😡Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy’s QB Coach Compares Him to Polarizing Pro Bowler

😡Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy’s QB Coach Compares Him to Polarizing Pro Bowler

Few understand J.J. McCarthy‘s play better than his personal quarterback coach John Beck, who likened the Minnesota Vikings rookie to Chicago Bears Pro Bowler Jay Cutler.

 

A former quarterback for Washington under Mike Shanahan in 2011, Beck worked with McCarthy as an incoming freshman at Michigan in 2021 and had colleagues ask about his impression.

 

“All of the coaches in the Shanahan tree are going to love this kid,” Beck told his colleagues at the time, per The Athletic’s Alec Lewis.

 

 

 

Beck’s colleagues asked for a comparison at the time and named Cutler — which he stands by to this day as McCarthy rocketed up draft boards and was selected 10th overall by the Vikings last month.

 

“The very same things that made Mike Shanahan like Jay Cutler and take him as a first-rounder are going to be some of the things people in this tree will see when he comes out of college,” Beck said. “He has a combination of arm strength, being able to drive balls to certain locations on the field, tied together with the ability to utilize athleticism in the keeper and play-pass game.”

 

Jay Cutler’s Departure From Denver Broncos a Cautionary Tale for Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy

 

 

DENVER – NOVEMBER 02: Head coach Mike Shanahan speaks with quarterback Jay Cutler of the Denver Broncos after he threw an interceptionf to cornerback Will Allen of the Miami Dolphins for a 32 yard first quarter touchdown during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 2, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler during a 2008 Denver Broncos game.

 

The 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Cutler shared many of the same qualities McCarthy has. He was an athletic pocket passer who was confident in making any throw. His game needed some refinement, but between his arm strength and character, he was an upside bet by the Denver Broncos that year.

 

Cutler was backup to Jake Plummer and took over after a 7-2 start due to Shanahan desiring more from the offense. Cutler took his bumps and bruises early but led the Broncos to a playoff berth.

 

 

Cutler was the Broncos starters for the next two seasons, and while he relished the role as a leader, he often attempted to do too much to win the game. He threw too many interceptions and took too many sacks. His reliance on his arm strength led to splash plays or catastrophic losses.

 

“The development of any young player takes time and commitment. Quarterback is no exception. To say that wasn’t happening in Denver would be wrong. But certainly the task was yet to be completed,” then-Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist wrote for Bleacher Report. “Cutler’s blitz recognition, downfield accuracy and sacks per pass play were improving, clearly a benefit from the new star at left tackle. But his third-down and red-zone efficiency tumbled, and he was credited with 19 additional poor throws over the season prior. His TD-to-interception ratio remained relatively steady.”

 

In 2008, Cutler set single-season records for passing yards (4,526) and completions (384) while throwing for 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He earned the only Pro Bowl of his career, only for Shanahan to be fired before the turn of the new year after missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

 

That led to Cutler’s trade to Chicago, where he was a mainstay but only produced three winning seasons as a starter in seven years. Cutler made the playoffs just once in his 12-year career and had a 75-80 all-time record as a starter.

 

Sundquist, who was also fired after the 2008 season, suggested that Cutler may have been rushed into action — a mistake the Vikings took precautions to avoid.

 

McCarthy’s Private Coach Urges Vikings to Not Rush Rookie QB

 

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J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines.

 

When considering McCarthy as the youngest quarterback to come out of the 2024 draft class, Beck urged the Vikings to not “rush the recipe” for the 21-year-old rookie, likening him to a chocolate cake.

 

“You have so many good things in J.J. McCarthy,” Beck said. “Don’t rush the recipe. Don’t hurry through trying to get this cake baked and out of the oven as fast as you can.”

 

The Vikings have bought themselves some time to keep McCarthy in the oven by signing veteran Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million contract. Darnold is the presumptive starter until McCarthy can check all the boxes in the Vikings’ development plan for their future franchise quarterback.

 

Gideon Canice

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