Chicago Sun-Times

Pass happy: Just how many wins is Jay Cutler worth for Bears?

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How many wins is Jay Cutler worth?

With expectations for this Bears' season at an all-time high for late July, at least in the last decade, that is a question that is central to a lot of what is being discussed. Bears fans are banking on 10 or more. Now that the offseason is winding to a close (Buffalo opened its training camp Saturday), we can get down to business on the field.

In the New York Times' Fifth Down Blog, Brian Burke tackled just that issue this morning. Seems like the New York Times likes covering Cutler and the Bears these days, probably a good indication of the national focus that is going to be on the team this season. Burke is a guest blogger there who has his own site, Advanced NFL Stats. Burke looks at how much better the Bears should be with Cutler as the trigger man compared to Kyle Orton. To do so, he focused on a statistic called Adjusted Yards Per Attempt. Basically, it's yards per attempt with a penalty for interceptions.

"YPA is a great stat in a lot of ways. It beats total passing yards because teams far behind in the second half can easily generate lots of total yardage in "trash time." But interceptions are a critical part of the equation, so I like Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (AdjYPA), which is YPA adjusted by a 45-yard penalty for each interception. A 45-yard adjustment is the accepted statistical equivalent for an interception. AdjYPA certainly doesn't factor in everything, but it encapsulates most of passing performance into one handy number."

Cutler's YPA was 7.3 last season, 10th in the league and a full yard better than the league average. Orton checked in at 6.39. To put Orton's number in perspective, Rex Grossman was at 6.65 during 2006 and prior to that the Bears had a string of quarterbacks averaging under 6.0. The last Bears' quarterback to average more than 7.0? Erik Kramer in 1998. Too bad he couldn't play the entire season.

Burke does the math and Cutler's AdjYPA comes out to 5.8, well ahead of the league average of 4.6. The league average is exactly where Orton came in--4.6.

"How many wins are those 1.2 yards of difference worth? Based on N.F.L. team records from 2002 through 2008, we can estimate the win value of those 1.2 yards using a statistical tool called multi-variate regression. A regression can take several variables and weigh them according to how much difference they each make on an outcome variable. Using offensive and defensive running and passing efficiencies, turnover rates and penalty rates to estimate team wins, my handy regression software says that every yard of AdjYPA above average typically equates to about 1.8 wins.

"So for Cutler and the Broncos, 5.8 AdjYPA equates to +2.1 wins above average. Since Orton's 4.6 AdjYPA was exactly average, his performance was neutral with +0.0 wins. We could say that: Historically, all else being equal -- with an otherwise average running game, defense, and special teams -- a team would have won eight games with Orton's numbers and would have won around 10 with Cutler's numbers."

Now, Cutler doesn't bring the receivers he had with him in Denver or the offensive line. While the Broncos put up nice rushing statistics last season, he should do better with Matt Forte in the backfield than a different back every other week. Burke isn't locking the Bears in for double-digit wins this season, but the analysis helps put into context the value of stats like YPA and AdjYPA.

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Like it! Atleast someone put some work into figureing out his claims. A lot better than what KC Joyner puts up! This seems to make a lot of sence

All math aside, bottom line is Jay Cutler is simply a better quarterback than Kyle Orton. Cutler has a gun, maybe one, if not the, strongest arms in the game today. Everyone knows the stronger armed QB's throw more picks, its just the nature of the beast. But the key with Cutler is his completion percentage, which career wise is 62.4%. Also, his passes of 20 plus yards are up in the 60's completion percentage wise also, this is key and why Cutler might be worth a couple more wins a season. Also, Cutler has the ability to buy time in the pocket, unlike Orton or Grossman did. This will help Chicago's o-line and receivers big time. So if you add up the big arm, accuracy, and mobility in the pocket it = maybe 2-3 more wins for the Bears.

