My twitter feed is all aflutter this morning thanks to Brad Biggs (who I'm quite sure doesn't like Cutler and occassionally tries to troll Cutler fans in a very subtle manner) retweeting some list by Ross Tucker (he was a mediocre backup lineman for the Patriots in one of the years after they won the Superbowl. HE KNOWS GREATNESS WHEN HE SEES IT, FOLKS) where he ranked NFL QBs and had Jay Cutler at number 20, 1 spot behind Kyle Orton. Yep. That happened. Let's go to this list and see where Tucker could come to such an absolutely bumblefucked conclusion:
Tucker's list starts with his "tier 1" quarterbacks, which consists mostly of no-brainers and I don't disagree with in principle:
1. Tom Brady
2. Aaron Rodgers (I'd probably flip those two, actually. I know Brady's the MVP and has 3 rings to Rodger's 1, but Rodgers just fucking terrifies me in ways beyond human comprehension. He's not helped by the spread offense that inflates Brady's numbers to an extent and he's impossible to pressure thanks to his mobility. Asshole.)
3. Drew Brees
4. Peyton Manning
5. Ben Roethlisberger
6. Philip Rivers
No argument. Moving on to Tier 2
7. Michael Vick
Right now he's a one year wonder considering he set career-highs in every passing category and tailed off toward the end of the year, has durability issues, and may not repeat. I won't gripe about this one too much because he was phenomenal, so there are bigger fish to fry.
8. Josh Freeman
Also premature, given only one year, but Freeman's a very impressive physical specimen who had an outstanding year on an incredibly young offense and figures to be a top ten QB for awhile. Allowed.
9. Joe Flacco
Statistically pretty good and has already played in seven postseason games, has a talented offense around him. Still doing OK, Ross.
10. Matt Ryan.
Matt Ryan is the first beef I have, although I know this is a losing argument. He's a vastly overrated QB because of his winning %. He's 0-2 in the playoffs for a reason. He's an overrated game manager of a QB. Here's a guy that's had absolutely outstanding protection (career sack%+ of 116), an excellent running game, and one of the top wideouts in the game his entire career. What's he done? Although his TD totals have climbed, he's actually declined in effectiveness since his rookie year. His YPA has gone down from 7.9 his rookie year to 6.5 in back to back years. His QB rating of 91.0 is actually really low for a guy with a 3:1 TD:INT ratio, and it's because he's not very good at moving the ball on his own. He's 0-2 in the playoffs because teams can take away Michael Turner and force him to beat them by himself and he's not really capable of it. Oh well. He's got good numbers in some areas and he's got a winning record, so I'm not that asshurt about it. Let's move on.
11. Eli Manning
Here we go. This is a guy that's supposedly vastly superior to Jay Cutler and other because he has a Superbowl ring. He threw 25 interceptions last year but hey he was just trying to make something happen because the Giants were struggling and their offensive line is aging blah blah. Bullshit. Eli Manning threw 25 interceptions last year because he makes bad decisions and gets nowhere near as much shit for it as Cutler does. He had some of the best pass protection in the NFL last year (Sack %+ of 125) and one of the game's most effective running attacks and yet he made terrible decisions with the football. For his career Manning still has a QB Rate+ of 97, meaning he's a below average passer.
12. Tony Romo
I'm okay with this. He should actually probably be in the top ten, where he belongs statistically. He's a very good quarterback. Deal with it.
13. Matt Cassel
Nope. Not at all. Wrong. Very, very wrong. There's a reason Cassel got the shit kicked out of him and threw three interceptions against the Ravens in the playoffs. He's also an overrated game manager. He had a very solid TD to Interception ratio in the regular season. That's true. His YPA and Completion% were both average or below average. He benefitted from a team that ran the ball more than anyone else and had an absolutely outstanding running attack in a very shitty division. He's just one year removed from a season in which he posted a 69.9 rating in 15 starts. 2009 stats are obviously valid, because if they weren't and we could throw out Cutler's first disastrous year with the Bears there'd be no justification whatsoever for where he is in these rankings.
