Chicago Sun-Times

Fine Cutlery: The race to unseat Sid Luckman in the record books

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Troy Aikman was seated at a crowded table in Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville on media day the Tuesday before Super Bowl XXXIX when I asked him how Sid Luckman remained the Bears' all-time leading quarterback after, well, roughly a half-century. You know, back when leather helmets were the thing in professional football.

Aikman turned to me, laughing and said, ``That's my question. That says it all, doesn't it? It's absolutely mind-boggling. Maybe what it points to is just not really being able to get a quarterback who could last for any significant time.''

It wound up being just part of a story for the start of the 2005 season on the franchise's inability to cultivate any success at the position. It came on the heels of Rex Grossman breaking his ankle in a preseason game in St. Louis, Chad Hutchinson playing himself out of professional football in a series of disastrous preseason outings and a rookie fourth-round pick named Kyle Orton being named the starter less than two weeks before the start of the season.

``Amazing,'' Terry Bradshaw said when asked about the same Luckman issue on a visit to training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. ``Hey, somebody has got to hold the record. Might as well be ol' Sid.''

The belief at Halas Hall is that the trade last week for Jay Cutler will solve the issue, at least for the next 10 years or so. The Web site coldhardfootballfacts.com takes a close look at this very issue with some numbers that might be eye openers.

Here, Cold Hard Football Facts explores some other interesting numbers, building a case that the Broncos' 2008 offense was very much like the one the New England Patriots had in 2007 when they stormed through the regular season 16-0 by shattering records.

Cutler was seen by most pigskin "pundits" as one of the bright young stars of the NFL - a player who seemed to prove his place in the NFL when he passed for a tremendous 4,526 yards last year. It was easily the most prolific passing season in franchise history. Consider that John Elway himself surpassed the 4,000-yard mark just once - and just barely - with 4,030 yards in 1993. So many observers were confused when [Josh] McDaniels walked in and immediately made noise about acquiring another quarterback, touching off the flame war that ended in Cutler's trade to Chicago on Thursday. But McDaniels apparently knew what the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long told you: yards, and passing yards in particular, have virtually no correlation to success in the NFL.

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23 Comments

Go get them Cutler!

We at Vandy are all behind you as well as Chris, Earl, and Hunter!

Godspeed!

The Cold Hard Football Facts article is interesting but has problems. OK, it compares the 2007 Pats offense to the 2008 Broncos offense and is critical of Jay due to the low scoring the Broncos put up. Which isn't necessarily all Jay's fault, but still tries to point out his part in it.

What they don't get is that Brady was several years into his career when he lead the 2007 Pats offense. Cutler only has 36 starts. What the haters don't get is that you have to evaluate the guy *RELATIVE TO HIS STARTS*. What young QB doesn't make mistakes his first two years playing? And also, Jay started at the end of his rookie year. He's not like Rodgers or Cassel that sat for a few years before getting a shot.

A couple articles like to say things like, "well Cutler's no Payton Manning...." Maybe not, but let's check back when Cutler's been playing as long as Payton Manning.

Since were talking about inept QBs in Chicago I will post some staggering numbers.
Yes I'm gonna be living in the past but being a TRUE Bears fan its hard not to be proud of their rich history.

8 Championships and 1 Superbowl. Leads the NFL

632 wins. Leads the NFL.

31 Hall of Fame players. Leads the NFL by a huge margin!!

George S. Halas 324 wins. 2nd in the NFL by a coach

The Bears have done it for decades with out a premier QB, the stats don't lie. Come on 31 hall of famers....31!

The Bears do it through Defence and some teams do it through offence.
I'm happy to be a Bears fan and proud that the team has such a rich history.

mcdaniels went to denver and acted like he had won 3 supper bowls.
i'm sure management told jay when mike got fired he was the man, and
mcstupid tried to cross him. so now we have jay and we love and support you here. by the way jay will own all the bears records for
the next hundred years if he doesn't get hurt. i hope we can find someone like jay when he retires. maybe the bears will learn from this and do what is needed to get another jay after he retires.

McDiapers made a mistake and JA The Man capitalized on it and I'm very happy! JC will own the Bear passing records but we might not see too many 4,500 yard seasons. Why, because the Bear defense will be much better than what JC had to work with in Denver. Jay won't have to throw every down because we won't be playing catch up every game. I'm just looking forward to those pin point lasers down field to Olson, Hester and Bennett!

I think Jay's records are pretty impressive when you take everything in to account. It is easy to discredit anyone when you only look at a small part. Look at 2007, he didn't have as amazing year as 2008, however, he played through the four month season with undiagnosed Diabetes that caused him to have no energy and loose 35 pounds rapidly. Most players wouldn't be able to handle that and it would certainly be an excuse for low numbers and yet he still did well. I think that has impressed me more than anything and it shows that he leaves everything on the field,that is also what will make him a great leader.

