You don’t need to be an NFL insider to have heard the whispers about Jay Cutler’s leadership skills (or lack thereof.)
The issue went national, of course, during the long buildup to Cutler’s trade to Chicago, with Tony Dungy being one of the most outspoken people who questioned Cutler’s maturity a few months after he joined the Bears.
Those comments raised a few eyebrows considering Dungy’s relationship with Bears coach Lovie Smith, and now another coach close to Smith has jumped on Cutler’s behavior.
As pointed out by The Chicago Sun-Times, Mike Martz was critical of Cutler during his NFL Network gig, especially Cutler’s behavior in his post-game presser.
“[Cutler] just doesn’t get it,” Martz said. “He doesn’t understand that he
represents a great head coach and the rest of those players on that
team … somebody needs to talk to him.”
Jim Mora also slammed Cutler for “acting like he didn’t even care,” which we’re not sure is fair. Whether you like it or not, Cutler’s laconic demeanor is a lot more consistent than his decision-making on the field. He’s just not going to give fire-and-brimstone speeches.
Cutler’s attitude towards the press is a lot less interesting to us than his interaction with his teammates. There have been signs that Cutler wasn’t exactly a beloved leader in the Denver locker room.
Journalist Stefan Fatsis, who spent training camp in 2006 with the Broncos for a book he wrote, alluded to Cutler’s aloof nature in a recent interview with the On the DL Podcast. (Outstanding book incidentally.)
Fatsis had close ties with folks throughout the Broncos organization, and there seemed to legitimate questions from within whether Cutler had the “intangibles” necessary to lead a football team. It’s fair to wonder whether Josh McDaniels and company took this into account before dealing Cutler away.
Fatsis’ comments popped in my head when I read what Martz’s said. Hearing one coach close to Lovie Smith question Cutler’s maturity was odd, but two seems like a trend.
Brad Biggs of the Sun-Times said it perfectly: “At this point, it’s fair to wonder if Lovie Smith shares the same viewpoints as his mentors.”