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Published on 03/16/2009 at Mon Mar 16 12:47.
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Josh McDaniels (Reuters photo)

Josh McDaniels (Reuters photo)

The Jay Cutler saga isn’t the only questionable move under Josh McDaniels‘ short tenure. As CBS4 Denver’s Reggie Rivers reports, the fans aren’t alone in second-guessing this new coach’s motives.

Although the rift with Cutler is the issue that has drawn the most public attention, I’ve spoken to several Broncos players who believe that McDaniels sabotaged his credibility in the locker room when he cut long-snapper Mike Leach and signed former Patriots long-snapper Lonnie Paxton to a $2 million contract.

Leach has proven to be among the most reliable snappers in the NFL, and replacing him seemed completely unnecessary and out of step with the message that a new coach should be sending to his team.

The players who were drafted or signed by the previous coach want to believe that the new coach will judge them based on their ability to perform on the field. But when McDaniels got rid of Leach it sent a very clear message that no matter how well the veterans performed, the new coach would cut them and pay more money to get players with whom he was more familiar.

There’s an eerie parallel between the Leech-Paxton situation and the Cutler-Cassel fiasco. In both cases, our new coach was willing to move a talented player at a position that didn’t need to be addressed just to get a player with whom he was more familiar. Would you play for a coach like that?

  • http://N/A Broncos1

    What are you thinkin Mcdaniels? You cant let our future go away like this! I hope you have something up your sleeve. If not you better pack your bags soon.

  • Mr.East

    I think we’re blowing this story out of proportion. McDaniels has clearly stated that he never intended to trade Cutler. Whether or not thats true its not our ground to call him a liar or freak out. To do that we would be like Jay Cutler who in my opinion is tearing apart the franchise. At this point I would rather of had Matt Cassel over Cutler, who has proved to several fans that their good hard earned money on jerseys are useless. Jay Cutler doesn’t like you, end of story.

  • Mr.East

    But hell, at least he’s not Bobby Petrino.

  • NathanH

    God. Wasn’t the last topic enough McDaniels bashing? Is this really necessary. He’s our coach this season, and i will support him.

    I just read an article that Bus Cook is asking for a new contract. BIG SUPRISE. Cutler will stop bitching when he gets paid, and we’ll be fine, but i’ve lost respect for Cutler, no doubt. How can McDaniels respect him when Jay put his job at risk to get a bigger contract?

    This is all about how you spin it, and you are refusing to play the other, more positive, and more logical side. I understand we’re all pissed. Jay’s a great young talent, but if this is how HE’s gonna act, then get rid of him for the best value possible. No franchise is 1 player, the Pats showed that last season when Brady went down 5 minutes into the season and no name Cassell was able to carry them to a better record then we had. With a very old D to boot. McDaniels isn’t to blaim for any of this, if Bowlen was taking Jay’s side, I’d be thinking differently, but he can see first hand Jay’s antics for a new contract. Its ridiculous really. I really don’t even want to keep him or for it to work out at this point. I just want to trade his bitchass and start over.

  • BroncoinVA9986

    fire em them both….Lamont Jordan… Jar Jar Gaffeney and Paxton…ship them all away…

  • Mr.East

    Peter King reports the McDaniels still wants to talk to Cutler one-on-one.

    Looks like Cutler is full of crap.

  • Kyle

    “I went in there with every intention of solving the issue, being a Bronco, moving forward as a Bronco,” Cutler said. “We weren’t in there but about 20 minutes, [McDaniels] did most of the talking and as far as I’m concerned, he made it clear he wants his own guy. He admitted he wanted Matt Cassel because he said he has raised him up from the ground as a quarterback. He said he wasn’t sorry about it.”

    Quotes from Cutler, from the ESPN report.

    McDaniels admitted he wanted to trade Cutler, East. That alone makes me question his judgment to a considerable degree. The way he handled the aftermath has me asking for his head.

  • http://N/A Broncos1

    I hope we dont lose our PROBOWL QB that would be a shame, and even if they do meet there relationship is torn.

  • http://N/A Broncos1

    No QB will ever match Jay Cutler talent this day and age. How can McDaniels go and lie to the fans and Cutler, it was the most disrespectful image that has ever affected this franchise and the city of Denver. How can you deny it and then go along and say ‘yea wanted to trade Cutler’ Come on now, lets act like a Coach and say your apologies and move on!

