Chicago Sun-Times

Joyner: Cutler will make fans remember Grossman quite fondly

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Most are in agreement expectation levels for Jay Cutler in his first season as Bears quarterback are at third-and-long or fourth-and-forever by now. It is going to be challenging for him to meet them, in his first season anyway.

"Anytime a team wants to make a trade like that and give up what they gave up, it's going to be a lot of pressure, a lot of high expectations,'' Cutler said last week after an OTA. "I welcome it. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a good challenge.''

The Bears don't need Cutler to replace John Elway. They need him to be Elway. They've never had that quarterback in franchise history and much is being expected of him even though little has been done with the exception of some new and moving parts on the offensive line. Now that the Bears have their quarterback, they can go out and build around him.

One analyst who is tempering enthusiasm is KC Joyner, who publishes The Football Scientist. No one tackles more game tape than Joyner and he's not convinced Cutler is going to do more than make the Bears' receivers better alternatives in fantasy football.

"Regarding Cutler, I've said many times and I'll say it again, he'll make Bears fans remember Rex Grossman quite fondly,'' Joyner said Thursday in an online chat on

He bases this opinion on what he calls the "bad decision rate" Cutler has in comparison to other quarterbacks. Joyner finds that Cutler is even more of a risk taker than Grossman was. One gunslinger has been replaced by another, a guy who just happens to be carrying a bigger gun.

"His bad decision rate is 5 percent,'' Joyner said. "That means one out of every 20 passes he throws is either an interception or a near interception because of a mistake he made. A high YPA [yards per attempt] can offset a high bad decision rate but the upper limit for offsetting tends to be around somewhere between 3 and 4 percent. Cutler has got to stop making so many mistakes, period.''

Cutler threw 18 interceptions last season in Denver. Only Brett Favre, after a disastrous stretch at season's end, had more with 22. His yards per attempt average was 7.3, which ranked 10th. The thinking is that now without Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to throw to, Cutler could wind up pressing.

"I have no doubt that Cutler will make the Bears wideouts better fantasy picks,'' Joyner said. "I'd also point out that Grossman took the Bears to the Super Bowl and even that wasn't enough for Bears fans to forgive him his mistakes. Cutler forces more passes into coverage than Grossman (he had the highest bad decision percentage in the league last year) and there is no reason to think he won't do that for Chicago as well."

Some have made the Bears their preseason favorite to win the division. Joyner has Minnesota as his selection. He doesn't believe Cutler will impact the Bears in wins/losses. He casts doubt on the switch to the 3-4 defense being made in Green Bay. But he likes Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

"Based on last year's numbers, I would take Rodgers hands down [over Cutler],'' Joyner said. "His YPA, success percentage, vertical numbers and bad decision percentages all fare well or were better than Cutler's.''

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Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Stats, I'm sure they even have stats for comming to the line without your chinstrap buttoned. The thing he forgets to mention is the Broncos D was the second worst in history and he was always playing catch up! Any QB that throws as much as he did last year is going to have that many ints. He doesn't mention Cutler threw the ball like 80 more times than Rogers! Hey I'm a Bears fan and think Rogers is a good QB, but I'd def take Cutler over Rogers! If any QB is working with runningbacks off the street he's def going to throw the ball more if they can't run, and if their always playing from behind you almost got to throw the ball. Cutlers going to light it up this year and the receivers will be fine. GO BEARS!!

Having Matt Forte will better this "bad decision percentage." When nothing is open down field he's a great check down option.

Regarding statistics: It's a good thing they don't have to play the game on paper! (I wonder: What was Brett Favre's "bad decision rate"?)

Anyway: Given his YPA, Cutler needs to improve his bad decision rate by 1 percent to offset the problem? I'll take it.

Last year Culter's interception percentage doubled from 2.1% to 4.2% when the Broncos were down by two scores or more at the time he was throwing the passes. The Broncos defense was so bad last year that 38% of his passes were thrown under those circumstances. The Broncos offense lead the league in yards per drive but they also were last in the league in average starting position on offense (which just shows you how bad the defense was), which probably goes a long way to explain why the Broncos didn't score moe points. Which team lead the league in starting field position on offense? The Bears.

