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The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler

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Posted: 7/7/2013 5:46 AM

The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Which QB is really better? The #'s don't lie.
http://nflspinzone.com/2013/06/18/the-truth-behind -matthew-stafford-and-jay-cutler/


Matthew Stafford is commonly heralded as a top 10 QB in the NFL. Recently, NFL.com placed him #76 out of its annual Top 100. While Stafford burst onto the scene in 2011 with career numbers, a closer look comparing him to arch-rival Jay Cutler reveals very troubling implications, as the latter QB is hardly ever included the “elite discussion”. However, if a QB must be measured on his wins, particularly against quality competition, Jay Cutler not only surpasses Stafford, he makes him look rather weak in comparison.

Often, pundits and fans alike point to Cutler’s record versus Aaron Rodgers. They use this as the basis for proving that Jay isn’t on the same level because of the head-to-head significance. While this is a fair point, the same logic must apply when comparing Cutler to Stafford. The Georgia product is 1-5 vs. Cutler, and if you look at their in-game stats as well as complementary personnel, it’s not that close at all. Most of the attention has been devoted to Stafford and his growing legacy. This piece will do the opposite.

First, however, let’s break down Matt Stafford a bit more.

THE CASE AGAINST MATTHEW STAFFORD

Many fail to concede that, despite his 5,000 yard season in 2011, Stafford failed to defeat a single team that finished with a winning record. Up until the Seahawks game in 2012, the QB had NEVER defeated a single team that fared better than .500. People point to Cutler’s struggles vs. Green Bay; however, Stafford has never defeated Rodgers, has never made a pro-bowl, has never won a playoff game, has never won a division title, has never played in a conference title game, and cannot beat quality teams. In case you’re keeping score, Jay Cutler has accomplished all of those things.

When comparing quarterbacks, fans and the media alike rarely factor wins and losses into the equation. This is the case with both Stafford and Cutler. This past season, Matthew Stafford threw nearly 300 more passes than Jay Cutler. He was only sacked 29 times the entire season despite the fact that he fired an insane 727 passes. Yet, with better protection, a legitimate Tight End, and the league’s best WR, Stafford only managed one more TD. Cutler enjoyed the better passer rating, and Stafford threw 3 more INT’S.
Jay Cutler, on the other hand, did not have a Tight End that was starter quality, and prior to 2012, the Vanderbilt alumni was throwing to glorified kick returners and converted CB’s (Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Rashied. Davis) and suffered from the worst offensive line pro football had to offer. The fact that Cutler was sacked MORE than Stafford last year despite tossing 293 LESS passes tells you everything you need to know concerning how poor Cutler’s protectors were. Adding in the fact that Mike Tice was a big proponent of max protection, and those sack figures become even more egregious.

In a pass-happy league, the Lions threw the ball 196 more times than their opponents. Conversely, the Bears threw the pigskin 107 times LESS than their opponents. This is a key point because in 2011 Stafford and the Lions chucked it 666 times, an enormous amount of drop-backs. This has afforded Stafford many more chances to succeed in the passing game. Cutler, likewise, has thrown the ball much less. This owes in part because of the presence of Matt Forte and the liability of the Bears’ O-line. Cutler was sacked 38 times in only 14.5 games, yet he still beat more teams that finished with a winning record compared to Stafford. In fact, since 2007, Cutler has defeated at least 2 teams per year that enjoyed a record better than .500. The same cannot be said for Stafford, who routinely falls short vs. premier teams and has defeated only 1 team that finished over .500 his entire career. Yet, pundits unfailingly overlook this important point, crediting him for his lofty passing numbers in favor of showcase wins.

