What Cutler will and won't miss in Denver

April, 1, 2009
4/01/09
5:12
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Jay Cutler should be careful what he wishes for.

Wherever he ends up, Cutler might find it hard to match the offensive weapons he had with the Broncos. If he ends up in Washington, for example, he won't have the offensive line protection he had last season. If he goes to Chicago, he won't have the caliber of receivers he had last year.

Take a look at what Cutler will miss when he leaves Denver.

Offensive line: The Broncos had one of the best lines in the league last season. Cutler was sacked just 11 times, the second-lowest total for a starting quarterback in the NFL. His backup, Patrick Ramsey, was sacked once. The Broncos have one of the league's best young left tackles in Ryan Clady, who protects the quarterback's blindside.

Receivers: Denver has a nice complement of receivers in Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley, along with tight end Tony Scheffler. That group helped Cutler amass more than 4,500 passing yards in 2008, a Denver team record.

The running game: Denver routinely has a deep backfield and one of the best running attacks in the NFL. The running game always set up the pass in Denver under Mike Shanahan. New Denver coach Josh McDaniels will use some of what Denver used to do and some of what he learned in New England. Still, Denver's running attack should continue to be solid.

It wasn't all good in Denver, of course. Here are some things Cutler won't miss in Denver.

The trust issue: Cutler feels he can't trust McDaniels after the ill-fated Matt Cassel trade talks. Sources in Cutler's camp feel McDaniels is happy about owner Pat Bowlen's decision to pursue a trade and never really wanted Cutler. Those sources say Cutler could never feel good about playing for McDaniels.

The defense: Denver's defense has been a disaster the past two years. There has been some modest improvement, but the front seven is still underwhelming. Much is made of Cutler's 17-20 record as Denver's starting quarterback. But chew on this statistic: Cutler's record in Denver is 12-1 when the Broncos defense has allowed opponents 22 or fewer points. The one loss, to Green Bay in 2007, was in overtime. A defense that limits opponents to three touchdowns is not too much to ask. Denver's problem has been its defense, not its quarterback. Without Cutler, the Broncos may have trouble in both areas.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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