Putting Cutler on a team with a good running back and a decent defense should remove the impetous for him to press the ball into space. He might not throw for 4500 yards but that would be agood thing.

Who is KC Joyner? His opinion is so well respected that he's been hired by ... himself?

'I'd also point out that Grossman took the Bears to the Super Bowl' - NO NO NO. I am so sick of hearing that. Our Defense and Special teams took us to the Superbowl that year, not Rex! He just happened to be on the team that year.
I wish Rex the best of luck. I am sure with the right coach, he may bring a team to a Superbowl someday but he did not bring da bears to the Superbowl.

"I'd also point out that Grossman took the Bears to the Super Bowl..."

This is all you need to read to listen no further to this guy. What an asinine statement. The Bears were taken to the Super Bowl by a good defense, despite Grossman, but ultimately lost it in large part because of him. Cutler is a solid upgrade over Orton. Grossman is a Jekyll and Hyde, sucks, always will, and will probably never play in the NFL again.

By the way, why does this blog, almost as if on cue, always reject my first attempt to post a comment as a "Comment Submission Error," claiming that the anti-spam caption text entered is wrong, even when it's correct? Very annoying. Does anyone else constantly get this?

i concur with the statements about rex. i like him and wish him the best, but i think Brian Griese coulda "took the bears to the superbowl" that year as well. obviously the guy writing this article is a hack.

Actually, I'm never able to post on here! Been reading this blog for the longest time now, and have tried to post a good half dozen times, but since it always fails with an error, I gave up trying. Brad, I've never thanked you before and would like to do so now. This is THE place to go for the most up-to-date and detailed bears news....Brad, YOU RULE! And thank you for all you do. GO BEARS!!

wow, let the numbers do the talking, why even play the game....bad decision rate? If Cutler can make the throws and he can let him throw. I've seen Jay make throws you go wow! Sometimes the play breaks down and you got to make a play. People are not machines, stop analysing them as if they are. How many touchdowns did he have? How many times did Jay make something out of nothing? What is that percentage? Football scientist? I don't want a game manager....I want a winner. Give me the guy who wins. If I want a guy who has a no risk throwing....I'll get Sage Rosen. When the Bears are in the playoffs, email the football scientist and tell him he sucks.
Aaron Rogers? yeah ok....he got a championship team last year snd still didn't make the playoffs. The scientist is insert noun.

yes I get the submission error too.

Don -

Same, the captcha does not work 50% of the time, so I now habitually copy my text before submitting so I can try 2-3 times to get my point across.

"Cutler forces more passes into coverage than Grossman (he had the highest bad decision percentage in the league last year) and there is no reason to think he won't do that for Chicago as well."

Is this guy serious, or is he trying to be funny? I can give you AT LEAST two reaons.

1) Do you really think that the Bears' defense will be ranked 29th or worse this season? My guess would be no. If Cutler is not trying to overcome 14+ point deficits all season long, his bad decision percentage will go down.

2) Have you ever heard of Matt Forte? With a running game and an excellent guy to check down to for short passes, Forte will single-handedly make Cutler's bad decision percentage go down.

There are more reasons than that, but I don't have time to list them all. This KC Joyner guy is a freaking joke!

There's a saying: "The Devil can quote scripture to suit his purpose..."

Same thing is true for stats.

The points previously made about Denver having to come from behind a lot and not having a run game account for something, too.

Plus, I have a question: what does a "near interception" look like, exactly? Is the defender a foot away? Two feet? Are his hands within one yeard of the ball? What the hell is it, a judgement call?

Also, did that "near interception" go for a TD, or an incompletion? (there's a HUGE difference, you know)

In general, I also have to question the guy's agenda--is his Minnesota pick a PROFESSIONAL opinion, or what?

Besides, did Joyner figure in all the times Rex fell while back-pedalling, rolled out into the arms of a waiting defender (sacks), all the botched snaps, fumbles, and OTHER (non-interception) blunders?

You can't quantify the INTANGIBLES.

