- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler provided a glimpse Wednesday into three of the candidates in the club's search for a new head coach to replace Lovie Smith, based on prior experience with the trio of Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman and Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
Expressing confidence in general manager Phil Emery's ability to get "the right candidates in there," Cutler indicated during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000 that he liked the idea of getting "as much information as possible" during this search that now includes a known
13 potential head coaches.
"The list is long, but like I was thinking about this morning: This is a billion-dollar industry," Cutler said. "Why not get as much information as possible and find the best candidates, talk to as many people as you can. At the end of the day, whomever Phil hires, that's his responsibility. If it doesn't work out, they're gonna turn to Phil and say, 'Hey, why did we hire this guy?'"
Having worked with three of the candidates -- briefly in two instances -- Cutler broke down McCoy, Dennison and Trestman. The Bears interviewed McCoy in Denver on Sunday and plan to meet with Trestman.
The club's interview with Dennison is set for Friday in Houston, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Having worked in Denver with Cutler, receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, Dennison "is one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL," Cutler said.
"Great guy off the field, very, very smart, intellectual guy," he added. "He interviewed last year for a couple of spots. He's gonna get a head coaching job at some point in his career. I'm certain about that. Great candidate. I have a lot of respect for him."
McCoy joined the Broncos as quarterbacks coach in 2009 from Carolina, but never received an opportunity to work with Cutler, who was jettisoned to Chicago in a trade prior to the start of that season.
During what turned out to be a tempestuous offseason in Denver, Cutler said he met with McCoy only briefly. McCoy worked one season in Denver with Marshall after Cutler's departure.
"I think we had only two meetings together, and then they kicked me out," Cutler joked. "I was meeting with (former head coach) Josh
(McDaniels) for the most part. I know I met with (McCoy) once, maybe twice briefly. It was early still. I guess it was March, and then I was gone."
Despite their brief interaction Cutler said, "I liked Mike (McCoy). Coming from Carolina, (he) knows a lot about football. Obviously he's very flexible with being able to make it happen with Kyle Orton, and then (Tim) Tebow and now Peyton (Manning); three very different quarterbacks, three very different systems. They've found ways to make it work, so there's something to be said about that."
Trestman, meanwhile, prevents arguably the most intriguing possibility for the team's head coaching position. A long-time NFL assistant, Trestman has spent the past five seasons coaching in the CFL, leading the Alouettes to three appearances in the Grey Cup, including consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, in addition to being named the league's coach of the year (2009).
Considered a quarterback guru, Trestman worked with Cutler and backup Jason Campbell prior to their respective drafts. Trestman has also worked on staffs tutoring quarterbacks such as Steve Young, Rich Gannon, and Bernie Kosar, in addition to serving in 2007 as a consultant for the New Orleans Saints.
Cutler worked with Trestman before he came into the NFL, "kind of before you know what you like and what you don't like," indicating it would be "not really fair for me" to give real assessment of the coach.
"I enjoyed my time with him," Cutler said. "But I don't know what system he does. He's been up in Canada, but been very successful everywhere he's been."
The Bears finished the 2012 season ranked No. 28 in passing with the quarterback hitting 58.8 percent of his attempts for 3,033 yards and
19 touchdowns to go with 14 interceptions. Cutler said he won't give any input during the coaching search, but if asked by the team would sit down with any of the finalists for the job.
Cutler also considers himself an asset to any potential head coach eyeing the Bears.
"I think there are a lot of assets with this team," he said. "I look at myself as an asset."
Cutler added that any new coach joining the Bears "has to kind of put his ego at the door and say, 'Hey, I like this type of offense. Let's see if we can't mold around to it. If not, let's make the adjustments we're gonna make.'"
Asked whether the offensive personnel on hand can be mold molded to fit a different style, Cutler said, "I think that's gonna be up to Phil and whoever the coach is. They're gonna come in and say 'We want to run this system. These guys work. These guys don't work.' Maybe I'm on the list of 'don't work.' You just don't know. There's a lot of uncertainty there."
Cutler also disputed the perception nationally that he's a "coach killer." During the CBS pregame show "NFL Today" last Sunday, analyst Shannon Sharpe said "I do not believe (Cutler) is a leader of men. He's a quarterback, not a leader; and there's a difference."
Asked if he was saying Cutler is a coach killer, Sharpe nodded his head.
"They don't know the situation I've been in here," Cutler said. "They sit in front of a camera and they make broad accusations, broad strokes. That's their job. I'd love to do what they do. There are no repercussions for anything that they say. They just run their mouths.
"It bothers you, but there's really not much you can do. I worry about the city of Chicago. I don't think people in Chicago believe that, and that's really all that bothers me."
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