  • Mike

    I don’t think the issue is about entertaining a trade more so then the leadership style Josh is displaying. It appears he is trying to mimic BBs style without establishing any credibility as a head coach. How you treat and mentor young players is just as important as how you draw your x’s and o’s. You should be able to replicate that wherever you go and whoever you have on the team. (Instead of trying to drag loyalty into a new environment) Looks like to me short cuts versus hard work. Here in Denver I hope how you do it is just as important as getting it done. I would think the tenure of our coaches prove that out.

    I think head coach came too early for JM- if it hasn’t he would already been addressing his errors. I think although immature JC is speaking with his heart and passion for the team. Something you want in a QB; and to let it go sour – sheeeesh not only do I question what are you thinking, but look at the message that has been sent to the entire team. If I was PB I would be stepping in and if JM resisted the feedback and mentoring I would eat it and move on. Because as Josh so put to JC hey do what is best for the team and to me that is keeping talent that is motivated and passionate about winning in Denver versus building a roster of comfort.

  • Joe H.

    Why would MacDaniels tell Cutler he is sorry for trying to trade him? The only thing he should be sorry about is that it fell through and it got leaked out(Thanks Bus Cook!!). Give me a break! GROW UP Cutler!!! I think if they trade Cutler they should trade him to S.F. for their 1st round pick and LB Manny Lawson. And then draft Stafford or Sanchez. Granted it will take a couple of years to get back to the winning ways but if Cutler is going to be like this than we are better off without him!!

  • Jason

    assumptions, assumptions, assumptions. We KNOW nothing. We don’t know who’s telling the truth, who’s lying or who’s posturing for a trade (could be either or both sides). Bus is trying to fix Jay’s image by taking on the role of “underhanded agent” which may very well be true also. This entire thing is about Jay’s pay check. The best thing the Bronco’s can do now is sit on Jay’s contract or trade him to a harmless team like the lions with provisions that they (Lions) will not trade him to any AFC team, period. This is minimally Josh’s fault and how is Josh being blamed for the Mike Leach thing, isn’t Xanders the GM? Aren’t those HIS decisions?

    That’s what I love about the media: it’s all BASED on a true story.

  • BroncoinVA9986

    I have major mixed emotions. These guys really need to work this out… we should do nothing with cutler but sit on him and make him play…The control is in the Broncos court…

  • Nicole

    Will someone please wake Pat Bowlen up and ask him to get his head out of the deer headlights and throw both of these guys in a room, lock the door, and let them have at it. Once that’s done… everything’s good again.

  • jcampb72

    I’m even more pissed about have McD as our coach. He has made unneccessary moves to flex his muscles. Sounds immature and pompous to me. I get it now, its not how you play its who you know. McD sounds like a new england creep just like belicheat. The only thing that can save his job and locker room is wins. Rome is Burning just called him a one year wonder. haha

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I agree on the Leach comment. There is no good reason to have done that to Mike Leach. The guy is solid, and it sends a bad message: “I care more about who I know than who can play.” That’s going to create a mediocre team.

  • daveb

    “In both cases, our new coach was willing to move a talented player at a position that didn’t need to be addressed just to get a player with whom he was more familiar. Would you play for a coach like that?”

    Answer: YES

  • Ian Henson

    I don’t think you can lose a locker room when there’s only literally 28 returning players, two of whom aren’t there, three if you count Casey Weigmann. Most of the team just got signed, they don’t even know any better.

  • inrodwetrust

    I think this article is a bit biased, you are taking this long snapper situation out of context. The system that JM is touting relies on chemistry above all else. I would bet that Leach was interviewed and did not fit the mold coach is looking for. It is not always x’s and o’s that makes a player, case in point T.O. We resigned Kenny Peterson and Brandon Stoakley did we not? They are the intangible type of player for this system. He is not just filling the team in with buddies, obviously time will tell if this is true or not. I am willing to support this new regime at this point based on the signing they have and have not done. So far all McD has done, that went wrong, was he exposed a weakness in our falling star QB.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    East you really need to get that logic circuit looked at!

  • Jonathan Douglas

    inrod, Kyle’s not taking the Leach issue out of context… SEVERAL players have brought it up as bothering them and Reggie has probably heard from more than just the few that have stated this in the media.