No matter HOW you slice it--(barring some monstrous unfoseen catastrophe) Cutler is an absolute UPGRADE.

Anyone who says otherwise--no matter what stats they pull out of their asterisk--is FULL OF IT.


1.)Cutler wont have to pass the ball nearly as much with Forte and Jones in the back.

2.)Cutler didnt have 2 of the best TE's on his team (that means he wont always have to go for the deep ball like in Denver)

3.)Forte is a nice check down back, which he didnt have in Denver ( that should also stop him from forcing bad passes down field.)

4.)THIS NOT DENVER!!! This is a whole new offense that is going to base plays of there strength. RUN GAME, TE's.

@ don - lol I wanted to ask the same question.I thought I must have been the only 1.

When trying to post you should always hit your reload button on your browser first after you're finished writing what you have to say because there seems to be a timing feature that will say there is an error.

If you take too long to write your post and then try to submit it you'll get the error. If you get the error page, just hit the back button on your browser and when you get back to your post then hit the reload button. Your comments will still be there but you can then use the new "Captcha" letters and numbers to post. If you can't make out the "Captcha" just keep reloading until you find one you can see. Then post.

Once you get the message that your post was accepted, it may take a few minutes or a few hours, but it will eventually post.

So in his career, Cutler has a completion percentage of 62.5%, and TD-INT of 54-37. And Grossman? 54%, with 33TD, 35INT....Sure we are going to remember Rex fondly...

Opinions are know the rest.

Jimmy has an interesting point in that 38% of Cutler's passes were thrown when the team was down by at least two scores. That says the defense was in attack mode up front, and dropping into coverage, not worried about the run.

Just to note, he (Cutler) has a higher career YPA than Tom Brady, and Brett Favre, which lends to the rest of this post...

Jay Cutler is not a game manager, he is a passer. Rex Grossman is a game killer, not a passer or game manager. A Passer will take more risks, and have a balance of good and bad plays. The thing that separates great players from the rest of the guys are making more good plays than bad ones. The most important stats to me to determine whether a QB is a risk or not are:

His completion percentage--how often does a ball he throws get caught by his team vs. not caught, or caught by the other team. 62.5% is pretty solid. As a point of reference, Favre's career % is 61.6%, and there aren't many who don't consider him among the best of all time. Is he a precise passer like Brady? Nope, but Brady isn't going to knock fingers out of socket 35 yards downfield either when there is a tight window to throw to. Over their first three years, Brady: 61.9%, Favre: 62.4%

TD-INT ratio: How many big plays are associated with the player, positive or negative. Cutler needs to improve in this area, but after essentially 3 years in the league, he is still on the way up. And he has 17 more TDs than INTs, even with throwing 18 of them last year. Brady is about 70% TD, 30% INT. Favre and Cutler are almost identical at around 60-40. Over their first three seasons, Favre was 58-42, and Brady was 64-36

So while his logic makes sense, it isn't necessarily a definitive measure of what a player is capable of. How many teams would trade their current QB to get Cutler? That might tell you more than any statistical rating could. Can he improve? Surely...Is Rex Grossman a better alternative? Hardly...

Remember Rex Grossman with fondness??? I can see it now..."Hey, remember when Grossman gave away the Super Bowl with a lame duck interception when he just lobbed the ball up there? Good times, good times..." "How about the time when he was having trouble fielding the snap from Olin? Boy, that one hurt my sides....""I long for the days of single digit or lower QB ratings....we didn't realize how good we had it back then..."

I like a lot of what Joyner does, but there comes a point where you are just keeping yourself busy by creating stats. Troy Aikman has an efficiency ratings system which seems pretty good, and the Broncos were 9th in the league for 2008 with Cutler. The Bears? 22nd. As I said before, opinions....

Everybody has a system, just like they do when betting on horses, or the NCAA tourney...Some people rely on science as a comfort, others go with gut feel, and others go by which mascot is prettier. At the end of the day, sports isn't math and science, and it's not all gut instinct either. And it certainly doesn't come down to who's prettier. It is a conglomeration of all possible factors, and even then it's a crapshoot.