THE CASE FOR JAY CUTLER

While some “experts” have begun to point to Jay’s promising win-loss record, others are too mired in statistical bling to give him any credit. If you look at what Jay had around him, even including Brandon Marshall, it’s clear that Stafford enjoyed much better weaponry. While Stafford benefits from the league’s best WR in Calvin Johnson, he also has a real Tight End in Brandon Pettigrew, a capable O-line, and effective coaching. Jay had one WR last year (Marshall), a horrendous O-line, no viable Tight End, a kick returner and a rookie for complementary wideouts (Hester and Jeffery). The fact that Jay is more mobile than Stafford but was sacked 9 more times despite throwing far fewer passes reveals part of the reason his numbers haven’t blown off the charts. Throw in the fact that Cutler played in nearly 2 fewer games and this appears even more troubling.

The best evidence that Jay Cutler is the superior QB rests in his win-loss record when measured against Stafford’s as well as head-to-head competition. For his NFL career, Stafford is 17-28. This is hardly an impressive record for a player entering his fifth campaign. The lack of quality wins is especially troubling, especially when compared to Jay Cutler, whose NFL career record is 51-38. In his last 38 COMPLETE games, however, Cutler is 28-10. He is 27-13 over the past 3 seasons. What’s more, nobody uses these figures to compare the 2 players. Stats rule the day, and it’s unfortunate because Cutler simply hasn’t had the players around him or the coaching to truly reach his potential.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Jay Cutler is 5-1 vs. Matthew Stafford in the NFL. If you look closer at the stats, it is pretty clear why. In these 6 games, Cutler has thrown 7 TD’s against only one INT. Stafford has thrown 8 TD’s vs. 8 INT’s. If head-to-head competition is a feasible indicator of superior talent, how can Cutler’s dominance of this rivalry be overlooked? In point of fact, Cutler was the second highest rated QB in the NFC North this past year, despite an inept OC and the other aforementioned issues. What’s even more troubling is the fact that Stafford left both the 2009 game and the 2010 game in which he played against the Bears. People still won’t forgive Cutler for the 2010 NFC Championship fiasco, yet it’s seemingly fine for Stafford to leave multiple games with an assortment of injuries during his 2009 and 2010 campaigns. It seems people only want to focus on the ebullient stats Stafford brings to the table without taking a hard look at his win-loss percentage as well as his failure to defeat quality teams like the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, and just about any team with a winning record. Add to that the fact that Detroit slings it more than just about any other team and it’s easy to see why Stafford puts up a lot of yards.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Matthew Stafford is a talented QB whose arm complements the Lions’ style. He can still improve, yet he and Cutler share many traits. They are both quintessential gunslingers that take chances other QB’s shy away from. They force defenses to cover the entire field. They both have a tendency to run hot and cold, yet are among the best in the business when they bring their “A” Game. However, if wins and losses define the better players, Jay Cutler has to rise to the top owing to his better record, especially considering the people he’s had around him the past 4 seasons in Chicago. This year will be a good sampling because Jay Cutler finally has two things he’s lacked since his pro-bowl days in Denver – - efficient coaching and a decent O-line.

Matthew Stafford must prove he can win big games vs. quality teams. He must be able to defeat Jay Cutler lest his Top 10 status become even more dubious. Last season, defenses figured out a way to limit him. If Stafford is truly one of the best, he must circumvent this and find a way to win. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Life is but a scribble in the dark.
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Posted: 7/7/2013 7:05 AM

Re: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Great article, I wonder how Lion fans are going to try to spin the fact based analysis of what we already know.
"Serenity Now"
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Posted: 7/7/2013 10:03 AM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Good article. My only concern with this POV is the win/loss ratio. I (and I accept that I could be in the minority) don't totally buy into that assessment. Once upon a time some of us were defending Cutler's ratio too.

Cutler also had been under scrutiny at one time about his post season record. We've also seen the "quality wins" thing presented against him. I mean, its nice to see someone present some facts that support how good Cutler has been despite all the other issues, but I won't in turn apply the same logic to another player knowing that there's still more factors involved.

