Wow! Chicago Bear quarterback Jay Cutler was crushed harder by fans and by NFL players sitting at home than he was by the Green Bay Packers defense in Sunday’s championship game.
What if that guy were the Washington Redskins quarterback? Would you be happy then, Redskins fans, coaches and owner?
That may have been a move worth making, if Washington could have pulled it off. A quick glance at the stats show that Cutler overcame the NFL’s worse offensive line and a poorer wide receiver set than the Redskins while grasping the nuances of Mike Martz’s offense.
Chicago’s O-line allowed 56 sacks and 92 QB hits. Washington’s performance was 46 sacks and 110 hits. The Redskins were marginally better at run blocking than the Bears. Washington’s rushers, with Clinton Portis out most of the season, averaged 4.2 yards per attempt. Chicago’s rushers averaged 3.9 YPA.
Receivers Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong combined for 1,986 yards and nine touchdowns. Chicago’s top two receivers, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett, combined for a pathetic 1,521 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cutler wasn’t hindered by the loss of the starting running back as Donovan McNabb was. Matt Forte rushed for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns to help Chicago. Clinton Portis missed 11 games and the ‘Skins missed the 1,100+ yards and the six or seven scores he would have produced. Fans overlook how much the loss of Portis hurt this season.
Cutler finished the regular season with 23 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 86.3 while leading the Bears to 11 wins. Mike Shanahan said last March that Chicago would be very proud of of Cutler. That might be encouraging words for Cutler today.
Would Cutler have worked for the Redskins? Player envy has cursed Washington’s efforts to improve throughout the Snyder era. Looking for “the guy” to push us over the top is a tactical move. Strategic moves are how to make every part of the team better with the people you have. Washington goes for the tactical and churns the team. It rarely works.
But Cutler’s arrival would have preceded the Shanahans by a season. Shanahan would have brought the offense Cutler so loved in Denver. Cutler and Shanahan in Washington would have been serendipity, not the result of strategic planning. Serendipity is great when you can get it. You just can’t count on it.
This whole topic is one of those what-ifs one thinks about in the offseason.
The fact is that Donovan McNabb is here and Jay Cutler is not. Is there a quarterback that the ‘Skins can bring in and avoid the transition turmoil they went through with McNabb? I think not. Swapping quarterbacks means the team will go through next year what they went through this year. What about drafting a rookie?
Cam Newton is the sexy first round pick for the Redskins. Exciting. Athletic. Crowd pleaser. Raw.
Comments by NFL GMs and independent studies point to the gulf between the BCS and the NFL. That would be a long jump for Newton, a one year wonder at Auburn. Quarterback play is not the most pressing issue for the Redskins. That was true before the Redskins traded for McNabb. It’s true now when they seem to want to trade McNabb.
Replacing the quarterback ought not be top priority for this team.