I’m trying to find something wrong with this move. I don’t mind being that guy when the Miami Dolphins make a move that simply feels, smells, looks wrong. So I’m searching for what’s wrong with the team signing Jay Cutler to be its starting quarterback...
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Can’t find anything wrong. The Dolphins signing Jay Cutler is not getting a rip job from me. Not at this time. Getting Cutler and his terrible reputation for bad body language, untimely turnovers, and awful team leadership may show its warts in the future, but not now. Not yet.
The Dolphins indeed did a really, truly fine job getting Cutler to come out of retirement. It was great work by Adam Gase convincing Cutler to leave broadcasting. It was great work by Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier signing Cutler to a contract that doesn’t turn the Dolphins salary cap upside down for years.
And it was inspired stuff for one simple reason:
The 2017 season is still a go! It isn’t over before it starts. We’re not canceling. The Dolphins are still showing up.
There’s still hope and perhaps even some expectation that good things can and will happen. That’s what makes this signing feel right. That’s the thing that should make you feel good.
Think about what just happened and the notion the Dolphins can still show promise suddenly takes on profound meaning. What we’re talking about here is this team losing the starting quarterback for all of 2017 and within days of that happening, the ship that seemed to be taking on water and sinking last week, is no longer floundering.
The Dolphins by the comparative statistics have not lost any ground to anyone in losing Tannehill and adding Cutler. Sure, Tannehill takes fewer sacks and protects the football better. But Cutler is a better deep thrower and perhaps a bit more instinctive.
The point is the exchange doesn’t crash the season. Yes, this signing may eventually fail dramatically. Cutler might be a tremendous bust as a free agent addition. But we don’t know that today, right now.
And there is the exciting possibility Cutler might be as good as Tannehill and perhaps even a tbit better. That could be a scenario we’re talking about in November. Maybe the Dolphins did the unthinkable and upgraded when their starting quarterback went down in August.
We don’t know.
I know we would not be saying that if the Dolphins had resorted to signing anyone not named Cutler. Any other signing and we know that Matt Moore is the starter. And because Moore’s history is one in which he gets knocked out of games, we suddenly feel like the season is on the brink every snap.
Cutler is the starter. He’ll go as long and as far as he can. And if he gets knocked down or out, then the Dolphins can turn to Moore. Again, the season would not be lost because this signing helped extend it. Maybe helped save it.
There’s another reason the Cutler addition is impossible to criticize: The guy, for all his flaws, has something of a kinship with Gase. And Gase has a connection with Cutler. So Cutler to Miami feels like it can succeed at levels that perhaps Cutler going to Houston or the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills simply could not match.
Remember that Gase is pretty good at judging quarterbacks and working with them. They trust him. They buy into whatever story he weaves for them. They believe that he believes in them. And they perform better as a result.
Cutler certainly feels that way.
“I think he does a really good job of putting quarterbacks in good positions,” Cutler said of Gase. “He knows his personnel. He knows defenses, how to attack them. I think he does a real good job of being consistent with the run and the pass and not getting too heavy on one or the other. He’s got a good feel. I think play-calling is kind of an art form. It’s not for everybody and he’s got that feel.
“Adam talks a lot. He talks a lot in the headset, too. I don’t know. He’s always so supportive, though. I think that’s -- as a quarterback that’s what you know the most. He’s got your back. He’s going to support you through thick and thin and you’re always going to be in good spots.”
Gase is something of a momma bear with his quarterback cubs. You criticize one of the cubs, momma bear is going to growl at you. You’ll see that soon enough if things go poorly.
Right now, the coach is energized by the idea that his team is still in the fight. It still has a chance to win. And the things Cutler brings to the field is one reason for that.
“He can make every throw you want,” Gase said. “[He has] good movement skills, good pocket presence, knows how to adjust to offenses and has been in quite a few. He fits in well with what we do without us really changing much. He has a really good grasp of our scheme. It’s a good fit for us.”
That is impossible to deny -- impossible to criticize.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero