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Skinny
09-13-2007, 06:31 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/broncos/2007-09-12-sw-cutler-cover_N.htm?csp=34

omac
09-13-2007, 08:16 AM
This is a great article with lots of quotes/insights. Thanks skinny! :beer:

TXBRONC
09-13-2007, 09:04 AM
Thanks for the read Skinny.

anton...
09-13-2007, 11:50 AM
that was a great read!!
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Lonestar
09-13-2007, 12:48 PM
Broncos bank their offense on Cutler's big arm
By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Jay Cutler rolled right, and with a flick of his rifle right arm, the Denver Broncos quarterback gave a training camp glimpse of the magic he can provide in his first full season as an NFL starter.
The second-year pro from Vanderbilt snapped a tight spiral that flew 50 yards down the right sideline toward wide receiver Javon Walker. Seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey raced toward the ball and made a leaping attempt to knock Cutler's pass away. But the best Bailey could do was graze the deep strike that dropped into Walker's outstretched hands for a touchdown.

Asked about how much he put into that eye-popping pass, Cutler shrugged. "I just flicked it," he says, smiling. "It was probably half my arm strength."

It says a lot about Cutler's decision-making that this precision hookup with Walker showcased as much guile as zip.

"If I would have set my feet before I threw, I would have given Champ a chance to recover," Cutler says. "So I just flicked it out there and gave Javon a chance to make a play. He's probably going to go up and win more than half of those."

It was a downfield dart reminiscent of a certain former Broncos quarterback, Hall of Famer John Elway.

"I don't want to start comparing him to John," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen says. "But Jay's got all those tools. He's a very good, low-key, intelligent guy. It's really just a matter of getting him on the field, letting him play and hoping he stays healthy. He definitely has all the talent and all the tools to be another great quarterback. But we've got a ways to go before we anoint him as another John Elway."

TABLE: Not measuring up to Elway

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/broncos/2007-09-12-sw-cutler-cover_N.htm?csp=34#table

Then Bowlen pauses and smiles, adding, "But he has the arm."

The Broncos' big-armed gift from the small town of Santa Claus, Ind., is the franchise's young face promising future playoff hope, a man who finally enables coach Mike Shanahan to open up his playbook.

CUTLER'S FOOTWORK IMPROVING


Cutler has instilled belief with his poise and skills, a stark contrast to the way his inconsistent and limited predecessor, Jake Plummer, raised doubt before finally being benched last year for too many ill-timed mistakes.

Cutler gives Denver a chance for more explosive passing plays and more points. The Broncos, who narrowly missed the playoffs at 9-7 in 2006, averaged 16.5 points a game in Plummer's 11 starts compared with 24.8 points in the five games when Cutler was under center.

Some would argue the best throw made by any Bronco last season was Shanahan throwing his young gun into the fire of a playoff hunt.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Mike Shanahan | Javon Walker | Travis Henry | Jay Cutler
Though the Broncos missed the postseason they went 2-3 down the stretch with Cutler, including a season-ending home loss to the San Francisco 49ers that knocked them out of the playoffs they appear better off today for having moved on to a more high-powered weapon at the game's most important position. Shanahan had to design a rolling pocket for Plummer, who was far more accurate throwing on the run than as a dropback passer.

The free-agent signing of tailback Travis Henry provides an ideal fit for Shanahan's zone-blocked running game. Henry, who gained 1,211 yards on the ground in 13 starts last season, should draw an eighth defender into the box, providing a buffer for Cutler while opening the passing lanes.

"When you look at him taking the next step, maybe it was a really good thing that he played last year," CBS analyst and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason says. "The situation with Jay Cutler is really, really fertile for him to have a great year.

"Assuming everybody stays healthy around him, Jay Cutler should have a breakout season."

A more creative Shanahan should translate to a more potent offense for last year's 25th-ranked passing attack. Cutler's arm gives Shanahan the flexibility to attack teams and jump out front early in the pass game; the Broncos then have the option of pressing the issue through the air or salting away games by battering defenses with a heavy dose of Henry.

"I don't know if there's ever been a better designer of offense early in games than Mike Shanahan," ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski says. "So I think Jay Cutler will benefit by the ability of Mike Shanahan to design those aggressive plays down the field early in games because he just does such a good job of film study before the game and game-planning with scripted plays."

The question is, did Cutler advance enough this offseason to have that playoff breakthrough come January?

"From someone who goes against him every day, he's really expanded our offense," veteran safety John Lynch says. "Jake ran our boot passing game. Jay runs a real intricate dropback system. His presence just expands the playbook a great deal.

"I like the way he's taken leadership of this team. He's not forcing it. He's being himself. It seems natural.

"He obviously has to do it on the field. But we're all big believers that he's going to."