This is why that article is BS. 1. the New England defense was much much better than the Broncos defense. In fact New England gave up only 34 TD's in 07 the Broncos gace up 50. Then of course you have the recievers, well to BE frank New England has Randy Moss one of the greatest end zone threats in NFL history. TheN you have Tom Brady who was in his 9th season in the same system as compared to Cutler who was in the 3rd year. Huge difference right there. How about comparing Cutlers 3rd season offense to Brady's 3rd season offense. TD's scored for New England in Brady's 3rd year 43, Td's for Denver 42. Looks pretty similar to me. You see if your going to compare two teams you have to compare the teams and not just the offense. You can't blame either QB if there defense was giving up 30 plus points a game. Then there is also the Turnover ratio, Denver was at -17 there defense caused the fewest turnovers in the NFL last year. Perhaps if the Broncos defense could have gotten off the field, the Broncos offense would have had a few more catches. By the way the Jets run the same offense as NE and so do the Browns how was there offense this year? In fact how are Mangini, Cronell, and Wies doing oh Al Groh too. Yes these New England guys are real good. Here is a clue Bill is genius and everyone eles from there are just scrap parts he uses. McDaniels is Lane Kiffen Part Duex. Worst defense in football and the first thing he does is attack his pro bowl QB. Yes that seems really smart to me.

Can you remind me Brad who won the Super Bowl in 07? By the way in Brady's third year he threw for 28 TD's and 14 int's but fumbled the ball 11 times. In 2007 Brady doubled his average season with 50TD's don't excpect that to ever happen again. He is usually around 24-28. In his first 8 season Brady's QB rating was below 90, he had a moster year in 2007 but it took 8 years to get there. Cutlers numbers are better than Brady's his first three years he just has had no defense to help him and is constantly being asked to make come back after come back. By the way the 2008 Saints are actually a lot closer to the 2008 Broncos than the 2007 Pats. Thats the dumbest comparison I have ever seen. That is one of the greatest regular season teams in NFL history. How come no one is Bashing Drew Brees for his 8-8 season? He put up better numbers than Cutler and his team did not make the playoffs, and was only 8-8 as well. Niether team had a good defense or Running game. There Special teams are not all that either. So is Brees now a bad QB too? I think he is pretty good myself. You can't blame a QB for a bad team. Both Brees and Cutler did great jobs. Denver had 15 rushing TD's New Orleans had 20, still both were 8-8, Brees had 34 TD's and a better defense yet were still 8-8. You can't win a game on one side of the ball.

ForeverABearsFan, you bring up Cutler's diabetes and it makes me think. For all this supposed "crybaby" crap, you never heard Cutler complain or make excuses during the bout with diabetes in 2007. In fact, I don't think that hardly anyone at all had anything negative to say about Cutler before the Josh McDaniel trade situation. We'll find out about him, but I still am gobsmacked that anyone would let a QB this promising go just as he's about to blossom as a premier NFL quarterback.

I've been watching the Bears for over forty years. I was a small kid, but I have memories of their '63 NFL title team. Billy Wade was the QB for that team. With the exception of Jim McMahon that's a 46 year Quarterback drought. I'm almost afraid to know how many QBs started for the Bears in that time. Karma has come finally come around to smile on the Bears QB situation.

By the way, Billy Wade played his college ball at Vanderbilt, he was drafted by the Rams but requested a trade to the Bears.

Creighton,

Nowbudy kares.

Brad,

That site is mind-numbingly bad. Two words for the idiots behind it: causation\correlation.

"But McDaniels apparently knew what the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long told you: yards, and passing yards in particular, have virtually no correlation to success in the NFL."

... Unless you make your living as a FARKING QB you morons!

That's some really ground-breaking stuff right there. Considering turnover differential is the one stat that can consistently determine winners over losers in a single game but CANNOT be predicted (at least with any accuracy).

Passing yards is not a strong indicator? Oh why? Is it because a losing team has to pass more when down by larger deficits and teams play Cover-2 or prevent and get gashed? Next they'll tell us how if a team runs for over 130+ yards they are money to win! Know why? HINT: When you're up by 2 TD's you don't tend to pass the ball!

If you want a GOOD site for stats and "what ifs" try Two Minute Warning. I used to write on occassion for them and they have plenty of statistical analysis and tools for any stat junkies.

Here is the dissappointing thing about all the hate Cutler has been getting from a majority of the media. If any of us was told by our bosses that we were going to get the management position and help run the company and found out behind our backs that he was trying to get someone less qualified just because he knows the guy, we would want to quit our jobs as well.

