Lots Of Blame For Denver Discord
Friday - March 25, 2009
The strangeness in Denver involving QB Jay Cutler and 32-year-old first-year head coach Josh McDaniels should not be as much a surprise as it appears at first blush. The Broncos, at McDaniels’ urging, made overtures to acquire Matt Cassell from New England. Since McDaniels intends to install the offense he used with the Patriots, it makes sense that he would love to have one of the two NFL QBs who had command of the system: Matt Cassell or Tom Brady. When Cassell went to the Chiefs, McDaniels was content to have Cutler learn his system and be his QB.
But Cutler felt betrayed and unloved, and went very public with his unhappiness. Even a meeting between the principals was perceived very differently by the camps. Could the Broncos have handled it better? Perhaps, but with Cutler’s behavior I’m not sure telling him about an attempt to acquire Cassell in advance would have helped.
And Cutler seems to have forgotten that players under contract in the NFL are essentially property, much like a blocking sled.
Strip away the fan adoration and the big bucks, and players don’t have a lot of options. And Cutler is probably damaging his trade value somewhat by appearing not to understand the realities of his situation. But a player demanding to be traded isn’t new, and sometimes it works because some clubs have decided that unhappy players can become a distraction and will ruin team chemistry. Cutler and his agent, Bus Cook, seem committed to forcing the Bronco’s hand. But Denver is not going to accommodate Cutler unless it works for them. This has the potential to be awkward and even ugly for quite some time.
I’ve argued with people for years who dislike the NIT tournament, saying its for losers and also-rans. I contend that it’s still good college basketball, and the opening rounds last week support my contention.
But even I have to draw the line with the College Basketball Invitational, home to teams not good enough for either the NCAA or NIT. The problem is that it creates an image problem for the fan base. And if you lost your first round game in the CBI, you open your program to seven months of unremitting criticism. It’s hard to imagine that Nevada’s loss at home last week to UTEP did the program much good. Certainly it doesn’t aid in recruiting, and who’s going to brag that they made the post-season when it’s the CBI? This tournament won’t be around for long.
It was interesting to hear corner man Phil Nurse admit to a violation in applying Vaseline to the body of Georges St. Pierre in his fight with Hilo’s B.J. Penn in an Ultimate Fighting Championship last January in Las Vegas. The heartfelt explanation and apology doesn’t change the facts: The rules were broken, and it casts doubt on the result. It’s quite possible that Penn would have been beaten handily anyhow. Certainly it was a convincing victory for St. Pierre.
But, at the very least, Penn deserves a rematch. There’s not much purpose to having rules if they can be broken without consequence.
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