14. Matt Schaub
This is a fair place for a guy like Schaub. He's got good numbers and it's not his fault the Texans defense sucks. This is where I don't understand Tucker's methodology (assuming there is one). I mean if he's doing this statistically (hint: he's not) then Schaub absolutely belongs up here, but so does Cutler. If he's doing this based on intangibles and "winning" (which I suspect, given some of the names that are coming up soon), then Schaub doesn't go anywhere near here since he went 6-10 this year and is 25-31 in his career. That's not how I roll, so that would be a stupid reason to keep him out, but it's proof that this list makes no sense.
15. Sam Bradford
Fuck this. Fuck this to hell. This is where the list absolutely falls apart. Sam Bradford has proven Nothing in his NFL career. Absolutely nothing. He had a deceivingly good rookie year because the Rams absolutely hid him as much as possible. The guy averaged just 6 yards per attempt. He had a middling QB rating of 76.5 (rate+ of 92) and a pedestrian 18:15 TD:INT ratio because the Rams had him attempt almost nothing risky and leaned heavily on the run game. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's a safe way to handle a rookie QB, but anyone who thinks that Bradford has "proven" he's great is an idiot. Hell, Tim Couch had a rate+ of 95 in his rookie year, and look how that turned out. He belongs nowhere Near the top 15 QBs in the game, and putting him ahead of Cutler is a goddamned joke.
16. Mark F*&king Sanchez
People might think that I'm going to be the most pissed about Orton ranking ahead of Cutler on this list. Not even close. I'm more pissed about Mark Sanchez ranking ahead of nearly ANYONE in the entire NFL. He's fucking terrible. He's absolutely fucking terrible and he's managed to make 2 AFC championship games (where, I may add, he was the main reason his team fucking lost both times) and therefore he's the 16th best QB in the NFL? Fuck that.
Let's look at what Sanchez has had to work with in his career: Outstanding protection? Check, with a Sack%+ of 108 last year. Outstanding running game? Check, Jets were 1st in rushing in 2009 and 4th in 2010. Outstanding receivers? My God, would I love to see what Cutler could do with a four deep wideout corps of Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jericho Cotchery, and Brad Smith and a first round draft pick at tight end in Dustin Keller, not to mention a great pass catching back in LaDainian Tomlinson. Oh, and how about the league's top scoring defense in 2009 and 4th best scoring defense in 2010?
So what has Sanchez done in his time with the Jets? He's been as accurate as Rex Grossman (54.4 career completion%, good for a completion %+ of 78, 22 points below league average), he's been absolutely no threat downfield (YPA of 6.6, good for a YPA+ of 91), he's failed to cash in on great field position (TD Pass%+ of 90) and a whopping rate+ of 91. He's below average in absolutely every single category except Sack%+, which just means that he wastes the protection of a great offensive line. The fact that Mark Sanchez is given any credit for the Jet's success the last two years is abominable, considering that team could probably win the superbowl if they just signed a guy like Jeff F*&king Garcia off the streets. Guh.
17. David Garrard
I'm actually not that pissed about this, frankly. Perception is that Garrard is nothing more than serviceable, and that's probably true, but statistically he's been above average on a team with a pretty mediocre o-line. I'm not going to waste breath on this because Sanchez is much more egregious and so is...
