On the surface, Chicago sure seemed to get the better of the Orton/Cutler trade. Denver got some nice draft picks, Orton and a bag of chips while Chicago got something it hasn’t had in an incredibly long time: a Franchise quarterback.
Or did they?
There has been a ton of discussion about Cutler’s off-the-field issues and attitude and how it could affect his play. And from what I hear, there is some truth to the rumors out there.
Put that aside though, the more important question is: who will he throw to?
The crux of that might come down to whether you think Cutler made Marshall/Royal or they made him?
I think the truth lies in the middle. It’s not the cop-out it may seem, if you look closely.
Cutler throws a lot. It’s the way he rolls and he has the arm to back it up, although sometimes his accuracy is a tad skittish. He’ll throw a ton and it’s one of the worries I have for Matt Forte – the dump offs he got last year won’t be there as Cutler forces the ball downfield.
But back to Cutler: We know the Bears will have him throw the ball. They didn’t trade the house to have him hand it off. And we know he can throw the ball well and far.
He just isn’t throwing to quality wide receivers.
Two things are often mentioned when this comes up:
1) Devin Hester is JUST about to break out this year. I know people said it would happen last year but it WILL happen this year. Listen, I didn’t say it last year and I won’t this year. Hester is fast and deadly with the ball in his hands.
But getting the ball into his hands – well, he hasn’t shown me he can make the tough catches needed to be a top wide receiver. Marshall was able to adjust to some of Cutler’s ‘special’ balls. Hester? We’ll see.
2) Cutler knew Earl Bennett at Vandy – instant chemistry! I wouldn’t be my house on it. Sure, they know each other but they haven’t played together in a long time. Not saying they won’t click – but counting on it is a little risky.
The rest of the receiver corps is a collection of also-rans and rookies.
Now if this is the case, how is he currently 10 on my list?
Simple – he will elevate that group more than they pull him down. While I don’t think Hester is close to elite, he’s more than serviceable and his vertical game matches up well with Cutler’s.
Cutler also has Greg Olsen, a young tight end who can also stretch the field as well as make shorter catches.
Now while the Bears will run the ball, they won’t run it exclusively. I very much expect Cutler to throw more than hand off. In fact, Forte’s ability to run the ball will help open up the secondary for Cutler.
Still and all, you have to assume there will be some issues. So while I think he could put up very good numbers, I’d be leery of depending on him and only him for most of my season.
Cutler brings out some real emotion in many corners, as evidenced by my intense debate with Greg Kellogg on The Thundering Blurb Show recently. Somehow, you’re either with Cutler or against him and there is little in between.
If you can put aside your Bronco or Bear colored glasses, I think you’ll see a player who is a very good quarterback. Remember – regardless of the whining and less-than-distinguished manner of his departure from Colorado – that this is a Pro Bowl quarterback who can excel.
I believe that as a portion of your quarterback by committee – even the main part – you would be more than happy to have him.
But I also believe if you reach for him expecting top five numbers, you run the risk of being disappointed and struggling this season at your quarterback spot.