E$ made a comment in a previous post about the Bears not having a "#1 receiver" and I've heard similar comments from people since the Cutler trade and wanted to have an open discussion about it (that and I think RQ might be looking to kick me off the buffet if I don't post). I also recognize that I am in the minority as far as Bears fans go, so please have mercy and keep it civil. Lastly, I am still in training at work and have no computer yet, so I can't defend anything until I get home.
Arguement #1: Cutler is over-rated/not that good
Let us compare two teams...the 2006 Denver Broncos with Jake Plummer vs. 2007 Denver Broncos with Cutler
Jake Plummer - 2006 QB Ranking 28th (55% comp, 1994 yds, 11TD, 13INT)
Record was 9-7
Note the defense was ranked 8th in points allowed and 14th in yards allowed
Rod Smith 52 rec, 512 yds, 3TD
Brandon Marshall 20 rec, 309 yds, 2TD (8 games)
Javon Walker 69 rec, 1084 yds, 8TD
Tony Scheffler 18 rec, 286yds, 4TD
Tatum Bell 24 rec, 115yds, 0TD
Now let's look at 2007 Broncos with Cutler as QB:
Cutler 12th ranked QB in NFL
Record 7-9, Cutler was 63% comp, for 3,497yds, 20TD, 14INT.
Note defense was ranked 28th in points allowed
Brandon Marshall - 102 rec 1,325yds and 7TD
Eddie Royal - 91 rec, 980yds and 5TD
Brandon Stokely - 40 rec, 635 yds, 5TD
Tony Scheffler - 49 rec, 549yds, 5TD
Selvin Young - 35 rec, 231yds, 0TD
As far as I can tell, Cutler = significant improvement in the Bronco's passing game. I am not saying that Jay Cutler is solely responsible for the improvement of the passing game, but the numbers are improved. Sure their record went from 9-7 to 7-9, but the Defense went from 8th to 28th in points allowed in one year. Something that is out of Cutler's hands.
Also note: Cutler is 13-3 when the Denver Def. holds the opponent to 21 points or less. Bear's D averaged 21.9 pts/game in 2008.
Arguement #2: The AFC West has shitty teams with shitty defense - Cutler has been beating up on Kansas City and Oakland.
I looked at the Defenses of the two divisions.
The AFC West Defense (excluding Denver's stats):
227 passing yards/game
The NFC North Defense (excluding Chicago's stats):
216 passing yards/game
2008 Def. Rankings based on pts/game
13. fucking vikings
15. SD Chargers
22. GB Packers
24. Oakland Raiders
28. KC Chiefs
32. Det. Lions
Not a huge change in defense as far as I can tell. Sure it's looking at last years stats, but I see no significant advantage or disadvantage in defenses that Cutler will face.
Arguement #3: The Bears have no receivers
I really hate this arguement and here is why:
Let's look at Kyle Orton's first 8 games of the 2008 season:
Orton had a 5-3 record
Avg QB rating of 89.9
1,777 yards (222 yd/game)
10 TD and 4 INT
Second half of the season (note he did not play against the Titans)
AVG QB rating of 58.6
1,195 yards (170 yd/game)
8TD and 8INT
Only major receiver difference was Brandon Lloyd was healthy in the first half. That's right, Brandon fucking Lloyd.
The whole first half of the season everyone was praising Orton, he had decent numbers, but the GB game happened, his confidence was destroyed and he sucked the rest of the season. What irritates the hell out of me is that when things were going well, when Orton was running a top 10 offense in the first half, nobody mentioned anything about not having a #1 receiver. All of the sudden, he has confidence issues, his stats tank and the Bears need a top caliber receiver? What has really changed: the receivers or Orton? No matter how good the receivers are, somebody still needs to make the throw. Had Orton put up the same numbers in the second half, would we be having this discussion about needing a #1 receiver?
Oh yeah, and fuck Brandon Marshall - he also led the lead in dropped passes last year...if anyone is over-rated it's him.
Bottom line, Cutler is an improvement over Orton/Grossman. The offensive line is improved from last year, Forte and Olsen have another year under their belt...I think the offense is much better vs. 2008. However, I think the Bear Def. has taken a step backwards. The secondary is very weak and injured and the front line cannot get any pressure on the QB = a really bad combination.
My NFC North Predictions:
I'd like to hear everyone elses NFC North predictions