Heisman Pundit is questioning the reputation of David Cutcliffe. An excerpt:
[Is] Cutcliffe’s quarterback pedigree really that special? He gets credit for the Mannings, but both Peyton and Eli were highly-touted recruits and can’t miss prospects who really just needed to be managed properly.
Beyond that, there is Heath Shuler, who was the second pick of the draft based almost solely on his physical skills (he was an NFL bust), and Andy Kelly, who went on to a career in the Arena Football League.
Am I saying Cutcliffe is a bad quarterbacks coach? No. I’m saying that we don’t really know if he is as good as advertised, since even I could probably coach talents like the Mannings to the NFL. He clearly is good at not messing up players who are already on track to be successful. That’s often half the battle. That said, the last quarterback he coached–Ethan Flatt–was flat-out awful.
I don’t think Erik Ainge quite fits the profile of a player with an inevitably bright future.
A couple of thoughts:
- This analysis conveniently leaves out Tee Martin, who also didn’t exactly “fit the profile of a player with an inevitably bright future” and who Cutcliffe coached to a national championship.
- I don’t know anything about Ethan Flatt, but even if he was “awful,” one failure isn’t necessarily indicative of poor coaching: nobody could teach a lawn chair to play quarterback, for instance.
- There’s a lot of ground for success or failure between merely not ruining somebody with promise and coaching two No. 1 overall NFL picks and one No. 3 overall NFL pick.
- If the Mannings were merely “can’t miss prospects who really just needed to be managed properly,” and therefore don’t prove that Cutcliffe is a great coach, then why point out that Heath Shuler was an NFL bust? Essentially, HP is using both the Mannings’ success and Shuler’s failure as evidence against Cutcliffe. And by the way, Shuler couldn’t cut it in the NFL primarily, if not entirely, because of injuries.
Anyway, head on over and give HP the Rocky Top perspective.