Holy crap it's been a long time. My apologies for that.
On Sunday, we returned from a vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. What an awesome trip.
On the last night, me and a couple of buddies got to arguing about Jay Cutler and his status among his quarterbacking peers. Just where does he stand? Is he elite? Even top ten? Let's take a look.
He's 16th on the list for career passing yards for active players. That list includes guys like Kerry Collins, Jeff Garcia, Mark Brunell and Jon Kitna, all above Cutler. So for all intents and purposes, we can move Jay up to 12th overall. But what does that mean? There's more to being a quarterback than just racking up thousands of passing yards.
What Jay Has Going For Him
- Arm Strength: I visited Bears camp for a night in 2009, Cutler's first year with the Bears. I remember standing on the sideline and literally hearing the ball come out of Cutler's hands. It's completely different when Jay throws the ball. It's quite simple: Jay Cutler has one of the strongest arm in the NFL.
- Football IQ: I have no doubt that Jay knows the game. He's constantly correcting his receivers. I think we'll get to see his IQ even more when he's finally allowed to audible.
- Brandon Marshall: One thing we agreed on in this argument was that no quarterback can do it alone. Joe Montana had Jerry Rice. Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison. Now, Jay Cutler finally has Brandon Marshall again. Marshall caught 13 touchdowns from Jay over the two seasons they were together, and Cutler was a Pro Bowler in 2008.
What Jay Has Against Him
- Decision-Making: We all know what Jay was like during his first season in Chicago. He threw 27 touchdowns to 26 interceptions. He forced a lot of throws and made a lot of bad decisions. He reduced his INT number to 16 in 2010 when he led the Bears to the NFC Championship game, and threw only 7 last year in an injury-shortened season.
- Offensive Line: We also know how bad the Bears' protection has been. Bears quarterbacks were sacked 49 times last year, 5th most in the league, and in 2010 they were sacked a league-worst 56 times. 2011 first round pick Gabe Carimi comes back after playing just one game and change, and will start at right tackle. Let's hope the line gets better.
- Attitude: Jay Cutler will always be behind the 8-ball with the public because of his so-called "bad attitude". No he's not the most personable guy in the world, and we know next to nothing about his personal life. That's fine with him, though, and as long as he keeps throwing touchdowns and winning games, it doesn't matter to me.
If you believe in quarterback rating, would you believe that Jay has a better rating than a two-time Super Bowl winner? That's right, he's more than two full points better than Eli Manning.
I think Jay Cutler CAN be an elite quarterback in this league, but he's not yet. The Bears are finally building around him, and he's young enough to stick around for awhile to take advantage of the building blocks. I can't wait to see how the 2012 season plays out, and I'll have my #6 jersey on the whole way.