Sports talk radio hosts have been telling Jay Cutler what to do his entire career.
This year just makes it official.
First-year Bears quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone was once one half of “Dave and Scott in the Morning” with former Kentucky basketball star Scott Padgett.
And yes, the Louisville show took phone calls.
“Fans’ perspectives, good, bad or indifferent, it’s their perspective — it’s what they understand, it’s what they see,” Ragone said. “That’s not wrong or right. My point is, when you’re in the (football team’s) building, you’re so blocked out by all the noise that you don’t even hear the good or the bad from that standpoint.”
It was a Chicago radio host that made the Louisville quarterback think he’d land with the Bears 13 years ago. Doug Buffone, a fellow Cardinals alum, had the college star on his show via phone so often — every Tuesday for a year — that he thought he’d be drafted by the Bears.
The Texans selected him in the third round instead. He played three years there and had brief stints with the Bengals and Rams before turning — after radio — to coaching.
At Halas Hall, he rejoined offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, for whom he served as the Titans’ quarterbacks coach in 2013 and receivers coach in 2011-12.
Ragone, the Redskins’ offensive quality control coach last year, had never met Cutler before joining the Bears.
He’s been wowed.
“Not to slight anyone else in this league, but in terms of athletic ability, I rate him near the top, if not the top … ” he said. “He’s an unreal athlete to me, the way he’s able to move in the pocket, extend plays, create on his own, still be a passer when he does it. It’s one of the most special talents.
“I know everyone talks about his arm strength and all that, but his ability to move, extend, have the quickness in the pocket, that is a rare, rare trait.”
Both Loggains and quarterback Josh McCown — who Ragone coached on the 2010 Harford Colonials of the United Football League —had praised Cutler to long before Ragone considered the Bears job.
Former Bears coaches reached out, too, Ragone said, and were “extremely positive” about Cutler.
“What all they’ve said is exactly what he is,” he said. “It’s about as positive an experience I can ever ask for.”
Neither Loggains nor former coordinator Adam Gase boast Ragone’s NFL experience.
“Sometimes that can be important,” coach John Fox said.
Carson Palmer, the top pick in his draft class, is still playing. Bears second-string quarterback Brian Hoyer graduated from the same high school, St. Ignatius in Cleveland, only six years after Ragone.
His starter, though, is off to a good start.
“He makes you want to become a better coach just because of his love for the game,” Ragone said. “And the way he walks around, his respect for everybody else, it makes you want to be in early, stay later and make sure you’re doing the best job you can for him.”