McDaniels ready to move forward after Cutler controversy
By Sports Network
The Sports Network
Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said Friday he had no regrets about the way things played out with quarterback Jay Cutler, who was traded to Chicago on Thursday night after a protracted squabble with management.
Cutler was unhappy after McDaniels' failed attempt to land quarterback Matt Cassel in a trade with New England and communication between the Broncos and Cutler broke down over the past two weeks, forcing the team to make a trade.
"It could have worked out, but it was going to require a two-way commitment," McDaniels said Friday. "It became obvious there wasn't going to be a two-way commitment. It became clear it was not going to work out."
The Broncos announced Tuesday their decision to part ways with Cutler, who the team said had not returned phone calls over a period of 10 days. On Thursday, the Chicago Bears sent quarterback Kyle Orton, a 2009 first-round draft pick (18th overall), a 2009 third-round draft selection (84th overall) and a 2010 first-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round draft pick.
"There's tough decisions to make and there's some easy ones," McDaniels remarked. "If you're afraid to make those [tough] decisions, then you shouldn't be in this line of work."
McDaniels was Cassel's offensive coordinator with the Patriots last season. Cassel had a breakout 2008 after Tom Brady's season-ending injury in the opener, and with Brady set to return for 2009, the Patriots needed to deal Cassel, who was eventually traded to Kansas City.
Cutler was made aware of the situation and felt betrayed by the Broncos, who selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft. The Vanderbilt product was a Pro Bowl selection last season and was considered the team's quarterback for years to come.
McDaniels reportedly admitted to Cutler that he had pursued Cassel and that he was not apologetic about it. Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, then asked the Broncos for a trade despite McDaniels' attempts to reconcile.
"It was a situation where communication became an issue," McDaniels added. "At that point, it got progressively worse. I understand he wasn't happy with what happened."
Last season, Cutler threw for 4,526 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, but the Broncos dropped their final three games and lost out on the division crown on the last day of the season, as the team was crushed by San Diego to give the Chargers the crown.
Orton, meanwhile, had been with the Bears since being picked in the fourth round of the 2005 draft.
The Purdue product started 15 games in 2008 and got the Bears into playoff position with three straight wins in December, but a loss to Houston in the last week of the season kept the team from having any chance of postseason play.
In 33 starts with Chicago, Orton has a 55.3 completion percentage for 5,319 yards with 30 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.
"Kyle Orton is a player I've watched and had time to study some," McDaniels noted. "Kyle Orton's won in this league. He's tough. He's smart."
However, McDaniels did not anoint Orton as the starting quarterback.
"Everybody's going to compete," McDaniels said. "Kyle's going to come in here. He's excited to get to work."
The Broncos also have the recently-signed Chris Simms and last year's backup, Darrell Hackney, to compete for the starting job.