Bears Former GM's Scouting Report on Cutler off the Mark

Andrew Dannehy@@ADannChiBearsCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2013

LAKE FOREST, IL - APRIL 3:  Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, quarterback Jay Cutler and head coach Lovie Smith are all smiles after introducing Cutler as their new quarterback during a press conference on April 3, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
Jim Prisching/Getty Images

After over a year in hiding, former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has resurfaced with a scouting report on current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler that shows why he's an ex-general manager.

Angelo first reappeared in a story about Christian Ponder in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In that story, he also spoke about Cutler:

"He has all the physical tools," Angelo said. "But his numbers are pedestrian, given his talent level."

Angelo went into more detail on his Facebook page earlier this week with a couple arguments that are off the mark.

While Angelo doesn't seem to think trading two first-round picks for Cutler was a mistake, he acknowledges Cutler hasn't put up elite numbers and tries to explain why.

His first point is the number of offensive coordinators Cutler has been through. While this is a valid argument, Angelo then goes into Cutler's individual issues, both of which are off.

The first thing he cites is Cutler's lack of ball distribution.

"First he needs to distribute the ball consistently to his secondary receivers," Angelo said. "His penchant to have a favorite receiver is understandable but not at the expense of ignoring the others."

This was a problem last year as Brandon Marshall received 40 percent of the team's throws in 2012. That's too much for one player and no one will argue that. However, did Cutler target Marshall because he's his favorite receiver, or was it because he was the only receiver he trusted?

The team's second and third receivers—Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery—only played six games together and both struggled to beat man coverage. Bennett was targeted 49 times and Jeffery saw 48 passes go his way, both averaging between four and five targets per game.

To break it down by percentages, Bennett received roughly 13 percent of the Bears' targets per game and Jeffery received around 16 percent. That isn't great considering Aaron Rodgers had five receivers (including tight end Jermichael Finley) get over 17 percent of his targets per game, but Rodgers also had five capable receivers to work with.

In years past, spreading the ball around hasn't been an issue with Cutler. In 2011, the Bears didn't have anyone with over 80 targets and had five players with over 50. In 2010, Johnny Knox led the team with 100 targets, but they had four other players with 70 or more and in 2009 they had four players with 80 or more targets and five with 70 or more.

Even if you go back to his previous games with Marshall in 2008, Cutler moved the ball around. While Marshall had 183 targets (29.5 percent), Eddie Royal had 129 and Brandon Stokley had 85. Tight ends Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler both caught over 30 passes that season as well.

Does Cutler lock onto Marshall too much at times? Yes. Marshall is a great player and he should get the ball a lot more than Bennett. It's not nearly the problem some make it out to be.

Angelo then said that if Cutler starts spreading the ball around, he'll be better in the red zone, that being the other area he needs to improve in.

That used to be a huge issue for Cutler, but he's gotten better. According to his splits on ESPN, he's thrown 34 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the red zone since 2010. Over the last two seasons he's thrown 19 touchdown passes without an interception in the red zone. In 2012, he had a passer rating of 102.7 in the red zone.

Where Angelo sees a need to improve, I see something that has become a strength.

Another knock that Angelo had on Cutler was that he said "all the elite quarterbacks create receivers." How Angelo came to this conclusion is quite a mystery.

Peyton Manning has had success with quite a few journeymen, but his best work came when he had two first-round picks—Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne—at his disposal. Tom Brady was at his best with Randy Moss as his team has seen a number of highly drafted receivers fail. Drew Brees has benefited from some excellent scouting with Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham.

Aaron Rodgers has worked with receivers who were either established before he got there or drafted in the first two rounds. Matt Ryan has a pair of first rounders to work with. The New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers are always making sure they have receivers for their quarterback to work with, often taking them in the first three rounds.

Angelo had three drafts with Cutler as his quarterback and only drafted one receiver—Juaquin Iglesias—in the first three rounds and just three receivers overall, selecting Knox and Derek Kinder in 2009. He also drafted two quarterbacks—Dan LeFevour and Nathan Enderle—in that time.

In just two years on the job, current Bears GM Phil Emery has spent four draft picks on the wide receiver position, including three in the first three rounds.

Angelo finished his Facebook post by commenting on the Bears hiring Marc Trestman.

"He has an offensive specialist as his head coach, and it's going to take the help of a specialist for him to reach his ceiling," Angelo said.

That just leads to more confusion about the job Angelo did. If he thought Cutler needed an offensive specialist to reach his ceiling, why didn't he provide him with one? Angelo could've fired Smith after the 2009 season and nobody would've batted an eye. Angelo had the chance to reunite Cutler with Mike Shanahan, who was unemployed at the time.

The positive part of what Angelo said is that he thinks Cutler is a "good bet to have a top year." Bears fans should have little confidence in how he came to that conclusion, however.


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