Denver Broncos 

Broncos kick Cutler's Birthday into High Gear

It was Jay Cutler's 23rd birthday Saturday.

He spent it with family and friends at a downtown restaurant.
Then he was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, did a live interview on ESPN, and was set to become a multimillionaire.

So, how was your Saturday afternoon?
The Denver Broncos took Cutler with the 11th overall pick when the Broncos moved up four spots in a trade with the St. Louis Rams. It ended months of speculation regarding where the standout quarterback from Vanderbilt was going to be selected and who would be the selector.

"It's a big day," Cutler said. "It's a great team and a great organization. It's fun. It hasn't really sunk in yet."

Cutler's draft party at Judge Bean's Bar-B-Que began early, hit a crescendo when his name was called, and, it's safe to assume, continued well into the evening.

"We don't have to leave until tomorrow," Cutler said as he addressed the crowd. "So let's keep the party going."

Cutler will fly to Denver Sunday to face the media and meet his new coaching staff. But before that, Cutler's friends and family were Rocky Mountain high in Nashville.

More than 250 people piled into Judge Bean's. A band set up shop on the main stage, bartenders worked hard keeping the crowd hydrated, and a man who obviously didn't know about the party walked in wearing a Rocky Top T-shirt. He drew some stares, then some boos. And some chants.

Blue and white balloons flew outside. A satellite truck from ESPN was parked out back. A sign behind the bar read, "Join Us Here For Jay Cutler's NFL Draft. ESPN Will Be Here Too!"

About 45 minutes before the draft, more than 100 people were already inside. Cutler, dressed in a camel-colored suit and blue tie, already had an earpiece in, ready for his upcoming ESPN interview.

Fifteen minutes before the draft started, Cutler stood on a stage, flanked by two life-sized cardboard cutouts of him. He spoke into the microphone and said, "Check, check, check." Then, "Hello?"

And, of course, the crowd cheered.

"Hopefully we won't be here long," he said. "Thank you and everyone have a good time."

Less than 10 minutes remained before the start of the draft when Cutler disappeared. He headed to a private room with his parents, Sandy and Jack, and agent Bus Cook.

When NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Vince Young as the Tennessee Titans' pick at No. 3, there were cheers and boos. Some were from Cutler's former teammates, including Earl Bennett, Kevin Joyce, Matthew Tant, Marlon White, Steven Bright, Ryan King and M.J. Garrett.

Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson and his wife, Catherine, were also on hand, though they didn't do any booing.

"We're a quarterback school now," quipped Johnson, who was munching on a sandwich when Cutler's name was called. "It's proof that you can come to Vanderbilt, get a good education and still have a chance to get into the NFL."

The attendees started getting restless with the No. 7 pick when Oakland selected Michael Huff, a safety from Texas. Then came Nos. 8, 9, and 10. No Cutler.

Out of nowhere Denver traded up to No. 11. ESPN showed Cutler talking on his cell phone, drawing another loud cheer.

Would this be it?

Would Cutler go from hating Rocky Top to living on top of the Rockies?

"I knew probably 10 seconds before my name was called," said Cutler, who received the call from Denver Coach Mike Shanahan. "I answered the phone and everyone was going crazy. It was a relief."

Joe Sharp stood and yelled, beer bottle in hand. He was Cutler's first football coach, a self-proclaimed good 'ol boy who made Cutler a quarterback at age 9.

Sharp made the three-hour drive from Indiana to see where Cutler's winding football career would take him.

"Look at me," Sharp said. "One would think, 'What the (heck) kind of impact could I have on Jay Cutler?' But there was an impact there, with both of us. I love him like a son. From the first time he threw a pass for me, to the last time I ever see him ever throw a pass, it will always lighten my soul."

The partying and celebration quickly turned to business, at least for Cutler's agent.

Cook is known to have respectable relationships with NFL owners and general managers. His current clients include Titans quarterback Steve McNair and Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Cook said Saturday he has always had good communications with Denver's front office.

"They've got their job to do and I understand that," said Cook. "And they understand I have my job to do. We'll get it done, but it will be awhile."

Current Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is currently under a seven-year, $40 million contract that reportedly expires in 2009. Cutler said he has no problem learning from Plummer while getting comfortable with Denver's offense. Money, he added, won't be a sticking point.

