Updated: The Jay Cutler dilemma

Word is obviously getting cycled through about how the Denver Broncos tried to trade Jay Cutler as part of a deal to land Matt Cassel. Cutler is now in full melt down mode and ready to be traded, disgruntled disgusted fed up that he was even mentioned in trade talks.

Cutler is about to be a fourth year QB who has improved his stats each and every year he has been in the league. Last year Cutler threw for over 4,500 yards and 25 TDs with 18 INTs in leading the Broncos to a collapse in which they missed the playoffs. His passing yards ranked third in the league and easily would have set a Bears record. He has an arm that can make all the throws and he’s proven to be fairly accurate with it.

So why then is the Chicago Bears front-office led by Jerry Angelo not inquiring about a trade for Jay Cutler? Probably because they have said all along that Kyle Orton is their starting QB. Those infamous words, are words that have been announced before, only with Rex Grossman in place of Orton. In turn it completely infuriates and polarizes the fan base almost against each other. Never mind the sludge pool of anger most of the media stirs up with inciting columns against Orton and Angelo during the off-season, some things always stay the same.

Kyle Orton is just as bad as Rex Grossman, or nearly as bad, or could be as bad and is no where near on the same level as Jay Cutler. Except for last season for the first seven games where he nearly WAS or arguably BETTER than Jay Cutler. You know those eight games in which Orton played prior to severely spraining his ankle that effected his play the rest of the season.

What you think I’m crazy? Good I’m glad you think so that’s why I do this blog and do research to back up my opinion with some facts.

A seven game comparison between Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton.

Jay Cutler 1,862 yards and 13 touchdowns 7 INTs
Kyle Orton 1,462 yards and 10 touchdowns 4 INTs

Where was Kyle Orton better? The touchdown to INT ratio which is one of the most important stats on the books for a QB. You typically want at a minimum a two to one ratio, two touchdowns for every INT thrown.

So that’s not good enough for you? Okay Kyle Orton averaged 7.5 yards per attempt to Cutler’s 6.3 yards per attempts, Cutler’s number of pass attempts 291 was almost 100 more than Orton’s of 196. Over essentially the same seven games meaning both QBs played for seven games and then their bye week came in the eighth week.

Needless to say the Bears’ front office is well aware of this eight game statistical comparison even before word came in about Cutler’s possible availability. They spent time I’m sure a) evaluating the entire season on a game by game basis watched the film the scenarios and scouted their own players, plus any scouting tape they have of other teams and their players. Which likely included Cutler and his season long performance and against which opponents and where those defenses ranked against the pass.

But it’s safe to say that Jerry Angelo and his player development team were already ahead of the curve. Not because I say so, but because they get paid to KNOW so and much more. Where as the media simply googled up the final season stats of both QBs and didn’t take into account Orton’s high ankle sprain that likely effected him the entire rest of the season, etc. They made a snap judgment, against Orton, that judgment being, he’s a Chicago Bears QB who struggled the entire course of the season judging by his final stats. We forgot or don’t know how bad a high ankle sprain is on a QB or simply don’t care. We just need something to rant or express an opinion about given how slow the off-season and free-agency has been.

Am I advocating against the idea of bringing Jay Cutler aboard? Certainly not, having two potential good to great QBs would be awesome. I am advocating for the logic and the reasoning behind keeping Orton the starter for what will be only his third full season as the unquestioned starter and putting weapons in place to help him succeed.

Orton showed his potential prior to his ankle injury, like it or not the numbers were pretty damn good. Plus he did it with a very sub par WR core surrounding him.

The goal should be to solidify the O-Line and finding a play maker that will be around for as long as Orton could potentially be if he continues to improve. To do that requires a first round draft pick where a quality WR or OT may exist there by providing stability around Orton. Bringing in Cutler would likely cost the Bears that draft pick and perhaps one more. Take the Bears out of a position to build the offense around a good QB and what will likely be a great running back.

Updated information from March 16th 2009, the screams to bring Cutler to Chicago have intensified with speculation, (nothing factual based) that Cutler would want to be traded to Chicago. The reasoning for a trade to Chicago is that Cutler grew up a fan of the Chicago Bears.

Given that the Bears have such an intense need for a WR, OT, S, DE, on day one of the draft, trading away a 1st round draft pick for a position player that is not on a level way ahead of Kyle Orton is not the best way to rebuild this team. Trading away 18 means no WRs for Cutler to throw to, likely means a hit to the cap space given that Cutler likely wants a contract extension AND his cap number is likely higher than Orton’s cap hit.

Plus it’s becoming all the more obvious with Cutler’s child like temper tantrum that he’s even more of a head case than originally thought. This tantrum, coupled with the attitude he’s shown in big games against the San Diego Chargers where he let’s Phillip Rivers get under his skin to the point it effects his performance in games is akin to Rex Grossman’s status as a mental midget. There are many red flags surrounding Cutler, most questionably is does he have the mental toughness to survive in a town like Chicago.

Doing more fun research today leads me to find these interesting facts about Kyle Orton’s season. When Orton was healthy prior to the injury he faced 6 out of 7 teams with a winning record. Of those teams 5 of the 7 made the playoffs. The only loser team of the bunch? You guessed it the Detroit Lions.

Had Orton kept the level of consistency he had over the first seven games of the season he would have finished with 3,328 yards and 23 touchdowns. The yards would have been better than Ben Rothelisberger’s and Eli Manning’s season total 14th in the league. His touchdown total good for a tie with Donovan McNabb for 8th best in the league.

Orton would have achieved this with one of the worst receiving cores in recent memory. All the more reason why I know that in this case Jerry Angelo is right to be sticking by Kyle Orton as his QB.

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