DENVER -- There are no hard feelings in the Broncos locker room toward former quarterback Jay Cutler.
Maybe that's because the Broncos are 7-5, and their future looks brighter with the departure of Josh McDaniels and the arrival of former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox. But as is often the case, the players are focused on the here and now.
But Sandy Clough, a popular personality for 104.3 The Fan said Bronco fans have a certain expectation of their starting quarterback -- and many have fallen short, including Cutler.
"There's a certain bit of acting that a quarterback in Denver has to do, even if you aren't sincere about it," Clough said, "and Cutler seemed to revel in not cooperating and playing the part."
Clough also said recent quarterbacks like Kyle Orton and Jake Plummer also struggled with that requirement.
When the trade was executed, Clough estimated that Bronco fans were split 50-50 on it.
"Cutler's public image, off the field, wasn't very good," Clough said. "But those of us - and I was certainly one - who was a fan of his talent, defended him.
"In some ways, it was a fun debate to have, because the talent was unmistakable but so was some of the reaction to the off the field behavior."
But any anxiety disappeared, after Josh McDaniels -- the coach who soured the organization's relationship with Cutler and engineered the trade -- was fired after a 3-9 start.
"The minute McDaniels got fired," Clough said, "some of the fire in the debate about Cutler sort of washed away."
Several who played with Cutler, though, were gracious enough to chat about him. Here are some of their thoughts.
* Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey: "He was competitive, and he was very confident. I mean, he's one of those guys you like to have on your team, because you're not worried about him doing his job. So you just let him go out and do his thing." Bailey added that he watches Cutler, whenever he's in a nationally televised game.
* Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil: "He was a fierce competitor, with a great arm. Everyone knows that. He was a silent leader. I think he was highly misunderstood. But he was a great teammate, when he was here."
* Broncos guard Chris Kuper: "It has worked out good for Jay. He's playing well out there. He played in the NFC Championship last year. He's a good quarterback, so he was going to be successful however it worked out."