Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jay Cutler: He Is Who We Thought He Was

Jay Cutler, the kinder, more diabetic version of Brett Farve.

When the Bears traded for young quarterback Jay Cutler, the hope -- if not expectation -- was that Cutler would bring his high level of play to Chicago, giving the Bears their best quarterback since Sid Luckman. Well, just as quickly and suddenly as the Bears acquired Cutler, the enthusiasm about him turned to frustration.

In 2009, he led the NFL in interceptions, and so-called Bears fans and so-called football pundits began pronouncing the acquisition a failure. In truth, though, Cutler has been who we thought he'd be: A pretty good quarterback very much in the mold of Brett Farve (amazing accuracy and strength, good scrambling abilities, and plenty of turnovers).

If we consider 2009 a transition year, then we realize his passer rating (and his likely Approximate Value) reflect that very hiccup. By 2010, he has not only an improve offensive scheme (under Mike Martz), but also a significantly improved rapport with the receivers.

Year Age Tm Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Y/G Rate Sk Sk% AV
2006 23 DEN 81 137 59.1 1001 9 5 200.2 88.5 13 8.7 3
2007 24 DEN 297 467 63.6 3497 20 14 218.6 88.1 27 5.5 12
2008* 25 DEN 384 616 62.3 4526 25 18 282.9 86.0 11 1.8 15
2009 26 CHI 336 555 60.5 3666 27 26 229.1 76.8 35 5.9 10
2010 27 CHI 227 368 61.7 2891 20 13 222.4 89.6 44 10.7
Career 1325 2143 61.8 15581 101 76 236.1 84.8 130 5.7 40
3 yrs DEN 762 1220 62.5 9024 54 37 243.9 87.1 51 4.0 30
2 yrs CHI 563 923 61.0 6557 47 39 226.1 81.9 79 7.9 10
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2010.

Jay Cutler's pattern of ~88.0 passer ratings indeed pauses only in 2009. Though the Bears lead the league in surrendering sacks this year, we can -- nay must -- take heart in Cutler's career best passer rating despite it.

At the same time, a near 90.0 passer rating and a ~12 AV makes Cutler pretty close to the Second Coming of Brett Farve. It's not Peyton Manning (Career ~95.0 rating, ~17 AV per year), but with a good-to-great defense, it's more than enough and precisely what the Chicago Bears need..

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