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Jay Cutler has a Friend!

June 7, 2007

cutler_jay_am.jpgWell, what do you know…. Jay Cutler has a friend in the mainstream media! Peter Schrager over at FoxSports has gone WAY out on a limb for Cutler in his recent Power Rankings article. Not only does he predict a Pro Bowl appearance for Cutler, he also mentions an MVP award! In fact, he credits Jay Cutler with the rise of the Broncos to fourth on his Power Rankings. I mean he uses the term “Superstar!”

Now for the important question. Why is Peter Schrager saying this and not someone closer to home? Where are the local Denver sports writers and their predictions for our young QB? Do you think any of them would go as far as to predict an MVP for Cutler?

I guess it’s easer to find fault after the fact than to inspire hope for the home team…

Line Break

With the NFL’s opening weekend still a good three months away, it may seem a bit premature to put out our first NFL Power Rankings of the 2007 season in June. Training camp, the preseason, and about 300 previews praising the 49ers as “This year’s Saints” haven’t even begun yet.

Then again, after an off-season packed with player movement, coaching changes, and more disciplinary issues than a fifth grade class — we might as well sort things out the best we possibly can. If the NFL season were to start today, here would be our NFL Power Rankings. Agree or disagree, let us know how you feel.

1. Indianapolis Colts — Hey, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best. And until New England or San Diego proves they’re better than the Super Bowl champs on the field, I’m not going to crown them. Sure, Indianapolis lost a slew of key defensive players from their championship team last season (Nick Harper, Cato June, Jason David specifically). And yes, 2006 postseason rushing leader Dominic Rhodes is now playing in Oakland. But, the core of that Super Bowl wining squad — Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, the majority of the offensive line, Dwight Freeney, Joseph Addai, and the special teams unit — is back. Toss in sure-handed first-round pick Anthony Gonzalez and recently re-signed wideout Aaron Moorehead — and the Colts offense should be buzzing and clicking like it has been for years come opening day. On defense, Indy will look to fill holes left by veterans with a slew of young and relatively inexperienced players. That list will likely include 2006 third-round picks Daymeion Hughes of Cal and Quinn Pitcock of Ohio State. Sure, there are questions surrounding the Super Bowl champs. Is the defense TOO young? Can Addai carry the load himself? Are New England and San Diego as good as advertised? All will be answered over the course of the season. Just don’t be shocked when Peyton Manning’s playing for another Super Bowl ring come February. And hosting SNL by March.

2. New England Patriots — Just as everyone was fitting the New England Patriots for their 2007 Super Bowl rings and the parade route was being planned throughout Boston, a bit of controversy erupted out of Beantown this week. Disgruntled cornerback Asante Samuel announced on Monday that he doesn’t plan on attending the team’s voluntary mini camp … or training camp … or the first 10 weeks of the season. He’s holding out. Samuel was furious over being given the franchise tag, saying “I’m not coming to camp. I’m not showing up until the 10th week. I feel unappreciated. The way they’re treating me is just wrong.” The Samuel situation is muddy. That said, the Patriots’ off-season went unmatched as far as the haul they brought in. Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Kelley Washington at receiver; Sammy Morris at running back; Kyle Brady at tight end; and 2007 Defensive POY candidate Adalius Thomas at linebacker. The Pats have always been big on locker room chemistry. Do the new faces buy in? Or will the Pats implode? I trust Tom Brady, and will go with the former. But I can’t put New England past the Colts just yet. A date to circle? Nov. 4th. That’s when Tom Brady and Co. head to Indy to avenge last season’s AFC Championship Game loss. Cancel all other plans now.

3. San Diego Chargers — The Chargers’ Super Bowl dreams ended in heartbreak last year, with a slew of brainless plays and foolish penalties giving New England the opportunity to dance all over mid-field after an upset win in San Diego. San Diego’s roster remains pretty much the same this go-around, but their coaching staff is all new. Five of the top minds on the coaching staff of last season’s 14-2 squad, including head coach Marty Schottenheimer, are gone. In comes Norv Turner and a completely new cast of characters calling the shots. Personnel-wise — Michael Turner’s back, Kris Dielman was re-signed, Donnie Edwards is gone, and first-round draft pick Craig “Buster” Davis will join the re-signed Malcolm Floyd to form one of the more promising 1-2 wideout combos in the league. Did San Diego get over the hump this off-season? The AFC’s as tough as it’s ever been, so 14-2 will be hard to top. Come postseason time, the Chargers want to be the ones dancing on their home-field logo, not their opponents. We’ll see in January if that ends up being the case.

4. Denver Broncos — Denver picked up yet another weapon for their struggling defensive line by signing defensive tackle and all-around clog in the middle Sam Adams earlier this week. Adams joins a revamped line that has already added three draft picks in Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, and Marcus Thomas. In comes Travis Henry as well. A 1,500-yard rusher with Tennessee last season, Henry comes to Denver with a Pro Bowl-caliber 2006 season under his belt. But is that really enough to propel Denver to the fourth spot? A team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year? No, not quite. It’s the development of Jay Cutler that does the job. I see the second-year man out of Vanderbilt having a breakout season in 2007; the kind that puts him in the league’s “superstar” discussion. Cutler really came on toward the end of last season. And with Jake Plummer gone, it’s fully his team. Look for a Pro Bowl season, and quite possibly, an MVP year.

FULL STORY on Fox Sports

Jay Cutler’s Championship Background

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