Fearless foray into future

It says a lot that a highly respected quarterback guru such as Shanahan felt Cutler had a brighter future than Vince Young and Matt Leinart, Cutler's 2006 draft classmates, selected third and 10th overall by the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals, respectively. Shanahan traded up to grab Cutler at No. 11.

"You have to be fearless to play at Vanderbilt," Bowlen says. Cutler was named the 2005 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year despite toiling for the Commodores, traditionally the league's doormat.

No fear. It can be a good and bad thing in a young quarterback, which is why assistant head coach Mike Heimerdinger has worked all offseason on the clock in Cutler's head.

Get the ball out quick. Let your playmakers do their thing, and avoid taking a pounding. Cutler suffered a concussion on a second-quarter hit in Denver's loss to San Francisco last December.

Sure, there's pressure for Cutler to further blossom in his second season into the star Shanahan believes he can be. But it's mitigated by an upgraded supporting cast featuring Henry, veteran slot receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Daniel Graham.

Henry is the heavy-duty workhorse back Shanahan lacked last season when neither Tatum Bell nor Mike Bell emerged.

"He is a great back," Cutler says of his new backfield mate. "He obviously sees the hole and reads things a lot better than some of the guys we've had in the past. He is able to (pass) protect in the pocket and catch out of the backfield. He brings a lot of things."

Henry generated 1,200 or more rushing yards in three of his six seasons with the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee. Last season he averaged a career-best 4.5 yards a carry and had six 100-yard rushing games for the Titans.

With his combination of power and speed, Henry should open up the outside for Denver's super-sized receiving targets, Walker (6-3, 209 pounds) and Brandon Marshall (6-4, 222 pounds), who has been dubbed "Baby T.O" for the imposing physical skills reminiscent of Dallas Cowboys star Terrell Owens.

"We don't have to put all the pressure on Jay," says Henry, who thrived while playing alongside Young last season. "I take the load off of him. We've got Javon Walker, Brandon Stokley, Brandon Marshall and Daniel Graham. Jay won't have all that pressure on him the way Vince Young did last season when he'd take off running on third-and-8."

The idea is to have the offense run more through Henry than Cutler. When defenses creep a safety into the box, Cutler and his receivers will make opposing cornerbacks pay in man coverage.

"Obviously, Jay has a tremendous amount of ability," says fullback Kyle Johnson, a casualty in Denver's final roster cutdowns. "But you want to cultivate that ability by giving him some more time to mature. He matured tremendously last year.

"But having Travis and an effective running game, it's really the essential piece of the puzzle in giving Jay time to be comfortable back there and know he has different options and that he doesn't have to carry the whole weight of the team on his back."

Growing pains still expected

Still, it's only natural that Cutler will continue to suffer growing pains.

"Jay Cutler has a lot of talent," CBS analyst and Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms says. "I see it, and I admire it. But it's going to be a struggle for him. I don't care how good you are. Every week is a struggle in this league.

"Now we're going to see if he can go through those struggles, the ups and downs, and deal with them every week. You have to find out. But I think we know the answer."

Even before the 2006 draft, analysts such as Simms and Jaworski liked Cutler better than Young and Leinart before the Broncos swung their draft-day trade with the St. Louis Rams to get him.

Cutler, who passed for a career-best 304 yards in Denver's 15-14 Week 1 win at Buffalo, is off to a start that comeback maestro Elway would certainly appreciate. Cutler's 11-yard completion to Walker in the final seconds against the Bills set up Jason Elam's winning 42-yard field goal as time expired.

"That's the job of the quarterback," Cutler said. "That's why we get paid the big bucks."

Next up, an emerging Oakland Raiders defense Sept. 16. Then Cutler will face a talented Jacksonville Jaguars defense Sept. 23, followed by a meeting against the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. Denver hosts the AFC West favorite and divisional rival San Diego Chargers on Oct. 7.

"He is definitely going to hit some real rough spots," Simms says. "He'll handle it. He has the coaches who know how to handle it. And they're not dreaming. They know it's going to be rough."

Cutler was sacked 2.6 times a game in 2006. That's why Shanahan and Heimerdinger spent so much time polishing their young prodigy's pocket awareness. All Cutler needs is more real-game experience, because Heimerdinger says Cutler doesn't make the same mistake twice.

"I'm getting better on having the clock in my head, moving my feet and working my progressions," Cutler says. "I've got a lot of good guys to work with out there, Travis Henry, Daniel Graham, Javon and Brandon Stokley; it makes things easier. I know the protections. I know when the read is hot. I know when to get the ball out quick and get it in guys' hands when stuff breaks down."

Stokley, a former Colts player whom Peyton Manning deemed the best third receiver in the game, has been key in that regard. There's no one better to alert a young quarterback to the blind-side blitzes he figures to be seeing early on.