The Lions throw the ball so much because they haven't had a reliable ground game for years now. They are about as one dimensional as an offense can be, and they have the league's best receiver in Calvin Johnson (how long before Marshall takes his title?).

Teams pretty much expect them to throw it and they don't have to worry about getting gashed in the ground game. There's a lot of elements that go into winning football games, and being one dimensional on offense usually isn't one of them.

I think Detroit's chances will improve with a better ground game and an improved defense. Heck, even with just the ground game in place they'll be better. Stafford will be dropping back less and chances for mistakes will reduce while the aerial game may actually catch a defense off guard for once. I think Cutler is better because his abilities have kept many hopeless drives alive when there was no help.

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Posted: 7/7/2013 10:46 AM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I agree on the win loss ratio and I think that is what this article is saying. You can't compare W-L with Cutler and Rodgers but ignore that Stafford is owned by the Bears.

Today's Nfl is hyped by passing statistics and when you have a good D and a running game your through the air production will rarely see 4,000+ yds.

I hope this article is right and a new coach and a new line will equal a new day for away Cutler.
"Serenity Now"
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Posted: 7/7/2013 1:34 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


The only thing this article confirms is that the Bears have been a better team then the Lions.. Wins/losses is a team stat not a individual stat especially in a game like football that has 3 phases to the game..   Both guys are good QB's but this argument gives credit to Cutler for team wins that the Bears won primarily on Defense and knocks Stafford for losses because a lack of a Defense..

 Not to mention it leaves out the fact that Cutler was traded to a playoff team and Stafford started as a rookie on a team that went 0-16 the yr before..  Both teams are built differently so there isn't a comparison you can really use.. Stafford is going to have better stats because the Lions have more offensive talent and Cutler is going to have more wins because the Bears weren't rebuilding when he was traded to the Bears.. This is what you call a strawman's argument..  Using this type of logic Trent Dilfer is a better QB then Dan Marino because he has a SB ring..
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Posted: 7/7/2013 2:57 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Cutler was traded to a playoff team?

The good news is that a Lions fan admits we have had the better team since Cutler has been here.

Our offense has had better balance than the Lions for a while now and that's part of the reason we can stack wins. I believe our only loss was the Monday night disaster a few years ago.

I just look forward to seeing Jay in a real offense with an improved line and a few more offensive weapons.


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--- MotorCityManiac wrote:

The only thing this article confirms is that the Bears have been a better team then the Lions.. Wins/losses is a team stat not a individual stat especially in a game like football that has 3 phases to the game..   Both guys are good QB's but this argument gives credit to Cutler for team wins that the Bears won primarily on Defense and knocks Stafford for losses because a lack of a Defense..

 Not to mention it leaves out the fact that Cutler was traded to a playoff team and Stafford started as a rookie on a team that went 0-16 the yr before..  Both teams are built differently so there isn't a comparison you can really use.. Stafford is going to have better stats because the Lions have more offensive talent and Cutler is going to have more wins because the Bears weren't rebuilding when he was traded to the Bears.. This is what you call a strawman's argument..  Using this type of logic Trent Dilfer is a better QB then Dan Marino because he has a SB ring..

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Posted: 7/7/2013 3:22 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 



Northsiders wrote: Cutler was traded to a playoff team?


I think what he meant to say was that at that point in time the Bears had a roster that was playoff capable with good talent at some key positions and were missing a talented QB to help them take another step.  On the other hand, the Lions' cupboard was pretty bare when Stafford got there due to their management's incompetence and years of horrible drafting.

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. -Albert Einstein

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Posted: 7/7/2013 4:59 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Cutler vs. Stafford?   They're pretty much the same guy.

 

It's true that Calvin gives Stafford a big edge.  Don't agree with the other points about Detroit's OL and TE being better than Chicago's -  neither unit has been very good on either team.    On the flip side, Chicago's opportunistic defense has given Cutler more scoring opportunities and better chances at winning games.

