Jul 20, 2009
My vacation’s over, but while my wife is home (she flew), we’re still in the car, in North Carolina specifically (scratch that, just passed into VA). I’m doing some work while my 16-year old son drives for a couple of hours. This Verizon Wireless Broadband card kicks major ass.
Anyways, I was reading Matt Camp’s blog post about his NFL.com draft from last week and saw a few replies hating on Jay Cutler, so I felt like whipping up a post of my own. And I know I write about Cutler too much.
First of all, Cutler’s not overrated. Forget about his career W-L record. When his Bronco defense gave up 22 or fewer points, which isn’t too much to ask most of the time, Cutler’s record is 12-1.
So there goes that argument.
Sure, he’s a surly SOB and may not be likeable, and he may not have the two rings Ben Roethlisberger has. Maybe he doesn’t have that intangible quality that Big Ben seems to possess, that Brett Favre’s always had in terms of finding a way to win. But his best football is still in front of him and it’s totally unfair to say he doesn’t (have that intangible quality) right now, since he’s had to put the Bronco offense – and their whole team – on his back thus far. Roethlisberger would probably be a shell of the Big Ben we know on a team with a horrible defense and no running game like Cutler’s Broncos.
And anyone who questions Cutler’s sheer talent or moxie really needs to evaluate that position and start by actually watching him play more than a game or two here and there. He’s probably, overall, the most gifted QB in the NFL today. He’s got the best arm in the league and can make every throw, his delivery is lightening, his accuracy is good, his anticipation is excellent, he’s willing to make any throw, he’s tough, he’s mobile and athletic. Again, the only thing that worries me a little is his general attitude, which is far from genial. But has it really hurt him so far? Probably not. The Broncos were almost a playoff team last year – WITH A HORRIFIC DEFENSE. That’s because of Cutler. And that arrogance is also what makes him great on the football field, so I’m more than okay with it.
There was another point that stated the Bears were a running team, so Cutler’s stats will be disappointing.
That’s not exactly correct.
The point was made that Cutler and Matt Ryan both come from running teams, but the Bears were middle-of-the-pack in rushing attempts last year (Falcons were 2nd), so I wouldn’t call the Bears a run-heavy team like I was call the Giants, Vikings, Falcons, and Panthers run-heavy teams. And as I’ve written numerous times, you don’t give up the farm to acquire Jay Cutler and ask him to hand the ball off. RB Matt Forte is great and all, but he’s not really a 300+ carry guy, and he’s also a great receiver. I also always go back to 1995, which Eric Kramer of all people was a fantasy stud under current Bear offensive coordinator Ron Turner, throwing 29 TD passes (that was probably like 35 in today’s NFL). For a five-game stretch starting in Week Three when he got hot and through Week Seven when he got hurt, the very pedestrian Kyle Orton was 7th in fantasy scoring with 10 TDs, so I would not call Cutler’s situation prohibitive from a fantasy standpoint.
I do understand that Cutler’s receiving corps leaves a little to be desired, but if people keep drafting him in the 7th or 8th round (or later), I’m telling you right now he’s going to be a great value. The trade occurred so early in the offseason, which offsets some concerns with the new team. Cutler’s already a beloved Bear, and the guy even grew up a Chicago fan, so I don’t think the transition’s going to be too big of a concern. And collectively, I do like all of his weapons, plus they may still sign a veteran.
It’s true his upside it’s through the roof on the surface, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how he performs with a great back behind him. He could be better than ever. A consistent running game means longer drives, more plays, and possibly more TDs. He’s going to put up solid numbers almost every week, and since he’s proven to be very durable, you should be able to count on him every week.
I’m telling you, barring a serious injury to Forte or TE Greg Olsen (and WR Devin Hester), Cutler’s going to exceed the hater’s expectations in 2009. Considering some of the QBs we have ranked ahead of him (for now) have durability issues, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cutler finished as about the 5th best fantasy QB this year.