"We're seeing a lot more blitzes, and it helps us if I see something and say to Jay, 'If I see this, let's do this. Hey, if they blitz off of me, this is what I like to do,' " Stokley says. "They're those little things that win and lose you games that a lot of people don't notice."



http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/broncos/2007-09-12-sw-cutler-cover_N.htm?csp=34

Lonestar
09-13-2007, 12:48 PM
Pocket presence not a problem

Former Broncos receiver Quincy Morgan played with the Pittsburgh Steelers during Ben Roethlisberger's second season, when the team had that improbable Super Bowl XL title run as the AFC's sixth playoff seed.

Similar to Cutler, Big Ben has strong pocket presence and underrated athleticism.

"Jay looks a lot like Roethlisberger," Morgan says. "They have a lot of similarities young quarterbacks who have a lot of confidence in themselves. That's all it takes."

Morgan, who was let go when the Broncos pared their roster to 53 players, can see continued development in Cutler's game.

"He's been putting the balls right in the holes where they need to be. He's making the right reads," says Morgan, who cites a major difference between Cutler and Roethlisberger.

"Jay definitely has the stronger arm. You have to be focused with Jay. You come across that middle, and there's a tiny hole, he'll fire it in there. That's something you have to get used to. He guns it into tight spots. You have to really catch with your eyes with Jay."

Still, there are nagging concerns in Denver.

The defense is adjusting to new coordinator Jim Bates' more aggressive system. And Cutler's primary receivers weren't healthy for much of training camp and the preseason. Marshall missed the first two weeks of the preseason with a quadriceps injury, and Stokley, who made a quicker than expected return to the practice field eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon, was limited by a quadriceps injury, as well.

In addition, tight end Tony Scheffler, who emerged as Cutler's favorite target late last season, recently returned from a foot injury.

So timing in the passing game could be something of an issue early on.

But it should help Cutler that during two-a-days he faced arguably the best cornerback tandem in the game in Bailey and Dre' Bly.

Nickelback Domonique Foxworth gauges Cutler's progress by something the best quarterbacks have the cool to move defensive backs with their eyes and pump fakes.

"He's leaps and bounds ahead of where anybody expected him to be," Foxworth says. "He's looking me off and doing everything that you would expect him to do."

Progress is nice, but Cutler knows expectations are high in Denver, where it's been nearly a decade since Elway walked away after leading the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl wins.

"We all know what we're working for: The goal of this team is to win a Super Bowl," Cutler says. "That's our mind-set. We've got a lot of great talent. I haven't really set any personal goals, yards or anything like that. I'm just out here to win football games, get to the playoffs and see what happens."

Says Jaworski: "I think Denver might be a team that might be waiting in the wings to sneak up on people.

"We'll see."

Mike
09-13-2007, 12:58 PM
Those are both good reads, JR. Thanks. :beer:

Lonestar
09-13-2007, 01:18 PM
Those are both good reads, JR. Thanks. :beer:

Actually it was good find of the thread starter columbiaskinny. I just pasted into the forum so folks would not have to leave the forum.

Skinny
09-13-2007, 02:15 PM
Actually it was good find of the thread starter columbiaskinny. I just pasted into the forum so folks would not have to leave the forum.Thanks for that too JR. :beer:

I was gonna post the whole story but my ride popped up on me before i got the chance to do it properly.

We were running late already or i would have told him to hold on a minute! :lol:

Mike
09-13-2007, 02:23 PM
Actually it was good find of the thread starter columbiaskinny. I just pasted into the forum so folks would not have to leave the forum.

Well, thanks to you both then. :D

Watchthemiddle
09-13-2007, 03:18 PM
That was a good read and I like reading quotes by the defense.

After what Cutler sees in practice every day ( Champ & Bly ) he has to feel pretty confident going into Sundays and not seeing those two on the other side.

omac
09-13-2007, 04:23 PM
That was a good read and I like reading quotes by the defense.

After what Cutler sees in practice every day ( Champ & Bly ) he has to feel pretty confident going into Sundays and not seeing those two on the other side.

That's the thing with Cutler, and the sportscasters keep mentioning it. Confidence is something he never seems to lack, even after making bad plays. They said he has the swagger of a guy who believes he'll put up 30 points on you. Hopefully, he can keep that attitude. It's the same one successful baseball pitchers have, even when their on a bad streak where hitters are lighting them up. It's the same thing I think Champ has where he believes he's good, even when he's been scorched.

TXBRONC
09-13-2007, 04:38 PM
That's the thing with Cutler, and the sportscasters keep mentioning it. Confidence is something he never seems to lack, even after making bad plays. They said he has the swagger of a guy who believes he'll put up 30 points on you. Hopefully, he can keep that attitude. It's the same one successful baseball pitchers have, even when their on a bad streak where hitters are lighting them up. It's the same thing I think Champ has where he believes he's good, even when he's been scorched.

Quarterbacks and corner backs need to have similar mentalities. On the one hand a short memory about throwing and interception or getting torched, but at the same time they have figure out what they may have done wrong and then move on.

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