Think about this, with Chicago's basically same line, receiver's, and defense last season, they lost to the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Falcons to a combined 8 points. Just imagine if we would have had Cutler for them three games, I'm thinking 2-3 more wins easy. Also, think if Chicago would have had Cutler in week 10 when Chicago lost to the hottest team in football at the time the Titans by 7 points. I bet with Cutler Chicago would have won that game. I say get excited. Bears GM Jerry Angelo has done a hell of a job the last couple seasons giving the Bears one of the hottest young runners in Matt Forte, and now one of the games hottest young quarterbacks Jay Cutler. I say the Bears win around 12 games this season, only time will tell GO BEARS!!

By Kevin Armstead on July 26, 2009 10:53 AM
All math aside, bottom line is Jay Cutler is simply a better quarterback than Kyle Orton. Cutler has a gun, maybe one, if not the, strongest arms in the game today.

Really Kevin? I could have sworn you saying all last season how Orton was the best QB to ever play the game. Oh and don't forget Rex in all his glory with a 59.7 qb rating. The greatest Qb combination to ever be on the same team right Kevin? Even better then when the 49ers had Steve Young and Joe Montana.

"So for Cutler and the Broncos, 5.8 AdjYPA equates to +2.1 wins above average. Since Orton's 4.6 AdjYPA was exactly average, his performance was neutral with +0.0 wins. We could say that: Historically, all else being equal -- with an otherwise average running game, defense, and special teams -- a team would have won eight games with Orton's numbers and would have won around 10 with Cutler's numbers."

This seems to make more sence than the garbage Joyner has been came up with. Like you said Brad it still doesn't take into account things like receivers or coaching and even weather condition but if the numbers tells you that Cutler is better then Orton then your doing something write.

Oh and yes this is the real Creighton. Some crazy desperate looser has been pretending to be me but he'll never be as good as the real thing. Why he even trys I dont know but he will never win. Hahahaha!

I just pray to God that we can get an experienced receiver before the season begins or else the entire trade would have been a waist. I would have said the same thing if we signed a vet receiver while having Orton. you shouldn't have one without the other.

The Bears haven't just added Jay Cutler. The offensive line is greatly improved, and they should have much better play from the offense, including the receivers, because 1) Rashied Davis will be back in the slot where he belongs and will not drop so many passes, 2) Devin Hester will continue to improve, 3) the addition of Michael Gaines will improve the short yardage running game and 4) Earl Bennett and other young receivers will play well. All but the last one should be a given, and because of them the Bears are already much better on paper than they were last season, when they were 9-7. Even without No. 4), the Bears should win at least 12 games based on these improvements in addition to improving at QB. Of course, the game's not played on paper, so I'm anxiously awaiting actually seeing the Bears do it.

Cutler gives us a dimension that was just not there with Orton. Orton was very good 20 yards and in, but going over the top was something he could not do. I liked Orton. He was a blue collar type guy, but I grew tired of watching him over/under throw Hester constantly. Hell, he missed Marty Booker by 10 yards at Carolina. Booker smoked the coverage and was free down the sideline. Orton wasnt even close with the throw. Cutler is good to turn the tide in at least 3 games. 9-7 wins the north again. This team should have no problem going 11-5. Well, thats if....the O and D lines provide some push.

Alright...I'll bite this time.

Andrew, I never said Kyle Orton was the best quarterback ever?? What I did say was that Kyle Orton was a pretty good quarterback, and I still feel he is. And Andrew, calm down with the Grossman stuff, I've always been a bigger Orton fan. I think Orton should have a pretty good season in Denver, but we got the better quarterback. Remember, Orton was one of the main reasons Denver made the trade.

Oh yeah, one last thing Andrew, got my fanboy Craig Steltz poster hanging high, you should to GO BEARS!!

Kyle played pretty well last year, but Jay is definately the better QB. Bear fans are going to love watching Jay because he is a real play maker at QB; he is mobile, accurate and strong. Plus our O-line is improved this year. Jay won't throw as many picks this year because he will be asked to do less; our defense is better then Denver. It's going to be fun watching Da Bears this year! Go Bears!