18. Kyle Orton
I know the numbers over the last two years make it seem closer than it is, but Kyle Orton is nowhere near the QB that Jay Cutler is. Like I said when defending Jay in January, if you compare them when they had the same level of talent around them (Cutler in Denver was better than or equal to Orton in every single category and is light years ahead of Orton's numbers in Chicago, even last year) it's just not even close. I've broken down from every statistical angle how the spread offense inflates Kyle's yardage and yet he's managed just 41 TD passes (9 fewer than Cutler over the last two years) on over 1039 passes and the Broncos just don't score. I'll go back to the money line:
"The problem is that when teams move from the "bend but don't break" philosophy that most defenses are forced to employ between the 20s to their red zone defenses, the underneath stuff is taken away and teams have to revert to conventional out routes against tighter coverage, the kinds of throws that NFL quarterbacks are made of. Orton, as we know, struggles with these, and the Broncos offense is a perfect example of the tendency of spread offenses to rack up yards and not points. The Broncos, despite Orton's 1,236 passing yards and the great run game leading to a 6th place ranking in total yards, are just 22nd in the league in scoring at 19.8 ppg"
That quote is from all the way back in 2009, but it still works. There's a reason, like I said, the 2008 Patriots lost nearly 10 PPG from 2007-2008 despite practically no decline in total yardage after Brady went down and Cassel took over. Mediocre QBs can move the ball in the spread, but that doesn't mean they can put the ball in the end zone. If you think I'm lying just to throw out Kyle's numbers, look at the 1999 Bears under Gary Crowton. Crowton brought the spread to the NFL from Louisiana Tech, and the Bears managed to finish 3rd in the NFL in passing behind the three-headed monster of Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, and Jim Miller, but they were 25th in scoring. The spread can hide a QB between the 20s, but not in the red zone.
The other reason often quoted for ranking Orton over Cutler is that "Orton is a winner." That argument was a lot easier to make when Orton left Chicago with a 21-12 record as a starter. Nowadays he's just 32-29 after going 3-10 with Denver this year, while Cutler is close at 34-34 and Cutler's the only one of the two to actually start a playoff game. So much for that old argument. There are those that'll argue that it wasn't Orton's fault, since the defense in Denver was so bad, which is a laughable argument since Cutler had to deal with that same awful defense when he was there (and a pretty awful one in Chicago in 2009) and Orton's only truly "successful" season in his rookie year of 2005 was entirely attributable to the Bears defense, since Orton had one of the worst passing seasons in modern NFL history that year.
Anyone who reads this site knows how loathe I am to give Josh McDaniels credit for anything, but he knew Orton's limitations and that's why he drafted Tim Tebow. Granted, Tebow was the wrong choice, but McDaniels was at least right in ackowledging that he needed someone with the arm to actually scare an NFL defense. It's also the reason why Denver's still looking to get rid of Orton. Again, this is like someone wondering why Jeff Garcia moved from franchise to franchise despite all of the "good" numbers he put up. Sometimes you just know what a guy's ceiling is.
19. Jay Cutler
And here we get to Jay. Now I'm not deluded. He's not a top ten QB right now. My list would probably look something like: 1. Rodgers, 2. Brady, 3. Brees, 4. P. Manning, 5. Rivers 6. Roethlisberger, 7. Romo, 8. Flacco 9. Vick 10. Freeman 11. Schaub 12. Cutler.......33. Sanchez. But Jay's certainly not #19 and statistically for his career he's better than Sanchez, Bradford, Cassel, and Eli Manning, he's comparable to Ryan, Flacco, Schaub, and Garrard, and using the idiotic "winner" argument he's now been to an NFC Championship game, so he's ahead of Garrard, Ryan, Schaub, Orton, Cassel, Bradford, and Romo. Plus, as we all know, Cutler's had to deal with one of the worst offensive lines in football, as they allowed more pressures in 2009 than any team in the NFL but the Redskins and were dead last in sacks last year (52) and over the last two years combined (87) and his sack%+ of 64 last year was by far the lowest of any of the QBs on this list.
When you add that all up, there's no justifiable reason for Tucker to rank Cutler as low as he did other than the fact that he doesn't like him, which is perfectly valid unless you're trying to pass yourself off as a respectable journalist like Tucker is.
I'm not a respected journalist or even a respected human being, so I feel safe saying F*&k you, Ross Tucker.