Can Cutler Become More Than Just A Good QB?.........

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Will Jay Cutler Ever Be More Than a Good NFL Quarterback?

    By Cian Fahey , Featured Columnist
    Jul 26, 2014


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    Jerry Lai/USA Today

    Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery wasted little time in re-signing quarterback Jay Cutler to a massive contract extension this offseason.

    Cutler signed a seven-year, $126.7 million contract in January, long before he could become a free agent. Re-signing Cutler wasn't like any normal situation that sees a general manager retain his starting quarterback.

    Emery could have decided to move on with Josh McCown, who excelled in Marc Trestman's offense during the regular season and is now the projected starter in Tampa Bay—at a far lower price tag.

    Or, more realistically, Emery could have used McCown's presence to take leverage away from Cutler during the months leading up to the start of free agency. The franchise tag would always have been an option if they couldn't agree to a cheaper contract.

    Instead of attempting to help his team benefit financially from the situation the Bears found themselves in, Emery gave Cutler a huge vote of confidence by immediately giving him as much money as Cutler or his agent could ever have expected.

    At 31 years of age, Cutler remains a very polarizing player. (IMHO it's was principally the media who created that issue not the fans. The fans who chose to be nothing more than "sheeple" bought into it and those who could think on their own, understand and appreciate what he was all about and actually analyze his game and work things out for themselves didn't. Jay Cutler is a guy who isn't gonna behave a certain way just because the media believes he should. I think amongst his GM, Coaches, and Teammates, he's done more than enough to show the type of player and person he truly is. Despite that I expect there will be those who simply won't let go of their preconception of him so he'll always have his detractors and "haters".)

    He has been a full-time starter for seven seasons after being drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft. When you look at Cutler's raw statistics, he is presented as an efficient passer. Save for the 2009 season, he has thrown considerably more touchdowns than interceptions during each season of his career. He has a career completion percentage of 61 percent and completed 63.1 percent of his passes during his first year as a starter under Trestman. For his career, he has averaged 230 yards per game and 7.2 yards per attempt.

    Cutler's numbers clearly don't suggest that he should be benched, but other factors must be taken into account when trying to understand how he is perceived.

    When Josh McDaniels attempted and failed to bring in Matt Cassel to replace him in Denver, Cutler forced a trade to the Bears. Once with the Bears, Cutler was unable to play through a significant injury during the playoffs, and his demeanour on the sideline, as part of his overall attitude toward the media, made many question his passion for playing football.

    Of course, those who condemned Cutler for his inability to play though pain in the playoffs conveniently overlooked the 52 regular-season sacks that he had fought through to that point. It was a season that included a nine-sack beating he somehow survived in Week 4.
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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Instead of using the off-field perception Cutler garnered in previous seasons to create context around his on-field play, the focus should have been put on the context of the offense around him in Chicago during that time.

    After being traded to the Bears, Cutler played in the least quarterback-friendly offense in the NFL. His offensive coordinators, Mike Martz and Mike Tice, didn't play to his strengths with their offensive designs or play-calling.

    His offensive line was overwhelmed in pass protection on a weekly basis, while one of his starting receivers was a converted cornerback and kick returner. The other suffered a serious back injury and was forced to retire.

    Before Emery arrived in Chicago, the Bears neglected their offense. They didn't invest money or high draft picks on that side of the ball, meaning that Cutler never really had an opportunity to excel. Entering the 2013 season, all of the Bears' problems on offense had been addressed.

    An offensive-minded head coach, Trestman, was now in charge. The team's new offensive coordinator, Aaron Kramer, had previously been the New Orleans Saints offensive line coach, and he was working with four new, talented starters up front. Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte were arguably the most talented group of receiving options in the whole league.

    In other words, there was no longer anything holding back Cutler and Cutler obviously did enough during his 11 regular-season starts to prove himself to Trestman and Emery, but the real question is whether he has the ability to repay that faith and become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

    Cutler was more accurate than his 63.1 completion percentage suggested he was last season. On this chart, we judge his accuracy while taking out spikes, throwaways, balls tipped at the line of scrimmage and Hail Mary throws.
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    NFL.com

    On 332 total qualifying plays, Cutler threw an accurate pass 280 times. That means he had 52 plays where his accuracy either caused an incompletion or forced his receiver to make an unnecessarily difficult adjustment on the ball.

