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Seahawks’ McPherson says talent was obvious when Cutler was a rookie

Updated: March 3, 2014 4:25PM



NEWARK, N.J. — Back in 2006, Pat McPherson — like other members of the Denver Broncos’ coaching staff — thought something great was in the works with Jay Cutler.

And McPherson, the Seattle Seahawks’ tight ends coach since 2010, would know better than most, too. Back then, he was a quarterbacks coach — Cutler’s first in the NFL.

“I hadn’t had such a talented rookie before,” McPherson said of Cutler during his rookie season. “I had coached Jake Plummer, who was kind of a seasoned vet, and I really didn’t get a chance to teach him a whole lot.

“I don’t know if I taught Jay a whole lot because he was pretty darned talented when he came in.

‘‘But I remember the talent level, and he definitely has a great mind for the game. I don’t know if I had been around a rookie who could read coverages as quickly and respond as quickly as him.”

Cutler started five games in 2006, becoming the first rookie in league history and one of only two players to have at least two ­touchdown passes in each of his first four games.

“Just a good kid, and he did everything we asked him to do,” McPherson said. “We didn’t have a ton of success the first year, but he was productive.”

With Jeremy Bates taking over QBs, McPherson moved on to coach tight ends in 2007 with the Broncos.

Two seasons later, coach Mike Shanahan was fired after 14 ­seasons in Denver, and most of his coaching staff, including McPherson and Bates, was let go as Josh McDaniels took over.

“Shoot, our whole group had great plans for [Cutler],” McPherson said. “I think in Mike Shanahan’s last year, our offense was No. 2 production-wise. He was throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and tight ends Tony Scheffler and Dan Graham. We were pretty good. I was pretty disappointed when we left about how much that regime kind of tore the whole thing apart.”

McPherson said Cutler and Sea-hawks second-year quarterback Russell Wilson are very similar when it comes to “just how smart both of them are” football-wise. He’s excited that the Bears, under general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman, have finally committed resources — and tons of money — to building around his former pupil.

“Oh, yeah, holy smokes,” McPherson said. “They’re getting pretty loaded now with Brandon, Alshon Jeffery and a good runner [in Matt Forte]. Marc’s doing a great job.

“I’m excited for Jay. I think he’s going to have a good, long career there. Obviously, they’re going to pay him a lot to stay. It’s just ­awesome for him.”

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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