Chicago Sun-Times

Jay Cutler among league leaders in holding the ball too long

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This shouldn't come as a real surprise, but Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was among the biggest culprits for holding the ball too long, according to AOL's Fanhouse.

Cutler and Philadelphia's Michael Vick tied for third in the league with 19 sacks when holding the ball three seconds or longer. Baltimore Joe Flacco led the league with 25 sacks and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger was second with 20.

The results can be viewed here.

But the more telling stat is that Cutler was sacked an NFL-high 33 times when he had the ball three seconds or less. That, of course, is usually telling of poor pass protection and/ or receivers not getting open quick enough. Washington's Donovan McNabb was second with 28 sacks when he had the ball three seconds or less.

By contrast, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers was 13th with only 10 sacks when holding the ball three seconds or longer. That's something he's improved on over the last couple of seasons.

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Cutler is middle of the pack when it comes to "long sacks" as a percentage of total sacks. Nothing surprising.

This is a direct indictment of the WR corps: if nobody is open Cutler has to hold the ball. Green Bay showed us Knox can be completely taken out of a game with physical man coverage. Hester, as much as I love him, is a specialist - he's only effective in a handful of situations. Earl Bennett is the Bears only reliable WR.

Offensive Line is obviously a huge need, but Tice did a good job coaching them up. WR is just as big if not a bigger need.

Is this a negative stat? Did you see who else is on the list? I think Vick, Big Ben, and Flacco are on a lot of lists of relatively young quarterbacks who need just a little more supporting cast to be very, very good.

Rogers is already just plain good, but Green Bay runs a west coast offense. This means Rogers is making extended handoffs on about half his pass attempts.

I do not place much importance on this statistic and agree with Dancer and MsBears fan, but Cutler does have to speed up his defensive reads and work on quicker releases. The receivers and line are not totally to blame, but certainly are big factors.

You also have to account for the play that was being called, if it's a 7 step deep drop, with recievers running 40 yard routs, then 3 seconds is not enough time. Most deep passing plays take longer than 3 seconds. That's why they have a high sack percentage. It also depends if the recievers were running the right routs and may other things.

When the Bears added more mobile plays that allowed Cutler to by time with his feet the offense improved.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on February 23, 2011 9:12 PM.

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