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Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Cutler has `little' chip on his shoulder from draft

Associated Press

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Jay Cutler doesn't take the insult too seriously, especially since it came from a cartoon character.

The Broncos quarterback was dissed by Stan on a recent episode of "South Park" when Stan said, upon being introduced to him, "You kinda (stink), but my dad said you might be good someday."

Cutler laughed at the comment Wednesday.

"It was cool," he said. "I thought it was funny. They can make fun of me if they want to."

After all, he has bigger scores settle, like proving he's the best quarterback out of the 2006 draft class. Tennessee's Vince Young (picked third) and Arizona's Matt Leinart (10th) were both selected ahead of him.

"I think everyone in the league has a little sense of pride, a little chip on their shoulder, when they get passed over by teams," said Cutler, who was taken with the 11th pick after the Broncos traded up to nab him. "I want to play well, but I have to move past all that stuff."

Still, he can't wait to face off against Young on Monday night in front of a national audience.

"Going against Vince, it's going to be fun," Cutler said. "It's a friendly competition."

The two had a quarterbacks' night out in October. Cutler, a Vanderbilt product, showed up in Nashville, Tenn., during the Broncos' bye week to watch a Commodores game and then went bowling with Young.

"He's a cool guy," Young said. "That was my first time even getting a chance to sit down with Jay, and just talk to him, understand who he is as a person. He was a good guy to meet."

Young and Cutler drew constant stares at the alley.

"We're just sitting down talking and watching the people walking by and saying, 'Hey, Vince Young and Jay Cutler are over there talking," Young said.

Cutler doesn't pay attention to the stats of Young. Or what type of numbers Leinart is putting up for that matter.

He just monitors how he's playing. Cutler has thrown for 1,882 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He's also been picked nine times.

"A few more interceptions than I thought I would," he said with a grin. "But I'm still learning."

In comparison, Young has thrown for 1,112 yards, four touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He's also run for 217 yards a two touchdowns.

Young is coming off a game in which he threw a career-high 41 passes in a 28-13 loss to Jacksonville. He finished 24-for-41 for a career-high 257 yards, and rushed for another 52 yards.

His career-high numbers definitely have Denver's full attention.

"He's Michael Vick now that Vick has left the league," cornerback Dre' Bly said. "Vince is very talented with his legs and seems to be throwing the football more now than he did last year. We haven't faced a quarterback that poses a threat like him."

Tim Crowder can't wait to get his hands on Young -- or at least make the attempt. Crowder was teammates with Young at the University of Texas and the Longhorns had one rule: don't touch Young.

"We would've got kicked off the team if we would've touched him," Crowder said with a laugh. "It was fun being out there with him. He's got a motor mouth. He never shuts up. Vince and I have been talking all summer about playing. It's going to be fun."

Since Cutler played down the road at Vanderbilt, the Titans knew quite a bit about him. On draft day, though, the team went with Young.

"I wouldn't have minded staying there," Cutler said. "I had a lot of friends and had a lot of fans. But it didn't work out."

In a way, though, it did. Titans coach Jeff Fisher thought enough of Cutler to give him a glowing review to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

Shanahan, who counts Fisher as one of his closest friends, took the endorsement to heart and traded up to draft Cutler.

He's been pleased with his young quarterback's results. Cutler has 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 career starts. He's averaging 205.9 yards passing a game.

"He's ahead of where I thought he'd be," Shanahan said of Cutler. "He's really into what he does. He wants to be the best at what he does."

The same can be said of Young, who's averaged 144 yards passing in 23 career games. The Titans are 13-8 when he starts.

"He's found ways to win for us," Fisher said. "He does not like losing. He's very, very competitive. He doesn't understand (losing), the concept is not familiar to him. He's a real, real pleasure to be around."

Kind of like another quarterback Fisher coached: Steve McNair, who's now with Baltimore.

"I had the great fortune of being around No. 9 (McNair) for 10 years," Fisher said. "I'm looking forward to having another 10 years if possible with No. 10 (Young). He's going to win a lot of games for us."

The Broncos have a similar confidence in Cutler. His teammates like his ability to let nothing rattle him. He's unflappable.

"He's not a rah-rah guy," Bly said. "He does his talk with his play. I feel like he's a Pro Bowler in the making. He's going to lead this team to great things."

Maybe then "South Park" characters won't pick on him.

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AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this story.