Here's some more fodder for the Grossman haters.

When you put it that way I was probably going to remember Grossman fondly regardless of what Cutler does. Grossman is not talented enough to carry a team on his back, but was developing into a decent quarterback. Quarterback is about 75% moxie. After 2006 they stuck him with a bad running back behind a marginal O-line throwing to second and third tier receivers. He didn't have the cast, and was not able to make plays that he had been making his whole life. He lost his confidence. He needs a change of scenery, a little time and an opportunity in a better situation.

We really don't know how Cutler will play, but this GIGO Joyner dude sure doesn't either. I love fantasy football stats too, but they should never be confused with reality.

Cutler also threw 616 passes last year, which means that he only threw an interception on 2.9% of his attempts, barely higher than the league average of 2.8%. His career interception rate (3.0%) is a lot lower than Rex's (3.6%), and his career ypa is a lot higher (7.4 vs. 6.4), as is his career completion percentage (62.5% vs. 54.2%). It's a silly comparison to make.

Cutler vs. Rodgers is a more interesting comparison - their performances last year were pretty close. The one big thing that Joyner leaves out is that Rodgers took a lot more sacks than Cutler (6.0% percent of dropbacks vs. 1.8%), and had more fumbles because of it (10 vs. 5). We'll see this year if that was just because of Cutler's OL in Denver, or if he really is good at avoiding the sack.

Kool! A Bear Gunslinger!!! Finally!!!

Does that tell you anything KC?

Actually I remember Jay was told to take chances as wea manning in Indy, a young QB has to take chances to learn.

Sigh !!

Another white collar expert making odd statements backing them up with fancy formula's and trends.

I look at it this way.... Grossman in 2006 had what ? 20 TD's and 23 INT's right ?? If we could wave the "magic wand" and replace him with the 2008 version of Jay Cutler then thr Bears probably go 15-1 and trounce the Colts in the SB !!!! Cutler finished last season with over 4500 yards, 25 TD's and 18 INT's. Those are much better stats then sexy Rexy best season as a Bear. If it wasn't for Devin Hester and an above average defense the Bears wouldn't have made it to the SB back in 2006 to begin with. Grossman didn't lead us anywhere, the ST's and defense did that inspite of Rex and his 0.0, 1.3, 10.2, 23.7, 36.8, 64.9, 68.3 QB ratings....

The thing that Joyner doesn't consider is that Cutler has been a starting QB in this league for just 2.5 seasons. He just turned 26-years old and hasn't even hit his prime years yet. The sky is the limit for Cutler. Arron Rogers is solid, he also had the advantage of learning from one of the leagues great QB's for (3) season prior to stepping onto the FB field. Cutler became a starter in November of his rookie season so he learned on the job unlike Arron. I would expect that Rogers be more polished at this point in their careers but Cutler will catch up quickly now that he is playing for a team and City that wants him here.

Joyner should also consider that Kyle Orton helped the Bears win (9) games last season even though we had dissapointments in the likes of Booker, Lloyd, Willimas injury, St.Claire being a turnstyle and inujury all over the defense. I fully expect that the new additions to the O-line, the departure of some underperfoming veterans and the infusion of talented youngsters will make this Bears team better then last years version. Cutler is better in just about every QB measurable compared to Kyle so it is odd that Joyner feels that Cutler won't help improve the teams win/loss record this season.

Consider the intangibles.

Cutler will make opposing defense think twice before loading the box to stop Forte. Cutler's accuracy and big arm will make our young WR core better. The Ball will be thrown better and on-time. The Offense should beable to put even more points on the board. TOP should go up with Cutler improving our piss-poor 3'rd down and short yardage conversion rates of last season.

All that will allow the defense to stay OFF the field more. Less time on the field will mean less injuries suffered by our defense. A fresher Bears Defense will be in better position to close games out in the second half instead of tiring out late. With bigger leads the defense will beable to make more plays on the ball as opposing Offenses try to play catch up.

It is all shaping up to be a great year for the Bear regardless of what KC Joyner might think.

Go Bears !!

As I've said many, many, times . . . worst trade in team history.

