By Tony Moss, NFL Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With Brett Favre piloting a tractor on his Mississippi farm, there had been a void where some good, perfectly needless offseason quarterback controversy was supposed to be.
Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos to the rescue.
By now, you know that Cutler and new Denver head coach Josh McDaniels are embroiled in the kind of match that typically ends with a yellowed sidewalk.
It seems that Cutler, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 Draft, is angry because McDaniels and the first-year Broncos brain trust had actively sought a trade for the Patriots' Matt Cassel, prior to Cassel ending up in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago.
More recently, Cutler told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that, in what was purported to be an "airing of grievances" make-up session between the quarterback and his would-be boss, McDaniels antagonized the 2009 Pro Bowler and displayed what was relayed as an "I can get rid of anyone I want" sort of attitude.
The tense meeting led Cutler to avoid the start of the team's offseason program, and led he and agent Bus Cook to make a firm trade demand of the Broncos.
Here's my assessment of the situation: what a bunch of freakin' babies.
Let's start with McDaniels, the 32-year-old head coach who is already on shaky ground with Denver's rabid fan base due to his handling of the situation.
Yes, the former Patriots offensive coordinator is well within his rights to seek out the services of any player he thinks can best lead his team to victory, at the expense of any other player on the roster. And, though most of the thinking world would assess Cutler to be a superior talent to Cassel, most of Denver's offseason moves to date have had "system" written all over them, and replacing Cutler with Cassel would have been reflective of this approach.
But once the Cassel deal fell through, McDaniels should have played damage control. He should have re-assured Cutler, both publicly and face-to-face, that the staff believed he was a good player who could be a winner in a Broncos uniform, and that his dalliance with Cassel had more to do with scheme than talent.
Instead, because he spent so long on the shelf of the "jerk store" that is the Bill Belichick regime in New England, McDaniels decided to be a tough guy and assert his authority instead of doing what was in the best interests of his player and team. You can get away with this "my way or the highway" tack if you're Belichick or Bill Parcells, i.e. a revered head coach who has won something in his career.
Instead, McDaniels comes off looking immature and unstable, and we're still almost six months from the first meaningful snap of the new era.
While we're on the subject of the Broncos organization, let's give team owner Pat Bowlen a mighty whack on the wrist as well.
When the latest Cutler/McDaniels episode began simmering this past weekend, Bowlen was quoted as saying, "we might lose our star quarterback," as if he was standing along the St. Patrick's Day parade route, watching a float go by, with no way to stop it.
Bowlen doesn't want to step on McDaniels' toes, but as someone who might ultimately lose a couple of dollars over these two second-grade girls pulling one another's hair, shouldn't Bowlen step in and recommend a reasonable course of action?
Then there is Cutler's handling of the situation, which shows a little less self-awareness than you might expect from a Vanderbilt alum.
According to si.com's Peter King, Cutler had previously asked for a trade, when the team failed to bring back quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. If you believe that story, Cutler has now demanded a trade on two occasions.
Who does this guy think he is? Apparently, someone who has won something as an NFL quarterback.
Just because Cutler has been better than fellow '06 first-rounders Vince "Take Me Out" Young and Matt "Partyboy" Leinart doesn't put him in a position to be making demands like he's Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. The guy has made one Pro Bowl, and even the least objective Broncos fan in the universe knows that the Chargers' Philip Rivers deserved to go before him this past season.
When McDaniels was hired, Cutler's first thought should not have been, "Uh-oh, this guy might not stroke my ego like Shanahan did." It should have been, "Wow, this guy has been part of a pretty good operation in New England, one that beat me 41-7 this past fall, and maybe we can help each other."
As it is, Cutler looks like a whining baby who values being treated like a superstar above being in a place where he might win some football games.
If you'd rather be in Detroit surrounded by sycophants than playing in Denver where you might win but will be forced to prove yourself, you have shown your true colors.
If this situation keeps traveling in a similar direction, Cutler's colors might not be orange, blue, and white for much longer.
And that would be to the detriment of both player and team.
03/17 13:50:18 ET