Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jay Cutler and da Bears

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

2006 Broncos
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
Leading receivers:
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
Leading receivers:
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):
24.5 points/game
368 yards/game
227 passing yards/game

The NFC North Defense (excluding Chicago's stats):
25.6 points/game
343 yards/game
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
61.8% completions
1,777 yards (222 yd/game)
10 TD and 4 INT

Second half of the season (note he did not play against the Titans)
Record 4-3
AVG QB rating of 58.6
58.6% completions
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:
Vikings 10-6
Bears 9-7
Packers 8-8
Lions 2-14

I'd like to hear everyone elses NFC North predictions


Rubie Q said...

I don't think you'll find us saying that Cutler isn't an upgrade over Grossman and Neckbeard. My concern, if I'm a Bears fan, is that we got a big, shiny new racehorse -- when we had a mule and a donkey last year -- and we don't have a track for him to run on. Is Cutler going to be happy throwing checkdowns to Forte and buttonhooks to Olsen? Remember: the dude already showed he can be a petulant douchebg when he's unhappy.

I'll have more to say when I get to my computer at work.

Charlie Weis' said...

I watched the first quarter of the Bears/Giants game last week. 3 drives, 2 TD and 1FG against the a pretty decent Giants defense. They had a good mix of running/passing/dumping. I think as long as he's winning, he'll be happy. Also, don't forget they have Hester who can outrun just about anyone. In that game on Saturday, Cutler actually threw a perfect ball to him, Hester misjudged it - something I think will eventually be fixed by the start of the season. I personally think he'll have plenty of options down field.

Charlie Weis's Gunt said...

also...to point 3-if Orton had continued to play like he did the first half of the season (top 10 offense), would you be calling his receivers a donkey and a mule?

Softball's Tony Gwynn said...

packers at 8-8 is very low especially if we are going by how they've looked in pre-season. its also worth noting that even though the pack finished 6-10 last year they lost 7 games where the were either tied or had the lead in the 4th quarter so add to that another year of experience for our offense and a new more aggressive defense, I'd put the pack at 10-6 if not 11-5, Vikes at 10-6 and Bears at 8-8. Lions lucky to get 2 wins.

ps-i don't think forte is going to be nearly as effective as he was last year...just a hunch!

EMoney said...

Something I always find ammusing and at the same time perplexing is how people translate speed directly to being a good WR. I don't care how fast Hester is, he is not a #1. He is too small and doesn't have good enough hands to be that guy. I can probably name 5 speed WR's that have busted out of college to every 1 that has been successful. Eddie Royal was great last year because he had Brandon Marshall to play off of.

Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, Greg Jennings, Anquon Boldin, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Terrell Owens. Essentially the top 10 WR's in the game today. Not 1 is just a speed guy. Speed needs to be coupled with strength (Steve Smith, TO), great hands (Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings), impeccable route running (Reggie Wayne), or the ability to win a jump ball (see all above). Don't think Hester has any one of these additional qualities.

Rubie Q said...

Oh, I wasn't calling the receivers a donkey and a mule. I was calling Grossman and Cutler a donkey and a mule (respectively).

A question and a comment on Orton's first half numbers: first, how many of his touchdowns went to wideouts? Second, 10 touchdowns in 8 games doesn't excite me.

As to Hester: you kind of proved my point with your note about him misjudging the pass. There's a reason Hester came into the league as a corner, and it's got nothing to do with his lack of height.

You are a Baffoon said...

Agreed $. You have to be able to get off the line of scrimmage without being jammed. D. Hester has not proven he can do that. In fact when he's lined up against good corners that are physical he seems to suddenly disappear. I cannot remember the last time D. Hester did jack squat against the Packers' Woodson and Harris? In fact last year he caught a scintilating three passes for 19 yards and no scores. THREE PASSES!!! Brutal. Granted it will only be his third year playing the position full-time this year so he could be ready for a bounce, but I doubt it. So to say that Cutler will be fine with all his WR's is in my honest opinion is a pixie dust and unicorns fairy-tale frame of mind. But you can have that, it's the beginning of the year.

Devil's Threesome said...

Hester is dumb. That pretty much taps me out for NFL knowledge, though I do agree with SBTG that GB should have a solid year. 9-7 minimum.

Master Reid said...

I think Gunt hit on the real problem for the Bears this year with the last sentence. The myth of the Bears' "great" defense took a serious hit last year. They ranked 21st overall in team defense (1 spot behind the Packers if you can believe that)and 30TH(!) against the pass. The only secondary help they added in the offseason was S Josh Bullocks from the Saints. If you're looking to New Orleans for defensive upgrades, you've got a problem.

So if the Bears want to contend this year they're going to need Cutler to not just be an improvement, they need him to be special. If he's not, and say throws a bunch of picks that puts that defense in tough spots, it could be rougher than a lot of Chicago fans are expecting.

Rubie Q said...

Goddammit, I'm frazzled today.

Let me try my analogy again: Grossman is a donkey. Orton is a mule. Cutler is a pretty new racehorse who doesn't have a track to run on.

There. Got it.

EMoney said...

So why doesn't Cutler have a track? He plays at a professional football persons field in chicago right? And I thought Grossman was the mule and Orton the donkey. No? Can you go over this for a 3rd time Rub's?

School, school, I like school!