To bensonsucks

Actually it was 23 TD's and 20 INTS for Grossman, not the other way around.

""Actually it was 23 TD's and 20 INTS for Grossman, not the other way around.""

Yeah, I realized that after I posted it... tx

To those fellow posters who have been having trouble with the coptcha.

I had similar issues and found out that all you really need to do is hit the preview button before you type the cotcha. It will refresh the page and give you a different set of code that you type in. It works for me error free every time...

Also, if you get sent to the error page don't panic and think you lost your post. Just hit you'r web browser BACK button and it takes you back to your original post intact with a new coptcha code....

DON'T hit the return to the Inside the Bears link because you will return to the main page..... just hit the web browser back key and your fine. You won;t have to bother with copying your comments before hand ect....

Go Bears !!

KC Joyner can kiss my ass. Comparing Cutler to Grossman is like comparing apples to oranges. Let's set aside these facts first:

Cutler can avoid the sack and make plays on the move; Grossman never could. That was the revelation of the Monday night Cards game. After that, every team put pressure on him and he simply couldn't handle it.

Second, Cutler by and large has played for terrible D's. Of course he'd have to throw more, his team was giving up wads of points and his running game was putrid. Grossman's best year, the Bears were a top 5 D, with a good running game. For him to throw 20 picks (and Cutler has never thrown that many) shows how much he freaked out from the pressure and made bone headed plays.

Now, let's get to the numbers that count: completion percentage, YPA, TDs, INTs, and QB rating.

Here are the lines for Cutler's first three years:
2008 62 percent 7.3 YPA 25 TDs 18 INTs 86 rating
2007 63.6 7.5 20 14 88.1
2006 59 7.4 9 6 88 (took over for Jake Plumer with five games to play).

Grossman's last two years:
2007 54 6.3 4 7 66.4
2006 55 6.7 23 20 73.9

Do these look even remotely similar? Any completion percentage under 60 is considered poor. Any YPA under 7 ditto. QB ratings under 80 are bad.

Grossman got progressively worse, losing his confidence and taking more bad chances. Cutler has been consistent or gotten better in the categories that count. And as I mentioned, I chalk the INTs to the need to throw due to crappy running game and D.

This guy does not get rattled. He takes chances, but he doesn't just fling the ball up for grabs, like Rex. There's every reason to believe he will get better and smarter, use his running game and protect leads if the Bears D can play better than Denver's, which shouldn't be too hard.

Rodgers is the best QB in the division. Cutler is a crybaby who cries when people try to improve the team he's on. He should go cry on the bench. Bears will wish they had Rex back. Go Pack!!!!

Hey Mike:

There were NEVER any reports of Cutler being a whiner or crybaby until McDaniels became Denver's coach. He was named captain by his teammates in Denver. Those teammates have NEVER said one bad word about him, same as his career with Vanderbilt.

Don't believe everything you hear

What are you ? IGNORANT Or you do believe everything you hear from the main stream media ? ? ? ? ?

It's funny.... comparing Rex's stats to Cutler's stats. Blah, Blah, Blah...Rex had crap for a supporting cast and was the scapegoat for that sham of an offense. Poor RB, poor line, and poor receivers. Orton's deep ball was 8 yards. Say what you will clowns. Grossman with Forte and the line the Bears have now would be very successful. Grossman didn't lose the SB. The entire team sucked in the SB.

Interesting stats, but sorry, I don't think Bears fans will miss Rex Grossman sacking himself in the Superbowl. As others have said, Rex was definitely not the only one to blame for the horrible 2007 season, but if he was as good as some here are claiming, another team would have picked him up by now. Joyner's stats show one thing: Cutler is a young quarterback and not a finished product. He is only one year older than the defensive tackle from Mississippi taken in the first round in this year's draft. If he puts up the same stats that he had last year for the next five years, that will be better than what we've had but I will be disappointed. I expect that he will continue to improve (except I think/hope his total yards will go down with a decent running game). I think the reason some people do not like this trade is because they are too obsessed with draft picks. Yes, every trade is a risk, but so is every first round draft pick. Even if Cutler remains the same and never improves, he will probably still be better than the two first round draft picks the Bears gave up.

