, obviously, we have had the W/L records for Cutler(17-19) and Orton drilled into our heads(21-12).  I know, Cutler is actually 17-20, but I give him a reprieve on the Detroit game since he got hurt very early on. 

We have also heard that Cutler is 13-1 when the defense gave up fewer than 21 points. Here is some more for you,use it however you'd like --

In 2008, the Broncos gave up 22+ points 11 times.  In those 11 games, Jay Cutler threw 18 picks and fumbled the ball away 2 times.  That is 20 turnovers. 

In games where the defense has given up 23+ points, the Broncos offense has averaged 19.2 points.  That says that the offense struggles when the defense, on paper at least, hasn't played well. 

Milehighreport_small_mediumIt has been my assertion all along (the MHR Radio archives are there for you) that Cutler didn't handle adversity very well.  Case in point, the Kansas City game.  Clifford Russell makes a mistake on a pass route, leading to an incompletion.  Cutler berates Russell as they come off the field.  Cutler, still boiling over the Russell miscue throws 2 INTs on his next 4 passes.  The Broncos go on to lose the game.  All Cutler's fault?  Of course not.  His teammates see how he handles situations like that, however, and as the guy with his hands on the ball more than anyone, his impact is greater than anyone's.

That said, there are no more excuses for Jay Cutler to use.  He is playing for his hometown team.  He will be teamed up with 2 former college teammates (Earl Bennett and Chris Williams), and a stud (Matt Forte) in the backfield.  And he's got the vaunted Bears defense.  He HAS to win.  Right?  For the first time in his college and pro career he will have the pressure to win RIGHT NOW, no questions asked.  He didn't HAVE to win at Vandy, and every misstep in Denver has been explained away by age, inexperience and a lack of support around him. 

Milehighreport_small_mediumAs for the Broncos, everything coming out of Chicago and Tampa about the two QBs the Broncos have acquired has been positive.  I'm not saying Kyle Orton is anywhere close to being as physically gifted as Jay Cutler.  What I am saying is that a lot of guys make up for physical gifts with immeasurables and intangibles.  That is the NFL of today, not the gun-slinging-Brett Favre NFL of the past.

Let me go "to battle" with guys around me that are going to do whatever it takes to win, stats be damned, QB rating be damned, media attention be damned.  Sure, you want to call Chris Simms "Spleen," but just remember how that spleen got ruptured.  It got ruptured because Simms was getting killed trying to win a football game. 

No, I won't say either Simms or Orton are the answer, but they have guts, and they have heart, and they will do WHATEVER IT TAKES.  That is one helluva start.

Milehighreport_small_mediumI said it last night, but I highly suggest trying to watch the Josh McDaniels presser today at 11AM mst.  We'll have an open thread here, but will be streaming it live.