Cutler to Lose His Playoff “Purity”

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Opinions
The Playoff Virgin

This Jay Cutler inspired spoof of "The 40 Year Old Virgin" makes for a good chuckle, but also brings up questions about his ability to make smart decisions (ChicagoNow.com).

Of the remaining eight quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs, Jay Cutler is the only one to have not played in the league’s second season.

The likes of Tom Brady, Mark Sanchez, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Matt Hasselbeck have all made at least one playoff start. And while that may not seem like much of a big deal, experience is absolutely something teams need to have in order to be successful.

Take for example last weekend’s Ravens-Chiefs Wild Card game. The Chiefs committed five penalties, converted only one third down, failed to convert either of their fourth down tries, and turned the ball over five times. The inexperienced Kansas City Chiefs proved there is no wiggle room for mistakes when it comes to the postseason. The seasoned veteran Ravens flexed their muscles.

Cutler has had a rather solid 2010 season given the circumstances. He passed for 3274 yards, 23 scores, and 16 interceptions. He was the first Bears quarterback to pass for 3000 yards in back to back seasons since the dawn of time. Cutler also cut his interception total down by ten compared to his first season in Chicago. Funny how when you establish a running game and don’t pass on 80% of your offensive plays those numbers tend to lower.

So why is it important Cutler hasn’t been a playoff quarterback yet?

The Bears again find fortune shining down upon them as they face the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field Sunday. Everyone and their uncle will mention the week 6 meeting between these two squads and mention the fact Seattle beat them already. There’s some reasons Seattle got the victory on that day.

When the regular season Chicago-Seattle game was played Oct. 17, the Bears weren’t the team they are presently. Mike Martz was still in the mindset that a three point deficit was the equivalent of trailing by two touchdowns, thus airing the ball out was the only way to play. This game was before the Bears bye week where Martz realized running the ball was legal in the NFL.

Another big difference from this game was that Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was a no-show because of injury. Without him, the Bears defense struggled and surrendered nice stat days to receiver Mike Williams and running back Marshawn Lynch, who made his first start with the Seahawks since his trade from Buffalo. Seattle ran an effective no-huddle offense. The defense also failed to force a turnover or record a sack.

Cutler is the key to this whole playoff run for Chicago. He has to be able to stand in the pocket, make smart throws, take sacks when there’s simply no other options, and let Matt Forte take some of the workload. Cutler will be the make or break factor for the Bears.

Having said that, still think his lack of experience is nothing to be concerned about? Oh contraire.

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