This should have been a great weekend to be a Broncos fan, but it definitely has not been. I don't want to belabor the Cutler mess much more, so I will try to work around it. Ready... BEGIN
1. Here goes working around it. Many of you are aware that the Browns' best player, Shaun Rogers wants out of Cleveland. I am not sure how many realize that there appear to be two reasons. He got upset with Eric Mangini for completely ignoring him at the Cleveland Sports Awards. Then, he got a letter in the mail telling him that he now had a target weight to be at, so get to being there. He is asking the team not to pay him a $6-million roster bonus, so he can go free. He feels disrespected, and he has a pretty good case to make to that end.
Then, there's Kansas City, where Brian Waters is upset because Todd Haley and Scott Pioli disrespected him, and Pioli reportedly refused to even speak to Waters. Waters has made multiple Pro Bowls and been a cornerstone player for the Chiefs. He is due more than a stiff-arming by Pioli and some unprovoked lip from Haley, who thinks it's really special that he isn't a player's coach.
Now, circle back to this Cutler situation, for a minute. Clearly, he has been disrespected also, whichever version of the story is true. This reminds me of what they do to you in boot camp when you arrive. I am a Navy man, but the term I know that they use in the Army to describe the first four weeks of basic training is "Total Control." Think back to the Parcells/Jason Taylor soap opera of a year ago. It's all about establishing the program and letting every person in the organization know unequivocally who is in charge.
Now, I am all about having a program, believe me. You do what it takes to establish it, and you put it in place. You don't, however, alienate irreplaceable players, and Shaun Rogers and Jay Cutler are pretty close to irreplaceable. Doing so is taking the concept a little too far. A guy like Waters, OK, I get it. Taylor, last year, represented the old regime more than anybody, and he was aging, so he made sense.
I still think McDaniels and Xanders screwed up in a big way, and have a lot of cleanup to do. I doubt that trust for them will ever come easily from Jay Cutler, and I think that this is going to be a mistake that keeps on biting the Broncos. In two years, when it's time to sign an extension, how interested do you think Jay is going to be in doing that? You almost never see franchise QBs get to free agency, because such a relationship-management effort is undertaken by every team.
Even at the Walmart of the NFL, New England, Tom Brady and RIchard Seymour get paid what they need to make, and they're treated like the special players they are, even if it's done in an understated and low-key way. We're heading toward Walmartization too, which we already knew. I just hope that McDaniels and Xanders get a little more deft at handling this player relations stuff.
2. It's time to stop the madness here. There is ample blame to be assigned to both the Broncos and Jay Cutler at this point, but a bunch of hand-wringing does the situation no good. Somebody said this was like Broncos fans woke up as Cowboys fans all of a sudden. Well, we can choose not to be. We need to hold the team accountable for causing this problem, and also hold Jay accountable for making it worse in the aftermath. What we don't need to do, however, is keep beating it to death on this site. There are a lot of sites which are populated by a lower class of Broncos fans, and trolls from other teams, which will surely love to keep the fire burning, but we can just say no. There will be a resolution, and all we can really do is hope that it is a good one. It's time for us to get back to being Broncos fans, for Jay to get back to being the Broncos QB, and for the team to just get back to being the Denver Broncos.
3. On to much better news, I'm pretty thrilled with the Brian Dawkins acquisition. Did you know that the Eagles have a fight song? It's called Fly, Eagles, Fly, and it's played after every Eagles TD at home. Do you know who has been leading the whole stadium in the singing of that song forever? Our new guy Brian Dawkins, that's who. It's totally corny, old-fashioned and collegial, but Dawkins leads the thing, every time.
He's a guy who buys into a program and helps set the tone for a team on the field. As a leader, he's once-in-a-decade rare, and the Broncos have never had anybody like him, since I've been watching them. A lot of people liked Al Wilson or John Lynch as leaders, but this guy is on a whole different level. Just watch this clip here. I bet you'll be fired up like I am.
4. I love the Andre' Goodman signing, and I especially love the price. $5 million a year on average is cheap for him, and I am sure the first-year cap number is lower than that. Believe me, this guy is a good player. He's not Champ Bailey or Nnamdi Asomugha, but he is good. I would say that he was one of the ten-best CBs in the NFL last season, and I have said that before. Just remember how well he frustrated Brandon Marshall. He was the #1 CB on a playoff team in Miami, and he'll be the #2 CB here. This is an upgrade at a reasonable price, and I am just as excited about this, as I am about Weapon-X.
5. I only want Derrick Ward at a pretty big discount. I think Peyton Hillis can be the #1 RB and do a fine job at it. He really isn't well-suited to be an NFL FB the way the position is mostly employed nowadays, because he's not really a crushing point-of-attack blocker. Also, the McDaniels offense I've seen doesn't make a lot of use of a FB.
6. All signs now seem to point to the drafting of a defensive lineman in the first round. I wouldn't be surprised if Todd McShay has it right, and the pick is Tyson Jackson, assuming BJ Raji is gone. He's definitely the best 5-technique DE in this draft. If you could get him in round 1 and Brace in round 2, you'd have to be pretty happy with that kind of talent infusion up front. Randomly, I had the price tag that Canty got exactly right a few weeks ago (6 years, $42 million.) These guys are just too expensive to sign as free agents, and he and Haynesworth were the only two who were worth it.
7. More and more, I doubt that there is a very good chance that Maualuga is the pick at #12. He seems to be heading in the direction of the bottom of the first round. I actually expect that both Cushing and Clay Matthews will be picked ahead of Maualuga, because outside players are at more of a premium than inside. Maualuga looks like a 2 down player, because he struggles some in space. I just think it's hard to use a premium pick on a guy who probably can't play on the defense's most important down.
8. I hope the JJ Arrington deal gets figured out. He can play the Kevin Faulk stab-you-with-a-dagger role in shotgun looks.
9. I really hope that Cleveland does release Shaun Rogers. THAT is a D-Lineman I'd pay big bucks for. Very few have ever been able to dominate a game like he can. When he is motivated and on his game, he can't be blocked.
Have a great week, and I'm sure I'll find a reason or two to be interjecting as it goes on. I got promoted recently at work, and I will be in training with the outgoing lady all week; so there will probably be less Ted than usual. Even if it's not happening here, you can believe that I'll be keeping it Shallow and Nearsighted somewhere.