    It’s not about a Long Snapper or a QB, it’s the fact that Josh would rather pay more for a familiar face than work with the talent HERE. That speaks volumes about his low level of of confidence.

    I’ll say it here for the record… IF JOSH LOSES CUTLER AND HAS A POOR SEASON IN 2009 HE’S OUT BY NEW YEAR.

  • NJ Bronco Fan

    Ok, I’ve heard enough about the Leach bashing. Maybe, just maybe McDaniels had a great reason why he spent about $2500, 000 more per year for a slightly better long snapper? First off, the amount of money is not that big of a deal when you look at the entire salary cap. Second, Leach was the 4th string TE and I believe that Paxon is a backup OL. When it comes to a 53 man roster on game day, it can hurt a teams depth and flexibility if their LS can only do one thing (when was the last time you saw Leach make a catch as a TE? Besides, in NE did they ever use 4 TE’s in a game? Maybe Paxson is a quality backup OL who may free up a very valuable roster spot on game days. Maybe the coaches felt that Leach was part of the problem last year when Prater started missing a lot of FG’s from over 40 yards. Does anyone remember the “tuck game” (NE vs. Oak in the AFC championship game). It took an almost-perfect snap from Paxson to even give Vinateri any shot to make that near impossible FG that put the Pats in the SB. I was surprised that McDainels rushed out to get Paxson so early in free-agency, but as a fan I am willing to give him some time to show us why he made the move. Leach was dependable…but Paxson is considered to be one of the top snappers in the game. Our special teams is an eare of weakness, and maybe…just maybe Paxson can help the team improve in this area. We may be possibly losing our franchise QB, do we really need to keep complaining about losing our snapper?

  • inrodwetrust

    I just disagree that coach is trying to win the locker room by attrition. The context of x’s and o’s ability was out of place, in my opinion, since this is about building a new team around character and chemistry by McD’s own words. If you look at the Cutler scenario he obviously can play at a high level, but does he have the team first attitude? You only have 1 real example of someone who seemed good (Leach) that was replaced by a familiar face (Paxton), we don’t know how the interview went with Leach so hearsay is moot. If you take McD and X at their word that the Broncos would not trade Cutler for Cassel, and the deal was all wrong from a value perspective, then I would say there is very little for the players to be worried about. I would also like to point out that Tony Scheffler’s replacement was a former Bronco (Jeb), we brought in 16 guys so far and only 2 were on the Patriots last year.

    Plus I just read a quote from the denver post, Kenny Peterson said “players were eager to begin workouts this week for their new coaches”

  • Awesome, Austin

    to the question “would you play for a coach like this?” I would say “hell yah I would play if I got millions to do so, or even a 100k…what are you freaking retarded!”

  • Bronc0 Fan

    McDaniels is just the pawn, the owner is nuts! Coaching is a mature role and McDanields wasn’t up to the job from day one. 4-12 looks like the 09-10 best case scenario. Too bad. The team has great talent, was well coached, they really needed to learn to finish! But they look like a team that will need to start over.

  • Mr.East


    I think its ironic that Cutler is saying he can’t trust McDaniels but as fans we can’t trust Cutler.

    Cutler cancelled meetings and didn’t pick up Bowlen’s calls. Now all the sudden he says the Bowlen won’t meet with him and McDaniels doesn’t want to talk to him alone and he’s not “his guy.” That’s a bunch of bull. Cutler is waiting on that monster contract and that’s all he cares about. Cutler wants his payday and Bus Cook isn’t making it any better.

    Everyone complained that McDaniels didn’t tell Cutler everything and try to put things in the clear. That’s exactly what he did and Cutler still acted the same. I have no faith in Cutler I’d much rather have Brady Quinn who has proved the same as Cutler. Nothing.

  • Mr.East


    I haven’t really seen that several players have brough it up either. If you find some links show me… I get bored.

  • pwsbronco

    Just wish I could get all the info Mr East is getting that is so convincing and clear cut…As far as I know, all the info is coming from the press….. And when have they got anything correct….
    If that is where Mr Easts info is coming from all I can say is be careful Mr East, you may become just as credible as the press. Everyone just needs to move on and let this playout, we don’t have any say anyhow. We as fans are just deviding and picking sides against each other…. we lose as fans