Andrew, now I get why my earlier post got you so angry, its because I pointed out that Bears GM Jerry Angelo was responsible for bringing in one of the leagues hottest young runners in Matt Forte, 2008 2nd round pick by one MR. Jerry Angelo. And was responsible for putting together this off-seasons top trade for Jay Cutler, who yes, is one of the leagues top young quarterbacks. So, in just two seasons, Bears GM Jerry Angelo, I'll say it one more time for emphasis, Bears GM Jerry Angelo was responsible for getting the Chicago Bears one, if not the, hottest young quarterbacks in the league, and one of the leagues better young running backs. To me, thats some pretty good work by the GM. So Andrew, don't hate, appreciate the fact that our team has one of the leagues better GM's. So GO ANGELO!! and GO BEARS!!

P.s. Andrew, even Kevin Bumstead knew that GO BEARS!!


Like the new analysis so much more than that subjective analysis from Joyner with no real stats to back him up.

The Bears on paper should win 11 to 12 games given Cutler and an improved D. With that being said, My best guess is 11-5 since the Bears might split with both the Packers and Queens and this scenario allows for three more loses during the season, with poor coaching (whether play calling or lack of adjustments) playing a role in at least a few of the losses. We will see.

Cutler adds the QB dimension that has been missing in the past although I believe it won't be until mid season when the timing between the QB and receivers truly starts to gel. I think it may be a bumpy start because of the young and inexperienced wide receivers and the QB connection as noted above. Also I still like the idea of somehow picking up at least one vet WR, like Hackett or consider trading some vets for Marshall should it present itself as an option.

Chicago 11-5
Queens 10-6
GB 7-9
Detroit 5-11

The key for the year is, what D do we get this year? If it is a D that returns to greatness, the Bears may even win the SuperBowl but if it is a defense that is middle of the pack or worse, forget about it, even though the team may still make the playoffs. Regardless the Bears will be in a rebuilding mode for the D for years to come at linebacker and in the D line not withstanding the free safety position if this years expeiment does not work.

Can't wait, it might be special!!

I am not a huge Orton fan but we lost atleast a couple of close games because the D could not protect the lead (think Atlanta and Carolina). That would have brought our record to 11-5 instead of 9-7. Could we have done that with a QB that sucks? Nope. So our offense was in decent shape.
A lot of the predictions on this seasons record are rubbish if you ask me. There are so many factors: new players, new plays, new coaches that come into play for every team. And each of those factors play into a team's record. Just because we were 9-7 with Orton does not mean we are going to have a better record this season (although I hope and pray and pray that our WRs catch more than they drop). Being cautiously optimistic is the key.

By Kevin Armstead on July 26, 2009 2:07 PM
Alright...I'll bite this time.

"Andrew, I never said Kyle Orton was the best quarterback ever?? What I did say was that Kyle Orton was a pretty good quarterback, and I still feel he is. And Andrew, calm down with the Grossman stuff, I've always been a bigger Orton fan. I think Orton should have a pretty good season in Denver, but we got the better quarterback. Remember, Orton was one of the main reasons Denver made the trade."

Sorry Kevin but that is not true. You actually did say last year that Orton was the best QB in football and that he had the strongest arm in the NFL. Now grated you said it during the first half of the Bears season after the beat the Eagles and you where high as a kite I am sure. Now if you meant it or were just experiencing Kevin Armstead Bear euphoria that is another question. However you did say it. Now I am inclined to blame the euphoria you often experience at the hands of the Bears on this one sense you have never tried to support the claim after the first half of the season. But you also cannot blame someone for pointing out you said it.

By Creighton on July 26, 2009 12:39 PM

"Oh and yes this is the real Creighton. Some crazy desperate looser has been pretending to be me but he'll never be as good as the real thing. Why he even trys I dont know but he will never win. Hahahaha!"

