In "Is Jay Cutler the Reincarnation of Jeff George?," a January 30 blog, I noted a quote that appeared deep in a Denver Post interview with former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer. "He's a great quarterback, don't get me wrong," Plummer said about Cutler. "I'm not saying anything to disrespect him. I think he's a helluva player. But Jeff George was a helluva player."
George, of course, is known by most fans as a player who did the least with the most -- an erratic personality incapable of winning consistently despite immense physical gifts. That's an assertion critics make about Sweet Baby Jay, too. But in today's Post, reporter Mike Klis, who's scored most of the scoops in the ludicrously immature faceoff between Cutler and new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, brings up George in a different, and far more unexpected, context.
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"Trade Cutler? George Deal in 1994 Provides Warning," Klis's latest, notes that in 1994, the Indianapolis Colts dealt George to Atlanta for three draft picks in that year's draft in the next -- two of them number ones. Afterward, Klis writes, "George wound up helping the 1995 Falcons and 1999 Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs," even though "he clashed with several coaches while playing for five teams through twelve NFL seasons."
Of course, George's two playoff appearances -- and quick subsequent ousters -- don't represent an incredible resumé. Indeed, if Cutler goes on to have a similar career after leaving the Broncos, most of the team's fans will regard the decision to send him packing to have been a mighty good one. In a sense, then, George's post-Colts career is less a cautionary tale about acquiescing to Cutler's trade demands too easily than it is an argument for moving on.
That's only true, however, if Cutler's temperament really is as dubious as George's, and if it prevents him from becoming the franchise quarterback his supporters still believe he is. It's too soon to know for certain if that's the case. But judging by Cutler's behavior in recent weeks (albeit in the face of equal stupidity on the part of McDaniels), the signs aren't positive.