QBER/Week 13: Gen. Cutler Gets What He Wanted, but It's All Slings and Arrows

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 13: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is sacked by Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 13, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive, easily understood rating system that I devised to place the emphasis where it belongs—the ability of a quarterback to advance the ball, avoid negative plays, and score touchdowns in comparison to his peers. A rating of 100.0 is the league average.) http://bleacherreport.com/articles/256842-brees-romo-mcnabb-are-week-1-qber-leaders

When news that Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall had caught an NFL-record 21 balls made the rounds last Sunday, one could only wonder what went through the head of Jay Cutler, his old quarterback.

Cutler wanted out of Denver last summer, but as they say, be careful what you wish for because it just may come true. He was traded to a Chicago Bears team that has no target close to the ability of Marshall on their roster, and Cutler and the offense have suffered because of it.

How bad has it gotten for Cutler this season? His QBER (86.7) has plunged to 23rd overall, the lowest it has been this season. Among veterans, only Marc Bulger (79.2) and Jake Delhomme (45.7) are below him.  

A number of factors have conspired to make Cutler the biggest individual disappointment of the NFL season. At the same time, he has been guilty to many of the same mistakes that plagued his Broncos career, most notably ill-advised throws in the red zone. The result has been 20 interceptions, more than any quarterback in the league.

Cutler has been prone to drive-killers since the first game of the season.  He has lost 315 yards on sacks and turnover returns, more than any quarterback except Ben Roethlisberger (minus 415), David Garrard (minus 398), and Brett Favre (minus 320).

For all his physical attributes, what Cutler has proved is that it takes more than a great arm to be a great quarterback.


The QBER leaders through Week 13 of the regular season:


1. Drew Brees 140.7

2. Brett Favre 139.4

3. Philip Rivers 137.3

4. Peyton Manning 133.1

5. Aaron Rodgers 131.1

6. Donovan McNabb 128.4

7. Tony Romo 121.8

8. Kurt Warner 121.1

9. Tom Brady 120.8

10. Matt Schaub 116.9

11. Eli Manning 113.0

12. Ben Roethlisberger 109.7

13. Alex Smith 109.2

14. Kyle Orton 109.1

15. Carson Palmer 104.6

16. Matt Hasselbeck 103.7

17. Joe Flacco 102.1

18. Matt Ryan 101.4

19. David Garrard 91.6

20. Jason Campbell 89.9

21. Matt Cassel 88.1

22. Brady Quinn 87.8

23. Jay Cutler 86.7

24. Chad Henne 86.1

25. Marc Bulger 79.2

26. Matthew Stafford 67.0

27. Mark Sanchez 64.9

28. JaMarcus Russell 50.4

29. Jake Delhomme 45.7


A few observations:


  • Turnovers are the bane of rookie quarterbacks, but Miami Dolphins signal-caller Chad Henne is one of the exceptions. He has committed only eight turnovers in 322 pass plays, a rate that is 23 percent better than the league average of one for every 30.9 pass calls. The experience that Henne has gained in the absence of Chad Pennington figures to serve him well next season.


  • If this is the final season for Jason Campbell as Washington Redskins quarterback, then at least he didn’t pack it in early. On the strength of five TD passes in the last two games, he moved up to 20th on the QBER charts, his best mark since he was 20th in the third week of the season.


  • Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan appear to have hit the wall in their second seasons. In the last seven weeks, Flacco produced only three net touchdowns compared to seven turnovers. Ryan failed to pass for as many as 225 yards in six of the last eight weeks. (He sat out last week  because of turf toe.) He also had at least two turnovers in four of the last six games that he played to completion.


  • Who throws the best interceptions in the league? In terms of field position, it’s Aaron Rodgers, whose seven picks gained an net average of 12.3 yards. That includes one that was returned 11 yards from the line of scrimmage for a touchdown.



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