Whats up single white female, still trying to copy the best. Yeah nobody will ever figure out it's you Brando. Dude you could not be any Gayer if you tried. Due your fake Creighton is not even close to being as awsome as Brando Schrute aka the real Brando. Nothing you said is even funny. People love Schrute. Does it bother you that even when I am you people like me better and respect my opinion and want to hear what I have to say about the Bears. It must have killed you when people where like where is Creighton, we want Creighton back. I gave you like two months to post some actual comments and you couldn't do it. You are just sad and pathtetic. Your family must be ashamed of you. Go on, back to the celler with you, float away you fairy.

Really though Brando please keep it up, you amuse me, your like a toy I bounce off the wall for fun. I new you would do something like this, you try to copy everything I do after all, I thin kI will start posting your responses for you, I am much better at it anyway and at least then I will be able to have a conversation with an equal. By the way you still have not said you like Cutler. But you do continue to mention Orton. You should be a Bronco fan, then you could tell all the Bronco fans how yur the only real Bronco fan and how they should sign Metcalf to play guard.

As for this blog, better stats then Joyner for sure, but one huge thing to consider that nobody has mentioned. These stats are created from last years teams. This years teams are different, thats why cannot use math to solve football, it's one giant variable with no real constant.

keool! The arguments and C man are back!!! Thats perfect - just in time for camp too :)
Actually Bear in Patriots is correct on that our D did lose quite a few games which all this stats BS (thats short for baseball) does not account for, and lets not forget all the drops the WR/TE had last year as well. Not to mention the ppoor play calls by Mr. Turner. To say that Cutler vs anyone last year is way can we even compare that ppoor team that resembled a powder puff team. (was that 37-3? or 33-7 Pack>???
So can we PUlease forget the last 2 years and move a loooong lil doggy?

So the question should be (no disrespect intended Brad as you do keep it moving and entertaining) How many wins will Da Bears have this year? with Cutler.

and The number I saw above 10 was pretty close - I am thinking 11 - I have not went over the schedule yet.. but 11-12 seems quite likely but only dependant on the D, Now I did appreciatte the stats above - but Orton was/is a decent QB in fact one of the best we have had since Mac, (not saying alot) - drops/D/Coaching/injury and he still almost got us in the playoffs so to try to blame Orton for the past 2 years of powder puff football is just wrong. We have a new start - we are as excited as I have seen in decades, The fact JA got us some amunition this year does not make up for the blanks he made us pay for in years past.
lastly I ke Steltz as I feel anticipation is the name of the game at that position.
D!@# I can't wait for Cutler to make us all forget the past years!
Cmn Url/Harris get in the game this year!!!

Wow!!"Multivariate regression" for football analysis! What is the football world coming to? I suppose that kind of analysis is as good as any, but the number of independent variables, like wind, rain injuries, home field, opponents' ability, etc., make such predictions of x many more touchdowns resulting from Cutler's presence iffy at best and ludicrous at worst. Even so, I liked the post. It reinforces Shakespeare's " What fools these mortals be" comment.

By far, this´s the best offseason in the las decade for the bears.....but if Bennett doesn´t play to the next level, it ´s gonna put a lot of pressure in Cutler and GM....there ´s no room for a less than 3500 yds passing yards for Cutler......we need at least a veteran receiver.......or at least, someone wtih more experience!.....

Bear in Patriots town & randy, I agree Orton doesn't play defense, and I'm not putting the full blame for the Atlanta and Carolina games on him. But my point with Cutler is he should help our defense by simply being able to sustain more drives than Orton could. Cutler, unlike Orton, can move around in the pocket and buy time for his receivers. I just think with a QB like Cutler, and his ability to sustain more drives than Orton could, might have made Chicago's defense more effective by not having to be on the field so much after all them 1 2 3 and outs. And the outcome of the Atlanta & Carolina games might have been a little different with a QB like Cutler. Again, I realize the drops aren't Orton's fault, but being a statue in the pocket doesn't exactly help the wideouts or offensive linemen for that matter. Cutlers ability to buy time in the pocket and accuracy should make Chicago a more effective offense than with a QB like Orton. And a few less 1 2 3 and outs should help Chicago's defense, which is based on speed, so the more their on the field, the less effective they are. That was my point.