He had every right to want to leave a job and management that didnt want to be honest with him and upfront.

More importantly everybody is trying to say that his numbers didnt matter because they had a losing season. Tell me honestly would Cassell have done any better. NO! The team would have had the same record or worse for 1 reason and 1 reason only. The defense didnt keep people out of the endzone.

Thus Jay will do much better in a Bears uniform for 2 reasons. He is inheriting an offense that at times with a really good quarterback in Kyle, (much respect to Orton led this team like a true Leader would but he aint no probowler) wowed defenses and put up numbers in bunches. He also has a defense thats not going to give up 30 points every Sunday.

So to all the hater when Jay is in the playoffs and hopefully the Bowl, take time to come back and read these comments.

Could somebody explain something to me?

The team hires a 32 year old dude with zero experience as a head coach. The first thing that happens is the new coach get's crossways with the incumbent quarterback. The quarterback is a three year starter, team captain, and an all-pro.

And the prevailing story is the PLAYER is the one who is immature.

Is it just me or is something wrong with this picture?

I just finally sobered up from last Wed., is it really true? Did we really get Cutler?? WOW!!!! BEAR DOWN!!!

Brando:

I agree that the Bears are the most accomplished of all NFL teams in the history of the NFl.

But considering all of the accomplishments the Bears have achieved, tell me Brando what have the Bears accomplished since 1963 two championships? Since 1963 that is 45 years and although in the history of the NFl the BEars haven't really been the dominant team since that time. Yes, they are the best of all time but they better start to win again like they used to if they wish to keep the moniker of the best of all time in the NFL.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the new trend of Chicago championships!!

Another thing wrong with the comparison to New England is that the Patriots had a good running game, the Broncos did not. In fact, the passing game was ALL the Broncos had last season. You won't be successful in the red zone if you don't have a good running game, which explains why the Broncos didn't score a lot. It has nothing to do with Cutler. Considering that opposing defenses focused on stopping the pass, what Cutler did was miraculous. If he and the Bears are successful, he won't pass for anywhere near that many yards again, because he won't have to throw so often.

Furthermore, as Da Church said, you don't lose because you accumulate a lot of passing yards. You're forced to throw the ball a lot when you're already losing and teams tend to play prevent-type defense when they're winning near the end of games, which allows a lot of completed passes.

And BTW, while it's true that passing yards do not correlate with winning, hardly any statistics do. People who really know the game don't place too much emphasis on stats, they watch the game and the players. The Caleb Hanie arguments after the 2008 preseason were a perfect example: those of us who were blown away by Hanie were not blown away by his stats, but by what we saw, which were the "winning quarterback" qualities he showed. I don't know what his stats were and they're irrelevant.

The Cold Hard Fact is this: Josh McDaniels, the latest irritating, arrogant, "I know more than you" turd to fall off the Bill Belichick School of Football Charm tree, arrived in Denver fresh off a year when the Patriots DID NOT make the playoffs because they couldn't win a game when they had to. With the great Matt Cassell.

Pat Bowlen, Broncos owner, apparently had been asleep for the last ten years, woke up, realized Mike Shanahan was running HIS team, making all the decisions, including a lot of lousy draft picks, and decided he better take it back. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm thinking Bowlen didn't think Cutler was part of the problem. More a lousy D and a lot of bad picks.

So he hires the snot-nosed McDaniels and gives him the keys to the car and McDaniels promptly goes out and totals it. I don't know if it went down like the CDFF relates it, but there is no doubt that McDaniels wanted his pwecious Cassell to run his pwecious widdle awfence.

Why? What great coach wouldn't relish the chance to work with a young Pro Bowl QB with all the tools? What coach wouldn't think a great young talent could learn a new system? The kind who thinks he and his system are bigger than the players, bigger than the owner, bigger than the team. It's laughable. He's like Linus, couldn't leave Boston without his blankey, Matt Cassell.

I'm pretty sure Bowlen DID NOT have this in mind when he hired him. But when things blew up he had no choice but to back him up.

Now he has the great Kyle Orton competing with the great Chris Simms to see who gets to play until the Broncos find a franchise QB. That's the kind of "battle" I figured we'd be doomed to watch forever, until Jerry Angela woke up and said "enough!"

By the time Cutler retires, with a lot of hardward and every Bears record, McDaniels should be coordinating for maybe his third or fourth team. He'll join a long list of Belichick clones who are losers and resemble the Master only because they are arrogant, irritating and "know more than anyone else:" Eric Mangenius, FatAss Weiss, and Romeo Crenel.

