Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Sep 2011

Week 3 N.F.L. Matchups

Just how big of a criticism magnet is Jay Cutler, you ask? Well, I measured.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 23 Sep 2011

43 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2011, 1:33pm by skd


by MatMan :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 7:31am

Once again, the Chargers logo is bigger than all the others. It is a mystery.

by Whatev :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 7:52am

It's hydrocephalus.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 8:46am

That's the Dolphins.

by Theo :: Sun, 09/25/2011 - 8:14am

IS THAT the browns logo?
Thought they didn't have one.

by Darren (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 8:09am

Very brave with your picks, Mike...chalk all the way? Really?

by Eddo :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 9:21am

"Last season’s N.F.C. championship game became Ferris Cutler’s Day Off, with the (somewhat) injured quarterback looking less willing than able on the sideline as his backups got battered by the Packers."

I expect more from FO's best writer, Mike. "Somewhat" injured? He tore his left MCL. He could not put weight on his plant leg. "Less willing than able"? If you go by what FOX showed, then I guess you would reach this conclusion. But if you go by what Caleb Hanie said, how Cutler was the first one over to him on the sideline, giving him advice on the Packers' defensive scheme, you might not draw that conclusion.

by trill :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 9:51am

Fair enough, he was legitimately injured. He still stunk it the hell up before he left the game.

by Eddo :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 10:01am

Oh, I don't disagree. Cutler was awful in the first half. I object to the character assassinations regarding his injury and temperament.

He has a surly reputation because he does not play the media game. His teammates all seem to love him.

by BucNasty :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 5:06pm

His teammates all seem to love him.

I'm curious, are you basing this on their interactions with him on sideline, or is this simply a reaction to them coming to his defense when he's being attacked in the media? I'm not a Bears fan, so when I see Brian Urlacher talking up Cutler as one of the toughest guys he knows, my instinct says he's just being professional. Do the Bears often heap praise upon Cutler without being prompted, or do they only mention him when there's a controversy?

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:45am

Do the Bears often heap praise upon Cutler without being prompted

Pretty much. The defensive guys seem to really like him.

by Charlie Roshambo (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 11:10pm

'The media game' as in 'basic human interaction'? I live in Denver, and saw Mr. Cutler's incessant charms in action for long enough. I would note that nobody on the Broncos defended him, either when he was here or when he was traded.
None of this means a whit, of course. But, unless he's your son, what possible difference does it make how people view Cutler as a 'person'. He's a decent player who will never be what people imagined he would be when drafted, much like many of the players in the NFL. He'll have good games, and dreadful games, and when it matters, he'll fail. That's a narrative that seems pretty well established.

by tuluse :: Sun, 09/25/2011 - 5:37am

Who cares what his "charms" are if he can play QB in the NFL at a high level?

I think that's the point of at lot these defensive posts.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 10:55am

What you think of how he played sort of depends on when you think he got injured. I think he played the whole of the second quarter on one leg and it really impacted his performance. Of course if you simply think the guy is terrible you would probably think that he plays like that anyway.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:46am

Where is all the rage for Rivers missing the end of a playoff game with a torn MCL?

by Led :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 10:12am

I have to agree. The Cutler stuff was Jay Leno-esque in its trite meanness. The rest was gold, however. The Steelers/Colts bit was my favorite.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 2:28pm

This is also where I'm at. I loved the humor in the rest of the column. I even think the Chargers logo should be a bit bigger to accomodate Norv's head. But anyone who repeats the myth Cutler wasn't hurt in last years NFC Championship is either ignorant or just mean-spirited about it. Charles Woodson didn't look particularly in pain at the Super Bowl either, and he had a broken collarbone.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 3:11pm

I agree Cutler got way to much crap for that and I never liked the guy. I didn't like him when he was in Denver (my brother, who is a Bears fan, lives out there but I get a bunch of Broncos news and chatter when I'm out visiting). I actually thought that Denver got the better end of the deal with the trade though that is proving to not be the case.

So I'm on your side, but your Woodson comparison doesn't work. There were several sideline shots where he showed obvious signs of pain, one of them he tried to simply cheer for a team mate and then his whole face contorted in pain and his body dropped. He was clearly in pain.

by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 8:14am

I also agree that Cutler got too much knee-jerk, in-the-moment criticism in that game.

I also talked to some very informed people, during the lockout and this preseason, who explained to me both the possibility that he could have played and the level of esteem with which he is held in the locker room.

As the capsule tries to make clear, I describe him as a "criticism magnet," which I hoped meant that he got criticism he did not deserve. I acknowledged that he was injured, and I said that his reputation was tarnished "fairly or not."

There was no way to write about this game without making Cutler and the NFC Championship game part of the story. So, I could either leap with both feet to Cutler's defense, bury him, or equivocate and try to explain in a few sentences to non-superfans of the NFL who this character is. I chose the 3rd route.

by skd (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2011 - 1:33pm

Isnt that the same injury Drew Brees played the entire season on? The toughest guys are the ones who arent out advertizing how tough they are.

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 12:09pm

Jay Cutler gets a lot of criticism for things that are not his fault. Dan Marino had a fast enough release to play behind that offensive line, but why criticize Cutler for not being Dan Marino? But I don't think that the offensive line is as bad as Cordell Stewart had to deal with in Chicago, so Cutler at least has that going for him.

