ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Now that they have been separated for five months, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has high praise for first-year Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, whom he'll see in a preseason game Sunday night at Invesco Field.
Cutler said in the brief time that he spent with McDaniels, he could tell Bill Belichick's latest disciple was an offensive mastermind. Cutler also said the Broncos are in good hands with McDaniels and quarterback Kyle Orton.
"He's going to be a good coach," Cutler told Denver reporters in a conference call Wednesday. "I think their offense is going to be fine. I think Kyle's going to be fine. (McDaniels) is an offensive mind.
"Just the brief amount of time I was able to spend with him, he's impressive. He knows a lot about offenses, he knows a lot about getting guys open and scoring points, as everyone's seen when he was in New England, so I think they're going to be fine."
The Broncos traded Cutler to the Bears for Orton and three draft picks in April after the Pro Bowl quarterback's rift with McDaniels became irreparable.
The genesis of their disagreement came when Cutler learned that McDaniels had talked to the Patriots about acquiring quarterback Matt Cassel in a three-way trade that would have sent him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cassel was dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs instead, but in subsequent conversations, Cutler couldn't receive assurances from the coach that his name wouldn't come up again in trade talks. So Cutler asked out of Denver.
Cutler said he doesn't want to rehash the details of his ugly divorce from the Broncos, but he believes both sides are happier now that they're apart.
"I think both sides would change certain things and go about it a different way, but I think both sides are happy now and we're moving on," Cutler said of the way his stint in Denver came to an acrimonious end.
Cutler said he's not exactly hyped for his return to the Mile High City, where he's still trying to sell his multimillion dollar home.
"It's a preseason game -- we've got to keep that in perspective," Cutler said, suggesting the Bears' real focus is on their season opener against the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers next month.
Cutler added that he expects a rude reception from Broncos fans Sunday night and wouldn't expect anything less.
"I mean, they're good fans there, and you know we left ... it wasn't the best situation," Cutler said.
That's about all Cutler would say about Denver's fans after dissing them in a Chicago radio interview during training camp, when he said Broncos fans were a 6 and Bears fans a 9. He later clarified his remarks to say he was talking about the bigger crowds at Bears training-camp practices.
Cutler also said he wouldn't snub McDaniels if they happen to run into each other before the game, but he won't go out of his way to shake the coach's hand.
"I'm not going to seek him out," Cutler said. "I've got business I've got to take care of there. I've got a game I've got to play in, so we'll see how it goes."
Cutler expects to see a heavy dose of blitzing from the Broncos.
"It's the third preseason game, so offenses and defenses are adding a little bit more and a little bit more and some different wrinkles out there," he said. "So, we're just going to be on our toes and be prepared for anything."
Cutler also said he had no advice for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, whose trade request this summer was denied.
"None of my business," Cutler said. "I'm out of the loop on that whole thing."
In a bit of a surprise, Cutler said he hasn't spoken with former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired Dec. 30 after the team's monumental collapse cost it an AFC West title and a trip to the playoffs.
"Mike's busy playing a lot of golf," Cutler said, jokingly.
After telling reporters in Lake Forest, Ill., that he didn't miss a thing about Denver, Cutler told a different story on his conference call.
"I had fun in Denver," he said. "It's not like I didn't enjoy my time there because I did. I loved my teammates, I loved playing there. But certain things happen that force you to move, and one of those things did happen. I had to move on."