WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The last time Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan dealt with a rookie quarterback was back in 2006, when he drafted Jay Cutler with the 11th overall pick.
If you remember correctly, Cutler began his career backing up Jake Plummer, a quarterback who had led the Broncos to an AFC Championship title back in 2005. It was considered an extremely odd draft pick at the time.
"We weren't really in position to make change right then but had an opportunity to get a quarterback that I thought was a difference-maker," Shanahan told reporters on Monday. "I think Jay is that type of guy."
Three straight non-playoff seasons (2006-2008) was enough for the Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to fire Shanahan and trade away the widely loathed Cutler to Chicago.
Because Shanahan traded up four spots to select Cutler, the two will be forever linked. Shanahan says the two have stayed in touch throughout the years.
"We talk about Chicago and the type of offense he's running. We go back and talk about some of the players because Jay's first year was really good. He was first in the AFC in offense and second in the NFL, plus we had a young football team."
Shanahan added the two have played golf and have had dinner together since their departure in Denver.
The Bears are considered by many as a sleeper team to make a deep run in the NFC playoffs. Now that Cutler has additional weapons -- his old favorite Denver target Brandon Marshall, rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Michael Bush -- big things are expected of the 29-year-old quarterback.