    If only these plays had counted last year, Cutler's accuracy percentage would have been an incredible 84 percent. For the sake of comparison, Russell Wilson, who was exceptionally accurate last year, had an 83 percent accuracy rating under the same analysis.

    Cutler is clearly a very talented quarterback with the ability to match any other player at the position in the NFL.

    However, he has two issues that he must address if he wants to be considered alongside players such as Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. The first issue is his deep ball. Cutler can throw the ball to any area of the field with ease, but his deep accuracy proved to be erratic last season.

    It wasn't terrible, but it needs to be better because the Bears have so many deep threats in their offense.

    As McCown proved last season, you don't need to be perfectly accurate when throwing to Jeffery and Marshall because they will aggressively go and get the ball. With that in mind, even the most minor of improvements from Cutler in this area should result in a significant boost in production.

    The other issue Cutler needs to address is taking care of the football. He threw 12 interceptions in 11 games last season and coughed up five fumbles. He has a better supporting cast now, including a revamped defense, so he doesn't have any excuses for forcing throws or being reckless in the pocket.

    Trestman appeared to have a positive influence on Cutler last year. He seemingly shortened Cutler's drops and encouraged him to get rid of the football quickly. Cutler wasn't throwing the ball down the field on a regular basis; instead he was making use of screen plays and working the underneath coverage to put his receivers in space.

    Of Cutler's 12 interceptions, four were the result of bad decisions.
    Primary Reason for Cutler's Interceptions
    Bad DecisionBad ThrowTipped at LineRoute MiscommunicationHail MaryWide Receiver Drop
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    Analytical Analysis Through NFL.com

    Four "bad decision" interceptions aren't going to completely derail your passing offense, but Cutler was lucky on a few other bad decisions, and he will likely continue to throw double-digit interceptions so long as he continues to make poor decisions.

    There was a noticeable difference in Cutler's approach early in the year last season, but after his multiple-interception game against the Detroit Lions, he appeared to play with less poise.

    Trestman has stressed the importance of the quarterback position ever since he got the job in Chicago. He appeared to understand the flaws in Cutler's game and made an effort to address them entering last season. With the coach having another offseason to help refine his starting quarterback, Cutler should be expected to be more efficient next season.

    While we're unsure if Cutler will take that step forward, we saw last season that he has the talent to be that effective.
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    NFL.com
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    NFL.com

    From a physical point of view, Cutler can make every throw and make it well. He has exceptional arm talent that allows him to control the trajectory and accuracy of his passes. He can throw the ball more than 50 yards through the air with ease, and his passes sustain velocity to every area of the field.

    From a mental point of view, Cutler understands how to read the defense while manipulating the pocket. Just as importantly, he understands when he needs to leave the pocket and keep his eyes down the field to make throws on the move.

    From a technical point of view, Cutler has some issues, but that's not uncommon in quarterbacks with his caliber of arm strength. When you compare Cutler's mechanics to those of Matthew Stafford or Colin Kaepernick, he is dramatically more efficient and consistent with his movement. (And yet both were recently ranked ahead of Cutler giving even more credence to the fact that it's Jay's unpopularity in the media that has far more to do with it than his actual performance)

    Believing that Cutler will become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in 2014 is believing in his head coach's ability to elevate him to that level, because there is no question that he has the talent to make that leap.
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  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Nuff said about the "polarizing" thing. Cutler goes out to play and win games and when he was saddled with two lousy OC, two WRs who weren't even close to being up to NFL #1 WR level, and a sieve of an OL my guess is any NFL QB who was put in the position he was would have been a little unhappy.

    Tom Brady is a far bigger whiner than Jay could ever think of being when things don't go his way and yet the media seldom if ever calls him on it. Jeezus, he even had his wife castigating teammates for dropping balls he threw "right to them". So far I haven't hear Kristin doing any football commentary.

