Jay Cutler Vs. Kyle Orton: Why Do Either Have To Be Bad?
How about none of those?
Why do either of these guys have to be regarded as fantasy (or real world) busts for 2009, just because they are switching teams?
Yes, they both have new offenses, new coaches, new cities, and new weapons.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good or can’t play at an elite level.
Since both of these players have a hate-wagon following them to every city they go to, I beg of you to relax, sit back, and read an unbiased approach to both of their new situations.
Life is about change, people. Remember the song? Change, change…will do you good. No?
Well, still, both of these guys are talented enough to make things happen in their first year in new colors, and I have evidence as to why I believe so.
Cutler took over for Jake Plummer mid-way through the season three years ago, and showed enough to Mike Shanahan and co. that they knew they had done the right thing.
Trouble is, they stopped at the quarterback, and never built a new defense.
John Lynch, anyone?
Cutler went on to form a bitter and exciting rivalry with Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, routinely dominate the Oakland Raiders, and finally turned himself into a sure- fire Pro Bowler in 2008.
You don’t pass for 25 touchdowns and over 4,500 yards on a whim. The guy is talented.
He’s got a Brett Favre-moxie that you can’t teach, a rocket arm, and excellent mobility.
To anyone who doubts his ability to win, or his fading at times in clutch situations, I have some news for you.
The guy is 25 years old.
He just started coming into his own last year, and while a change in scenery could potentially affect that growth, I believe he’s already reached a confidence and talent level too high to be knocked back down to where he was as a rookie.
In Chicago he will find no Brandon Marshall’s, no Eddie Royal’s, and no Mike Shanahan.
But he still has weapons.
Devin Hester’s speed and explosiveness could make both players look like magicians in 2008, and Greg Olsen’s size and speed could make Tony Scheffler look like a baby Mark Chmura.
The point is, Cutler may not be quite as “great” as his Denver weapons and numbers made him out to be, but he also isn’t anywhere close to the wimpy, cry baby, drama king that the trade to Chicago made him out to be, either.
He still knows how to play football, and he’s talented enough to make things happen with the few weapons that Chicago does have.
Oh, and this time around, he’ll actually have a supportive defense.
Orton is entering into a system that gave Matt Cassel the quickest quarterback make-over we’ve ever seen.
Cassel had no experience to speak of at any level, and hadn’t started a football game since high school. We may find out fairly soon in Kansas City that, while the guy is talented, he is nowhere near as good as this system (and Randy Moss and Wes Welker) made him out to be.
Do you see the common theme, here? Nothing is what you think it is. At least, not when you’re discussing Cutler and Orton.
Orton tossed over 2,900 yards and 18 touchdowns with those average weapons everyone keeps talking about, and is now walking into Jay Cutler-territory, where he has the luxury of having Marshall, Royal, and Scheffler at his disposal.
So, really, which is it?
Did those talented receivers make Cutler, or did Orton’s lack of talent make him? Or is it both?
I say neither.
Orton proved (on a bum ankle for the final four weeks) that he can manage games, and is talented enough to put up solid numbers, despite not having polished weapons around him.
With a new cast of friends sharing the load on offense, Orton’s numbers could get half-way to where Cutler was last year.
And as far as that whole “system quarterback” label is concerned-so what?
If he is indeed a system quarterback, then that’s all the more reason to pull the trade that Josh McDaniels orchestrated, and nab Orton, a guy who can clearly do what he’s told, when he’s told it, and do it well.
Denver won’t have the defensive support Orton had last year, at least not immediately, but if McDaniels system is anything like Bill Belichick’s in New England, there should be some good results.
If you’re looking to draft either of these guys as sleepers, good luck.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that both quarterbacks are getting very comfortable in their new environment, and with all of their respective offensive weapons healthy, there’s no reason to think they both can’t succeed.
Cutler has his defense backing him, as well as a fantastic weapon in Matt Forte (who people tend to overlook when talking about Cutler’s supporting cast), and whether you like it or not, the guy is actually good.
Orton, on the other hand, is only going to play as bad as Brandon Marshall allows him to, and Eddie Royal is set-up to have huge numbers as the Wes Welker-clone, as well.
If those two receivers are putting up elite numbers, don’t you think Orton will reap some of those benefits?
Real World Summary
If we’re being realistic, it’s as simple as this:
Orton is good enough to help make the Denver offense go, but their offensive line is still aging, and their entire defense is, well, incomplete.
They are probably still a .500 team, but Orton is too smart and safe to have them lose more than nine games.
Cutler, on the other hand, has a good defense and special teams, and while some of his weapons aren’t necessarily elite or proven yet, they have the athleticism and explosive needed to make that jump.
With Cutler’s arm guiding the way, the Bears could enter into the top ten in the league, offensively.
Even if they don’t, Cutler is still better than Orton, and Chicago won’t finish any worse than they did last year, which could equate to Cutler’s first “winning” season.