Monday, April 06, 2009

Opening Day and Thoughts On Cutler

"There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League."-George Vescey
It's Opening Day. Thankfully. Because the events of the past week have made the upcoming NFL season look a little less exciting. The Bears have a franchise quarterback for the first time in my lifetime, and, while it looks like the Vikings did not have a chance to get Jay Cutler once Matt Cassel was traded to the Chiefs, it's still disappointing to see him end up in the NFC North.

And yes, I know that Cutler is a horrible human being (because their love for Brett Favre shows the media's ability to judge character) , that he doesn't have the intangibles to make the playoffs (last I checked, football is the ultimate team game and his defense was about as bad as the Lions' last year) and that no quarterback that has every demanded a trade could possibly lead a team to the Super Bowl (Eli Manning and John Elway say hello). Doesn't matter to me. Jay Cutler is really, really, really good, he's 25, he made the Pro Bowl last year and he's going to spend at least the next 10 years running the Bears offense and running it well. Really, the only difference between this trade and the Jared Allen trade is one more first round pick, which pays for the two extra years of Cutler's career that will be played with the Bears.

So are the Bears going to win the Super Bowl next year? Probably not. As others have pointed out, Chicago's team is a little too old on defense and a little too shy of play makers on offense (though you'll be surprised how much better their offense is with a real quarterback). But the trade means that not only are they're going to be in contention for the NFC North again this year, but they're probably the favorites to win it and that's mainly because when their offense trots out onto the field, the guy under center is a Pro Bowler, not Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels.


DUI_Guy said...

He's far from a horrible human being (that's hyperbole if I've ever heard it), but he's definitely flawed. That aside, the jury's still out on him, considering the state of Chicago's offense. Denver had a talented offensive line--talented enough to make fans not care who the hell Jay handed off to--and several capable receivers. The only thing Chicago had that they didn't was a 1,000 yd rusher, a fact made overrated by Shanahan's ability to get nearly as many total rushing yards and more TDs from his backs than (Bears offensive coordinator) Ron Turner got from his. If he wasn't playing for a division rival I'd almost want to see Cutler make Hester look like Donald Driver while an opportunistic Forte runs for 1,500 yards with 4.5-5.0 ypc averages just to prove me wrong. But is that a realistic scenario when you look at the offensive line? Or that hack of an offensive coordinator? How much of a difference can a real quarterback make when the pocket keeps collapsing and the plays he's given suck?

Turner's not endeared to the Cutler family either. Not only did he rescind a scholarship offer to Cutler at the University of Illinois, he flat-out denied it when asked. Getting this guy fired wouldn't help Jay's image, but Turner's continued employment will certainly hurt his numbers. Not that I'm complaining.

That's with another team, though. If Cutler had landed in Minnesota, how would the Vikings fare spotting the other team one possession? (he threw 18 picks last year, 14 the year before) And there were plenty of opportunities to pick off his passes that were simply dropped, that number could easily be higher. Besides, there's still the draft.

By the way, Elway and Manning demanded trades before throwing a pass in the NFL.

DUI_Guy said...

I apologize for leaving the impression that I think the draft holds the solution to this team's problems (which I don't), but that's really all there is at this point.

Anonymous said...

Whoever gets Plaxico Burress wins the NFC North.

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