Let's face it, instead of trading for Cutler, the Bears should have gotten Jon Kitna. Cutler is not made for quick throws, while Kitna has experience doing it. And of course the draft pick difference.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 1:03pm

Cordell Stewart wasn't in an offense that insisted on seven-step drops despite an absence of competent blocking.

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 3:40pm

Well, that means even less blame for Cutler. Though I still think that Cordell Stewart was looking to survive for 7 steps, so had a harder time. I guess you would find Andrew Walter a more apt comparison because Andrew Walter was expected to do 7-step drops.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:44am

That's kind of a strange o-line to pick from the bad Bears offensive lines. I would say the line from the next year (2004) was worse than the on Kordell played behind. Staring Quasim "Big Q" Mitchell at left tackle. He would be out of the league within 2 years despite being under 30.

by Coach Tuesday (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 12:21pm

Honestly, if you're just going to pick the favorites across the board, why bother to write the article.

by BJR :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 12:41pm

Er, I don't think that is the primary point of the article.

by Anonymooses (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 3:57pm

C.R.E.A.M.- and even if he went with the favorites, the quality of the writing is worth the time spent reading.

by MJK :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 11:57pm

Wait, this article made picks?

by Charlie Roshambo (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 11:16pm

It would be preferred that Mr. Tanier randomly choose other winners in his column because that would give his well-written and humorous capsules more merit than 'Suicide Sammy's Shoe-In of the Week'. Some people enjoy good writing, particularly in something as braindead as sports. I don't think it's meant for gambling tips.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 1:11pm

Packerd 27, Beras 20
Browns 21, Dolphins 17
Eaglse 25, gaunts 16
Patriotd 34, Bolls 27
Saints 38, tecans 16
Loins 23, Vikings 20
Buccs 27, flacs 17
Brngals 20, 493ers 13
Jaguart 20, panyters 17
Titans 30, Bfoincos 13
Cardinals 30, seahswks 17
Raiders 23, jets 9
Charters 28, chiegs 10
Ravens 33, ramms 15
Steeleers 34, Clots 13
Cowboys 20, redskins 17

by justme_cd :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 1:24pm

Depending on your opinion of the man behind the myth, here may lie Tanier's true picks.

by TomC :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 5:02pm

If the Beras score 20 and lose this weekend, I'm going to be very, very angry. I think 17-3 is more likely, but I may be keeping too much of my negative energy from the Saints game.

by Martyball_checkdown (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 7:35pm

Let's all chip in and get Raiderjoe a lobotomy. Seriously, this guy's typing makes my head hurt every time. Who's got $100 on it?

by TomC :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 7:45pm

Uh, yeah, good luck with that. You probably want to put Larry David on Prozac too.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 9:30pm

Sorry did that from phone. Am home now so will tyep better.

Martyball_chekcdown sound like disgruntled Chiefs fan.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 10:22pm

Worst suggestion in history.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 3:14am

Well, the Western front seems to be going well. Let's invade Russia!

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 09/25/2011 - 10:34pm

9-5 so fsar. bad week of pickjing

by TomC :: Fri, 09/23/2011 - 5:00pm

The two opening sentences in the Philly/NYG blurb are among the finest of Tanier's oeuvre. PIT/IND very, very good as well.

I hardly reacted to the Cutler stuff, which I think means I'm just numb to it by now (as a Bear fan and Cutler defender).

I do think MT was too harsh on Campbell & D. Moore. Both of them are putting up great numbers by standard and FO metrics, and Moore's catches in the Buffalo game made me think he's an honest-to-god football player (not a track star in pads). Of course, time will tell....

by Scary Arians :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 1:20am

Come on! Stop all the complaining about Cutler cracks and picking only favorites. Shouldn't you be studying your playbook Jay?

Other than the Bucs pick or maybe the Cowboys most teams that are underdogs, are just that - Dogs, with almost no chance to win other than that they are playing other bad teams.
And Cutler cracks? Have we not all seen the shots of Cutler sitting on the bench last year looking really not-hurt while the Bears got beaten? He looked like he was waiting for a bus that was late not waiting for a chance to get back up and win the game. That is the kind of thing that fans never forget. Until he wins a Super Bowl.

The rest of the article was great but I can read that Colts calling Farve bit a dozen times and laugh every time.

"The nihilist wants to call Brett Favre. (“The season is ruined, so why not destroy hope and sanity as well?”) "
I enjoyed the hell out of it>

by Zheng :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 4:08am

Yes, that line is so perfect that Princess will forever more be known in my head as "The bane of hope and sanity".

by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 8:16am

Oh, and since all picks are straight up according to Times rules, it is hard to pick underdogs to cover in games like the Bills game.

by BJR :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 11:09am

Indeed in the vast majority of cases it would be idiotic to pick anything other than the Vegas favourite, as long as you are just looking to identify the most likely winner of the contest. Where there is only a 1 or 2 point favourite it might be open to debate who the most likely winner is; otherwise it is not.

Of course if the aim of the article is to be deliberately controversial then you might want to throw in some crazy picks. But I suspect that is not your primary aim.

by BSK (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 3:03pm

Why does the Times have those rules? If they are so averse to gambling, don't list the spreads at all. Plenty of other outlets do this, just listing the two opponents and the predicted winner.

Since it doesn't include the spread, does that mean it is a value-based bet concerning the moneyline? Or simply a prediction of who will win? Those are not one-in-the-same.