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Peter King on D&H: Jay Cutler is not very well liked in the league

01.28.11 at 2:03 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports NFL reporter Peter King made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday to talk about the latest news around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The Titans’ decision to fire Jeff Fisher with one year left on his contract was a surprise to many, but King said it makes sense for owner Bud Adams if he did not plan to give Fisher an extension.

“If you look at the Tennessee Titans right now, they’re fated to have the kind of year ‘€” if there’s a normal NFL season in 2011 ‘€” that the Carolina Panthers have just gone through, if Fisher had stayed ‘€” lame duck coach, no starting quarterback, problems all over the roster as far as depth and ability go,” he said. “That’s a bad team right now. So, first of all, if you’re Bud Adams, why do you want Jeff Fisher to be a lame duck? Why can’t you start your rebuilding process right now? You look at it right now, it makes a lot of sense. But that assumes you can get a coach you really like. ‘€¦ I just think you’re better off trying to start anew when you know ‘€” or you’re almost positive ‘€” that Jeff Fisher is not returning in 2012. Why wait?”

One of the likely candidates for the Titans opening is Dom Capers, who is earning high praise for his work as Packers defensive coordinator, two seasons removed from his stint as Patriots assistant. King was asked why Capers spent a season in New England.

“I think Belichick has often times in his career, both with players and coaches, brought in people who may not necessarily be a great fit to their team,” King said. “And I talk about Randy Moss, maybe, as one of them. And Dom Capers is another. They may not fit exactly what they do. But Belichick is going to be a guy who’s going to want great players and great coaches around him.”

Asked for his Super Bowl prediction, King said: “I like Pittsburgh” by a score of 33-27. He also compared Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to Bill Belichick in the way they both command the respect of their team without raising their voice.

“He has that team ‘€” and I don’t want to say this in a nasty way ‘€” he’s got that team by the throat,” King said. “There’s no doubt out on that field who’s the boss, who runs it and who they’re all listening to. And he’s not one of these guys who screams a lot, at all. I remember watching the Patriots in that Super Bowl week with the Rams, and Bill Belichick in six hours ‘€” and I wrote this ‘€” never once raised his voice. And yet, when he was around, it was very, very clear that the man is here. The man’s in town. And it’s the same thing with Tomlin. He goes from person to person in practice, talking to everybody, laughing, just doing a few teaching moments on defense during a practice. And you can just tell that he’s got his finger on the pulse of his team, completely.”

King also said Tomlin is a better tactician than people give him credit for, and he added: “The one other factor about him is that he’s young, the players relate to him, the players feel that they can tell him anything. He has an open-door policy in his office. And there is a no-b.s. zone around the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can tell you that. I mean, he catches guys and goes right back at them. From [Ben] Roethlisberger to the lowest guy on the team: ‘You are not getting away with anything.’ So, I just think he’s the right coach for that team at this time.”

Touching on the Jay Cutler controversy, King said: “There’s no question in my mind that Cutler was limited and was not going to be able to be himself and wasn’t going to be totally right. No question about it. However, I think there are more than 10 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, including the one who plays in this town, who would not have come out of the game. They would have said, ‘Tape it up as tight as you can, and put a knee brace on ‘€” do something ‘€” but I’m playing in this game.”

Added King: “Am I saying he should have played? No. I’m not saying he should have played. What I’m saying is there are players who would have played with what Jay Cutler had.”

Asked if he was questioning Cutler’s toughness, King said: “Yeah, a little bit. But I have to say, without any question, we’re not in his body. We can’t tell. You’re asking me if I question his toughness. And the answer is yes, I question it. But I think it’s natural to question it when you have players out there who are saying, in essence, that, ‘I would have played with that.’ And I think a lot of them would have.”

King acknowledged Cutler’s personality may have played a role in the criticism. “He’s just not a guy who’s very highly regarded or very well liked by other players in the league,” King said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dom Capers, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher
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