The Bears are going to go 6-10 with Cutler. I remember how Bears fans anointed Rex Grossman as "the best QB ever" before he started throwing interceptions, then you guys turned on him, despite a Super Bowl appearance. When Cutler under performs like he did in Denver, you guys will be booing him, demanding for another quarterback.
If Cutler couldn't get it done in Denver with a good receiving core, than what makes you think that he will do anything in Chicago with no receiving core. Devin Hester? The guy is like 5'7" and can't even catch the ball. The Bears defense is on the decline. In 2005 and 2006 teams feared the Bears defense, now they don't even bat an eye.

Incidentally, the 2008 Broncos had more rushing yards than the 2007 Patriots. The Broncos rushed 1862 yards, the 2007 Patriots rushed for 1849 yards. The idea that Cutler didn't have a running game is a complete myth.

The Broncos had a terrible defense, but so did most of the opponents they faced late in the season.
Against a bad Raiders defense, Cuter could only put up 10 points.
Against a mediocre Panthers defense, Cutler once again only could put up 10 points.
Against the Bills: 23 points.
And finally against, a porous Chargers defense: 21 points.
In those four games, Cutler did manage to throw 5 interceptions to 2 touchdowns

You honestly think Cutler is the answer, personally I think the Bears were better off with Kyle Orton.

I feel bad for Bronco fans (but not that bad) that three years from now they will still stink, will have wasted their draft picks from the Bears, will be looking for a new coach, and will have to watch Cutler (the guy who could have filled Elway's shoes) reigning in the accolades for years to come. Good thing I am a Bears fan.

I still marvel at the fact that less than a year ago our O line was shaky, had huge questions at running back, and we were "excited" to watch a QB competition between Orton and Grossman. ...and me being the biased Bear fan that I am was still thinking we had a chance. Now we have a young Pro-Bowl quarterback, a magnificent O-line with 1-2 potential hall of famers, and one of the best running backs int the league!

It seems like the football gods have decided that a 23 year drought of excellence is long enough for the greatest franchise in football history. Bears fans...WE'RE BACK!

Kudos to Brad for being the first writer to use the word "cutlery" in reference to Jay Cutler. Very funny and didn't see that one. Now if we could just get you to stop writing about the Bear's picking up wide receivers who snort cocaine or carry weapons into New York nightclubs ...

Cutlerisajoke you are just out of line.

Yes, the Broncos running game had more yards but the difference is they could not run the ball when they had to. They were shut down when they had to put the ball on the ground in a game deciding situation. The rest of the time the running game benefited from Cutler airing it out when defenses weren't expecting it.

Second, the Raiders have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. That is no joke.

The Panthers are not a horrible defense either. They have an excellent pass rush.

The Chargers defense isn't all that bad either. They are one of the rougher D's in the league.

Whatever. I'll take Cutler any day of the week over most other QB's in the league. His ceiling is tremendous.

Yea Cutlerisajoke he did, but you fail to remember that that the NFC central is wayyyyy different than the AFC West and that the Bears will not need him to get 30-40 points a game to win like he was expected to in Denver. NFC central is a D driven division. Cutler will thrive when the pressure is off and make the big plays when needed, but not be expected to do it ALL THE TIME. They expected Grease ball, Plumber and even Cutler to do it like Mr Horse tooth Elway. Well, they couldn't, Cutler might have but McDaniels let him go. Actually, I think Orton will do well here under a system that tells him what to do every play......

The Broncos had a terrible defense, but so did most of the opponents they faced late in the season.
Against a bad Raiders defense, Cuter could only put up 10 points.
Against a mediocre Panthers defense, Cutler once again only could put up 10 points.
Against the Bills: 23 points.
And finally against, a porous Chargers defense: 21 points.
In those four games, Cutler did manage to throw 5 interceptions to 2 touchdowns

You honestly think Cutler is the answer, personally I think the Bears were better off with Kyle Orton.

You fans of Cutler certainly sounds like T.O. fans in Buffalo. If you didn't have him, you wouldn't like him. It's what he does on the field and in the locker room that'll show what most of already know. Bus Cutler isn't taking the Bears anywhere.

Jay Cutler is a great player and person. I don't understand how the media can call him a crybaby and whiner. He's nothing like that. He played the '07 season with unknown health problems and never complained. He also never complained about the lack of defense or blamed them or why he had to carry the team on his every play.

And the worry about what kind of person he is? People in Denver should know he is very invloved in the community. Why so hate Jay Cutler, Bronco fans? you should just wish him the best, because he gave you the best he had for three years. Good luck Jay!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 7, 2009 2:38 PM.

Four Down Territory, April 7: The case for a 2nd round receiver, continued was the previous entry in this blog.

A closer look at two more WR possibilities is the next entry in this blog.

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