    I hope this also puts to rest any criticism of his accuracy with the ball. When 84% of your throws are on target and you and your receivers are still getting used to a new offense I'd day that pretty decent pitching. Not many MLB pitchers even come close to that kind of accuracy and they throw at a fixed target not one in motion.

    So out of 12 picks only half of them were the result of either a bad decision (4) or a bad throw (2) on his part. One bad decision every four games and one bad throw every eight doesn't really pop out at you and say he makes bad decisions or bad throws too often and yet we hear that criticism often. This is why "metrics" top "perceptions".

    Trestman and even more so Cavanaugh have cleaned up most of the issues with his mechanics and based on the number of catches each had he's quite obviously spreading the ball around far more now than he did in 2012. Marshall (100), Jeffery (89), Forte (74) M. Bennett (65), E. Bennett (32).

    The bottom line is that this is not the same Jay Cutler who arrived in Chicago in 2009. I'd agree that he's still not on the same level as the top four QBs (Manning, Brady, Brees, and Rodgers) but with the exception of Manning the others have all been in the same offense for five years or longer so Cutler still has a lot of room to grow.

    Personally I think he's already far more than just a good QB and should easily be ranked in the top ten based on where he is now but in order to silence his critics he needs to take charge and take his team to a championship. Then his critics will have to invent even more imaginary reasons not to like him.

    Oh, and whether he's a great QB or not the one thing that's most important is that he's the greatest QB the Bears have had since Sid Luckman. Even Jimmy Mac's track record can't stand up to Cutler's and if you think back on it he was also injured far more often and missed more games yet no one has ever questioned his toughness.
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  3. JJ-30

    JJ-30 Veteran

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    It's clear to me this writer does not like Cutler one bit. Even when he tried to say something good he turned it into anything but nice.
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  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    A king of "left handed" compliments is he. LOL I don't know who the author is but he's not one of those writers who typically reports on the Bears and though he tries his analysis in inconsistent at best.

    For instance he talks about Cutler's lack of accuracy on the "deep ball" but never really defines what he means by that in terms of the length of the throw. In the Viking game he makes a 35 yard throw (total travel) to his outside shoulder to Marshall for a TD. Perfect placement away from the FS coming over to help. Nobody gets that ball but Marshall.

    In the Steelers game he makes a 30 yard throw (total travel) to a completely blanketed Jeffery five yards deep in the end zone putting it where only Jeffery has any chance of catching it and with just enough room for him to catch it in bounds. Now that was a pretty throw.

    Against the Lions he drops a 37 yard (total travel) one into Jeffery over the CB and before the FS can get over to help. Could have been a TD if Jeffery would have stayed in bounds.

    The only "deep ball" (over 50 yards) was that toss to Jeffery in the Saints game and it goes 55 yards on the money to Jeffery at the five and he's OB at the one. Cutler threw that one flat footed and it was right on the money. If he wanted to prove his point about a lack of accuracy on his deep ball that example surely wasn't the one to demonstrate it.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  5. jbunch14

    jbunch14 Veteran

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    I am a massive Cutler fan, and I was ecstatic that they signed him to an extension this offseason. For the stability of this team that was the best move Emery has had yet. There is no doubt that Cutler likely has more arm talent than all but 2-3 QBs in the NFL, but I based on the "eye test" I tend to agree with this hack writer about Cutler's deep ball. There are some very good deep-ball throwers in the NFL: Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Vick (don't laugh at the last one, he has an EXCELLENT deep-ball). When you watch Cutler throw the ball 40+ yards many times he underthrows the route. I have noticed this since he arrived, and even before that in DEN. It obviously doesn't have anything to do with arm strength, but many of his long throws leave something to be desired. No concrete analysis, just the eye test.
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  6. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    1. With the offense we run under Marc Trestman now, all we need is a good quarterback, and

    2. Who in their right-mind thinks the Bears need Cutler to be a Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers level QB? This isn't going to happen. Only an idiot believes Cutler will be Peyton Manning. Why even talk about something this stupid?

    3. It just seems crazy to think we need an elite QB to win a SB under Trestman. I'll take "good" QB play and be mighty pleased. This particular Trestman team seems to be built more on a team-concept rather than a Cutler-concept. I like that.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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