Romo and Cutler have had very similar careers in the NFL under center. Both have struggled in the postseason, have been good but not great in the regular season and are known for how they can take a beating.
Both teams come into their Monday night matchup with 2-1 records. However, the above .500 records are due more to defensive dominance than offensive outburst.
Cutler has thrown for under 200 yards in back-to-back weeks, and Romo's Cowboys have not generated more than 300 yards on offense in their last two games.
The quarterbacks' struggles can be traced to shaky play along their offensive lines. I present a case against each quarterback and outline why each will be eating more dirt than his counterpart on Monday Night Football.
The Cowboys invested a good amount of money and draft picks this offseason to shore up their offensive line, but so far the unit has played wildly inconsistently.
Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett, addressed the play of his offensive line in an interview with ESPN earlier this week, saying:
I thought at times we played well. At times, we didn't play as well as we needed to.That's both in the run game and in the pass game. Some of that was because we were behind the chains a little bit in some obvious pass type situations where they could pin their ears back a little bit. So that's a collective type of thing. But other times, I thought they stood in there.
Not exactly words of encouragement from the head coach. He even went so far as to call the play of right tackle Doug Free "soft" in the same ESPN article.
The line has been shaky and among the worst in the NFL. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, the Cowboys allowed four sacks and eight tackles for loss.
Romo is known for his quick feet and ability to improvise. Is he Cam Newton or Michael Vick? No. But he does have a Brett Favre-like skill set that lets him extend plays that most other quarterbacks could not. This keeps him off the turf more often than not.
The Bears' defense has lived up to expectations this season. Shea McClellin, Israel Idonjie, Julius Peppers and Henry Melton all have at least two sacks already this year. Melton leads that group with three.
The Bears will bring pressure against the the Cowboys Monday night, and Romo will have to deliver the ball with defenders in his face on multiple occasions.
Since 2010, Cutler has been sacked 86 times—more than any quarterback in the NFL. That alone tells the story of Cutler's struggles.
In one of the uglier scenes so far this season, Cutler was seen shoving and yelling at his freshman offensive tackle, J'Marcus Webb. Since that infamous game, Cutler's play has been awful, throwing for a combined 309 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.
The Bears are not the only defense with pass rushing weapons. All-Pro outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer will have a field day against Webb. The two Cowboy defenders have combined for six sacks already this season.
Cutler spoke about the incident on the Jay Cutler Show on ESPN 1000, saying:
As far as me yelling at him and trying to get him going in the game, I don't regret that. (I) shouldn't have bumped him. I'll stick to that.
It has also been obvious that Cutler hangs on to the ball too long. He should know better than anyone that his shaky offensive line means he needs to deliver the ball quickly, something he has not been doing.
Monday night, both quarterbacks will have their hands full against the potent defenses. Expect to see both quarterbacks on the ground a ton, but Cutler more than Romo on the primetime stage.
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