Creighton, I never said Orton was the best QB in the league, go look through the archives if you don't believe me. I do think Orton is a good QB, but Jay Cutler is clearly the better quarterback. Again, I never said Orton was the best QB in the league. Thats like saying you said "I want the Bears to draft Tim Tebow." You didn't say that, but you did mention you thought the Bears would take him if he would have come out. Just a prime example of Creighton taking things people say out of context to try and insult them for having a different opinion than his. Creighton, remember a few facts, first, Joe Thomas plays for the Browns, not the Saints. Bears GM Jerry Angelo was responsible for bringing in Matt Forte, one of the leagues best young runners, and Jay Cutler, the leagues best young QB. So hats off to Angelo. And Craig Steltz, a player you called a bust [after only his rookie season] might start at free safety for the Bears, and might not be half bad, we'll see? And Creighton, lastly, unlike you, I'm happy when one of the Bears players has a little success. I notice last year during the season when the Bears win, your no where to be found on these blogs? But when they lose, your right behind anyone that actually supports the team cutting them down for supporting the team...why?? I'm not down with the whole fair wheather fan thing. And coming after [or thinking your coming after] fans that choose to support the team no matter what. I'm a Bears fan, I'm gonna support whoever is starting and hope them the best. I'm also not down with the whole crybaby thing, so Creighton, GO STELTZ!! GO CHRIS WILLIAMS!! GO JERRY ANGELO!! and as always GO BEARS!!

Good to see that Creighton is back. He really brings up the mood in the room!!

National attention??? Is that why we only have one Monday Night game, because teams that get a lot of national attention and interest tend not to draw many viewers??? Is that how it works? REALLLLLY???? REALLlY????
The Broncos were built around a passing game and a passing quarterback. Our quarterback merely recieves the ball from the center. He then takes the very same ball he just recieved from the center and places it in the belly- between the arms, top and bottom
postioned, of another player who has been designated as the running back. This running back then proceeds to run with the ball he just received from the quarterback for approximately 3-4 yards until he is met by a player from the opposing team who tackles him to the ground, where a referee will signal the end of the play from a blow
on his whistle. The process will be repeated for approx 30-35 times a game.
You see, the Bears are a blind man(or woman) who just received a
Porshe. We have no practical use for it, we just like to be able
to show it to others.

Great comments the one thing I was wondering is how does his formula account for YAC as Cutler had two RECEIVERS in the top twenty in the league in YAC with Marshall and Royal. Doesnt that contribute to his YPA average ?

Somebody actually wasted time on trying to come up with a formula for that garbage? What a waste of time. Pointless statistics. Statistics point out trends of the past, they don't foretell the future.

stuckinwisconsin...the bears have 5 prime time games. get a clue. most teams dont get more than 1 monday night game a year.

Defenses depend on quarterbacks as well. I appreciated the work Orton did but was he a clutch performer. I would love to see his effective his fourth quarter stats were ,but I'm willing to go on a limb here and say a lot of 3 and outs. A quarterback that can effectively make first downs is huge. That's not to say that receivers didn't drop some passes but Orton did not consistently make the plays even when they were there. Now that's something u can factor in this equation. How great was our field position last year how are there not and I'm not greedy just a few more field goals at least on the board. We left so many points on the field that I wanted to cry. Can Cutler get us more first downs absolutely will that in turn effect the defense absolutely. By the way if stats meant nothing people wouldn't get paid Millions of dollars over the course of there upcoming seasons. Stats give us a general measure that everyone can point out and see on a position by position basis where we can evaluate how a person play effects there team. Or we all wouldn't be worried about the receiver position lack of stats or the d-lines lack of sacks last year. I want my quarterback to get first downs that's what the best do that what we just got. So yes Orton helped us lose those games a lot more than people want to admit. where did we rank in making first downs that's the reasons we lost


Your name says it all. You have nothing to base your opinion of comparing the Bears ability to handle an elite passer to a blind man getting a porshe.