"I'm going to work with them just as much as they want to work with me," Cutler said. "I want to meet in the middle. I'm not going to try and get a ridiculous amount of money out of them."

Still, when it's all said and done, the birthday boy is going to get some serious cake.

Bell signs with Broncos

Tailback Mike Bell of Tolleson, Arizona's No. 4 all-time rusher, signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos after being passed up in last week's NFL draft.

Bell, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, ran for 3,163 yards in his UA career.

UA safety Darrell Brooks also signed as a free agent with the Cowboys and will join them for minicamp on Friday.

Denver Broncos 2006 NFL Draft Review

1 - Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt (6-3, 226); 2 - Tony Scheffler, TE, Western Michigan (6-5, 254); 4 - Brandon Marshall, WR, Central Florida (6-4, 229); 4 - Elvis Dumervil, DE/OLB, Louisville (5-11, 257); 4 - Domenik Hixon, WR, Akron (6-2, 200); 5 - Chris Kuper, G, North Dakota (6-4, 301); 6 - Greg Eslinger, C, Minnesota (6-3, 292)


Analysis: The Broncos again went against convention, foregoing their needs at defensive end and trading up to take their quarterback of the future in Cutler. The first interception Jake Plummer throws in 2006 will have Denver fans calling for the rookie. Denver filled a major need by trading for Javon Walker, which overshadowed most of the rest of the day's draft news, but also added a solid tight end in Scheffler in the second round. On the second day, Dumervil is the name that jumps out, and his presence certainly can't hurt a team that was weak in its pass-rushing exploits last season. Marshall has a big body, and his development will be worth nothing. Kuper and Eslinger both fit the mould of Broncos' linemen, and will have a chance to make the team as backups.


Bottom Line: The news surrounding Cutler and Walker ensured draft-day headlines, but where is the first-rate pass rusher they so desperately needed?

One Pass To Mike Anderson

Gosh I think that ONE pass to MA worked pretty good.
I wonder what might have happened if they threw him a SECOND pass?
or maybe DAYNE, the best receiver of the 3?
I feel the defense was the reason we lost yesterdays game, could not stop the run, FAILED to put ANY pressure on the QB !
Jakes dark side performance did not help, that INT in the end-zone was the gunslinger Jake that many of us have come to fear.
BUT.... Our offense did score 27 points, even with a less than 100% place-kicker, it should have been enough to win most games.
Worst performance by our "D:" since Miami!
we threw the ball to a lot of different receivers ,Sunday.
A second PASS to MA may have made a difference, we will never know.

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos Defeat Dallas Cowboys 24-21
The Denver Broncos spoiled the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday for the host Dallas Cowboys, winning their National Football League game in overtime, 24-21. Ron Dayne rumbled 55 yards on the second play of overtime to set up the game winning 24-yard kick by Jason Elam. Denver now has an impressive nine-win and two-loss record with five games to play in the 16-game regular season. Dallas drops to 7-4, snapping a three-game winning streak. Earlier Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons had little trouble defeating the host Lions, 27-7. Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick threw a pair of touchdown passes to Alge Crumpler. The win pushes Atlanta's record to 7-4. Detroit meanwhile is struggling again this season, now with four wins and seven losses.

The Tailgate Party

Ok so despite it being like, "an integral part of American sports culture" and whatnot, I still don't get the Tailgate party. Outside of mile high stadium, before the Denver Broncos game, as I was walking from my car (I had to park about 3 miles away to avoid paying $40.00 for a parking spot), I passed countless parking lots filled with people outside their cars, but in the parking lot having a "tailgate party". So apparently, the thing to do before the game is to bring a little grill, some "lite" beer, a bunch of lawn chairs, and some Master P and go chill out in the parking lot hours before the game starts, drinking beer to get good and sauced up so you can then go sit through the football game in the red seats. Amazing. And the thing is, people come out here before every game.... sometimes up to 6 hours before the game, just to sit in the parking lot! Amazing indeed.
So the point of this is, I don't quite get the tailgate party. Maybe it's because itís new to me, being raised in Canada, but in any case, barbecuing in a parking lot before a football game sounds like the ultimate American mainstream cultural stereotype. That and eating chilidogs at baseball games.
If you have a different opinion on the Tailgate, or would like to clue me in, please COMMENT about it!


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