Where did this "bad decision rate" stat come from? From my point of view an "almost int" is either a catch made by the offense or an incomplete so those already are counted in with the "official" stats. And, as said by other posters, when playing from behind most of the season a QB will have to throw the ball more and that will always lead to more ints.
For those that blame the o-line for most of Grossmans mistakes do they forget the amount of times that he fumbled the ball while taking the snap from center? All he had to do was grab the ball when it was put right into his hands and he failed at that so many times. Or how about the amount of time that he fell down while in his backpedal?

""comparing Rex's stats to Cutler's stats. Blah, Blah, Blah...Rex had crap for a supporting cast and was the scapegoat for that sham of an offense. Poor RB, poor line, and poor receivers. Orton's deep ball was 8 yards. Say what you will clowns. Grossman with Forte and the line the Bears have now would be very successful. Grossman didn't lose the SB. The entire team sucked in the SB.""

Orton did a pretty good job last year with his 8-yard deep ball considering and crap of a supporting cast... The O-line was patched up and he had barely anyone to throw to at WR.. Booker, Lloyd, Davis, Rideau, Bennett (who didn't sniff the field).

Grossman best season was 2006, he had proven commodities in Thomas Jones, Berrian, Booker a solid O-line that was rated in the top-5 in the league that year and he still posted some of the worste QB ratings in league history. Shoot, even Cedric Benson had a solid season in 2006 posting 647 yards, 4.1 YPCA, 8 TD's, 33 FD's in 15-games as Jones's backup.

Bottom line is that Orton beat out Grossman for the starting job in 2008. That in a nut-shell says it all. Orton and his 8-yard deep ball beat out gunslinging Sexy Rexy. Now, you are a homer if you truly believe that Rex or Orton can even hold Jay Cutler's jock strap.

Go Bears !!

This has already been said numerous times, but I can't resist chiming in also: People who don't understand the game rely on statistics. All you have to do is watch Cutler, Grossman, and Rodgers play to see that Cutler is head and shoulders above Rodgers and that Grossman is not an NFL quarterback. If you can't see that, you don't understand the game. Period.

IMHOtep what game were you watching my friend? Games hinge at this level on a teams response to a error. The Colt defense had a easier tim after that big turnover forcing the Bears to cut back playcalling on both sides of the ball. Yes it was a team effort but Grossman was like the kid who left the door open and the dog got out, his complete meltdown dashed any hopes of catching the Colts and the coaching staff/administration failed to snatch Rex settle him down for a few series then try again game was momentum wise gone.

jay cutler is a beast i'm a broncos fan and he was the only reason we won games our d sucked he allways had to come back and win they never had an easy win. cutler did have a lot of Ints but he threw the ball a lot because all our runnin backs were injured and we were down to our rookie fb p

Or one may look at it another way.....thanks to Jay Cutler (and a really bad Broncos D) in 2008 Brandon Marshall nearly doubled his career numbers (of his 3 prior pro-seasons in receptions, yards, and TDs). Eddie Royal was a rookie w/Jay Cutler.
I believe the more intriguing question and article next season will be how Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal will do with Kyle Orton at the helm. Orton will be w/out his favorite pass catching TE's Olsen & Desomnd Clark (I imagine they would rate high on any teams roster). Will the same be said about Marshall and Royal after being on the receiving end of Orton's floaters?
Kyle Orton was used to having a stout defense in the majority of games he started as a Bear. He has come along way from his rookie season "game management for Bear's D". He has shown maturity and moxie in a couple 'come from behind' games last year (especially the Atlanta game which he was oh so close to being the hero).
The Bear's restocked D and Lovie taking the play-calling from Babich, I have little concern about Jay and anyone on the other side of the ball. Orton was never counted on bringing the Bears back from three TD's as a Bear.
Mr. Joyner, this isn't baseball, so chew on that before you start churning out stats and basing picks on stats alone.

Joyner 1, Bears fans 0. 4 pics tonight. Joyner is right on so far...

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 29, 2009 10:49 AM.

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