Jay Cutler knows it looks like he doesn’t care for Mike Tice, but according to him, nothing could be further from the truth.
Cutler told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that Tice’s background as a player, and the versatility that gives him, bought him a level of respect that previous coaches might not have enjoyed.
“He gets it as a player; that’s the thing of it,” Cutler said. “He knows what it’s like to be a player. He knows what it’s like to install, then get to the game, call a play and it not work.
“He puts a lot of ownership and accountability on the players because we’re the ones out there. He’s like, ‘Hey, if you guys don’t like this, tell us you don’t like it and then let’s make a change and figure this out.’ He’s really good about that.”
That looks like a thinly veiled shot at former offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who had a brilliant set of drawings and wanted to make sure the mere mortals running them didn’t mess them up.
“If I had to pick, if it was up to me, I would want control over and be able to do stuff and put in the best plays and be able to audible sometimes,” Cutler said. “That’s the fun part of being a quarterback. Going up to the line and be like, ‘All right.’
“It’s more of a mental game.”
Cutler insists he respected Martz, but that his former play-caller’s system wasn’t a fit for his personaltiy.
“He was just a different philosophy, a different mentality. He called his plays. And he was really good at it. He was amazing at it,” Cutler said. “He would put you in positions, and he’d say, ‘Hey, throw it here, in this coverage, and a lot of times it worked.’
“I just wasn’t built like that, I didn’t come up in the league like that, so it was a different system for me.”
The fact he can communicate openly with Tice helps, because it puts him back on the comfortable footing he had in Denver with Mike Shanahan. And he said that allows him to move past the sideline flap in Dallas, when cameras showed him walking away from Tice while he was talking.
“Even when everything happened in Dallas, and it got blown out of proportion, we were talking on the way home,” Cutler said. “On the bus, he was like, ‘This stuff is getting out of hand.’ I said, ‘I know. It is what it is.’ We were cool then.
“If you’re a player in the NFL, there have been times when this stuff happens, where someone yells at a coach, walks away from a coach, curse at a coach, tells them they don’t know what they’re talking about. It happens. It was one of those things that happened, and they caught it on camera.
“But literally, 10 seconds later, he came over and I was like, ‘We got to make that. We got some more stuff we can call.’ And he said, ‘I totally agree. Let’s go.’ And we moved on.”
Cutler’s problem is largely one of perception. He often looks like a jerk when he stomps away from a coach, and acts like one many times, such as shoving and cursing at his linemen. But he’s playing good football, and if those around him can work around that, they’ll all benefit.