For those that have their heads up their ARS (you) they in fact are as blind as the man with the Porshe, so if it is stuck, pull your head out and see again.

See the Bears kick the hel- out of the Pack and the Queens, win the division, NFC Championship and maybe the superbowl and the packers will go running home to mommy like scared little girls.

The Bears lost the Carolina game mainly because they got nothing out of their offense in the second half, and because even in the first half the offense kicked field goals when they should have scored touchdowns. Greg Olsen, who many here think more highly of than I do, dropped how many easy catches in that game? So many I don't remember.

I think what StuckinWisconsin meant was that it does little good for a running team like the Bears to acquire a top QB, because he'll mainly be handing off. While this is clearly wrong -- in today's game, even so-called running teams pass at least as much as they run -- the comment has at least some merit. I don't agree with it and certainly hope he's wrong, but who the QB is matters a lot more to a passing offense than to a running one.

It's another way of evaluating the performance of a quarterback, but a lot of factors can effect those stats. A better offensive line, a better one-two punch at RB, better defensive performance, etc. (Notice the ambiguous non-comment for WRs.) A simple comparison of QB stats from last year won't do justice because this is a very different team.

Rex Grossman was a passing quarterback(perhaps the most natural passer in the league-what? you can't believe I just said that?). We are not and will not be
a passing team. Wait til you see what Cutler looks like in the middle of the season.He will get tired of the dinking and dunking,just like Rex. If you think Milton Bradley is an a%% hole,
wait til Jay is held accountable for something. He might well as be
the biggest hole in Chicago(next to Ken Harrelson of course) by the end of the season. This is definitely not Kyle Orton...wagging his tail...doing what ever he is told .....just to please his master.
This is a terrible train wreck that we are watching...even though
the train has not left the station yet.
Good luck Rex!!!!!
your pal,
soon to be stuckinmini

Wrigley Field Bear:

Hear you, but just do not like Packer fans taking shots at the Bears!!

He must be a Packer Fan to say something like that?


I know what you're saying but there are A LOT of statistical analysis that really do translate well to football. I have worked on several projects either on my own or with various websites. I always enjoy the work because 1) it's interesting and 2) it pays well!

The difference is that this is TRUE mathematics and not KC Joyner who doesn't seem to know that causation > correlation ... or his arse from a hole in the ground. When people take into account true mathematical analysis (whether you agree or not) at least they are developing a theory and testing it. That can lead to greater inquiry and research.

What I hate are guys like KC Joyner or Marc Lawrence or any other scammer out there who use statistics without even the slightest inclination as to what they mean. Joyner is a dipshiat with an abacuss. Lawrence is a scamdicapper with a database and no idea how to use it ... and both are weapons-grade tardbuckets.

I just have to go after Ish a bit here. He said "you shouldn't have one without the other." This referring to if you have a QB, then you better have the receivers to go with him.

Then I rebuttle. Do you, Ish, think that they would be better off with none of the 2 then? Who you crappin?

Relax about the Wideouts. It is like none has any faith. Wasn't Colston a 7th rounder? Is it not true that every player drafted must have had great success beating coverage in college? In fact dominate in college to even be drafted?

These are all terrific athletes, and a great team leader, like Cutler, will help along the process for the young receivers.

I put 100 bucks down on Bears versus Steelers in teh Superbowl. I have a few friends from Pittsburg, and the odds are 27-1 that both make the superbowl. If they do, then that is my ticket to the game. Oh yea.

Go Bears!

I've been telling all you idiots for 3 years that Orton was the worst QB in Bears history!! I hope some of you believe me now!!! The truth hurts, doesn't it!! ORTON STILL SUCKS!! I thank God everyday that he is gone!!BEAR DOWN!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 26, 2009 9:30 AM.

5 days to Camp: The names change, special teams remains same was the previous entry in this blog.

4 days to Camp: It's wide open when it comes to Bears' receivers is the next entry in this blog.

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