Quarterback Jay Cutler has good things to say about two of the 13 known candidates for the Bears' head-coaching position.
Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was Cutler's offensive coordinator during his three years with the Denver Broncos and spent 15 years as an assistant in Denver. He is scheduled to interview with Bears general manager Phil Emery Friday night in Houston.
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"'Rico' was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for us in Denver," Cutler said on The Waddle and Silvy Show Wednesday on WMVP AM-1000. "He's one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. Great guy off the field. Very, very smart, intellectual guy. He interviewed last year for a couple (head-coaching) spots. He's going to get a head-coaching job at some point in his career, I'm certain about that. Great candidate, I have a lot of respect for him."
The Broncos' current offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, interviewed with Emery last Sunday. He joined the Broncos shortly before Cutler was traded to the Bears on April 2, 2009.
"I think we had two meetings, and then they kicked me out," Cutler said of the trade. "I was meeting with (then-head coach) Josh (McDaniels) for the most part. I think I met with Mike twice very briefly because it was early, and then I was gone."
McCoy has gotten high marks for helping the Broncos to the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, last year with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow at quarterback, and this year making a smooth transition to Peyton Manning.
"I liked Mike," Cutler said. "He knows a lot about football, and obviously he's very flexible with being able to make it happen with Kyle Orton and then Tebow and now Peyton, three very different quarterbacks and three very different systems. (But) he found ways to make it work. There's something to be said about that."
Cutler also worked briefly with a third Bears candidate, quarterback guru Marc Trestman. The longtime NFL offensive coordinator and current head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League tutored Cutler before the 2006 Scouting Combine.
"That's kind of before you know what you like and what you don't like," Cutler said. "I enjoyed my time with him, but I don't know what system he runs because he's been up in Canada, but he's been very successful there."
Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith is expected to interview for the Philadelphia Eagles' head-coaching job Thursday, and he's a possible candidate for the San Diego Chargers' top job and for the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator post. Cutler said he doesn't expect Smith to be out of work for long.
"He's a really good coach, a class act, he treats the players like men and gets the most out of them," Cutler said. "And has a great system. There are a lot of positives with Lovie, that's why he's getting interviewed a lot, that's why people are bringing him in and possibly going to hire him as another head coach because he's done a great job."
Cutler said it's difficult to justify firing Smith after a 10-6 season, and he said players on the defensive side of the ball, Smith's area of expertise, took his dismissal hard.
"They were hurt," Cutler said. "It's hard for them probably to understand because they played well. They played extremely well; they've always played well under Lovie. So a 10-6 guy, to cut him, it's hard to do."