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Posted: 7/7/2013 6:34 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I agree W-L isn't necessarily a QB stat but when a team is 27-13 with a guy and like 1-7 without him......I don think its fair to say the defense won all those games on their own.

I think ability wise they are pretty similar....but Stafford took a step back last year at least from what I saw. Throwing side arm and looking kind of lost at times. And as much as Lions fans won't admit it....having the best receiver in the game is a huge crutch for him. If they lost him...then I have a feeling Stafford would have some issues.
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Posted: 7/7/2013 8:05 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I agree. I think if you put them on the same team you're gonna get close to the same thing.

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--- mjs0252 wrote:

Cutler vs. Stafford?   They're pretty much the same guy.

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"Steady progress in the goal of winning championships."- Phil Emery
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Posted: 7/7/2013 9:10 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I would counter that outside of Forte, Stafford had more talent. That might be shifting back towards the a Bears so time will tell. Cutler was better last year and seems to be heading In the right direction.

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--- skepticalbear wrote:


Northsiders wrote: Cutler was traded to a playoff team?


I think what he meant to say was that at that point in time the Bears had a roster that was playoff capable with good talent at some key positions and were missing a talented QB to help them take another step.  On the other hand, the Lions' cupboard was pretty bare when Stafford got there due to their management's incompetence and years of horrible drafting.

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Posted: 7/7/2013 9:26 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I am curious as to how they are similar at all. Their styles seem very different to me. For one, Cutler is more mobile where Stafford seems more comfortable in the pocket. Cutler has had a very solid career with some postseason success. stafford has had one very good season for stats but can't get over the top in the post season.

Stafford and Cutler had similar numbers last year and the Bears were a just miss for the playoffs and the Lions were a joke again.

Does that mean we don't have to hear about how their defense is better or even comparable to us this offseason? Do we get to ignore how. Much better their D line is? Do we get to hear how much better their LB'ers have been for years, or even their great safeties???

Every year they brag on their D and when it's all said and done its the scapegoat for why stafford didnt get it done.

As many have pointed out a team can really make a QB. Tom Brady should be a lesson for that argument this year.
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--- Anytime23 wrote:

I agree. I think if you put them on the same team you're gonna get close to the same thing.

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--- mjs0252 wrote:

Cutler vs. Stafford?   They're pretty much the same guy.

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Posted: 7/8/2013 8:51 AM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Outside of the mobility, they're both strong armed QBs who regularly show poor decision making. Can look brilliant one quarter and pathetic the next. Neither has had post-season success and I don't consider Jays 1 win as post-season success. It's just 1 win. Saying that, id take Jay over Stafford any day but I don't think he's that much better. To me, Jay has this season and the next to prove that he's a franchise QB. It's time to take the next step.

"Steady progress in the goal of winning championships."- Phil Emery
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Posted: 7/8/2013 8:59 AM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


IMO, Cutler is better. People always use the fact that Rodgers is 6-1 vs. Cutler as an indication that he's better. The same has to apply to Cutlet/Stafford. Stafford chucked over 700 passes last year and was sacked less than Cutler. Stafford has 2 good TE's, the best WR in Football, and a good line. Yet he never beats good teams. That's enough proof for me.
Life is but a scribble in the dark.
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Posted: 7/8/2013 10:27 AM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


Meh. Cutler has one postseason win, and it came against a 7-9 team. In Stafford's one postseason game, he threw for 390 yards, 3 td's and 2 picks, and his team's defense allowed 45 points. There's not enough there to call Cutler a better postseason player.

Jay needs to be better guys. Admitting that doesn't make you a bad fan. It's time for him to actually start playing like one of the top QB's in the league instead of us just reflexively saying that he is. The numbers just don't support it. He was in the teens in almost every relevant category last year right next to guys like Sam Bradford and Christian Ponder, and that was with Brandon Marshall having the best WR season in franchise history.
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Posted: 7/8/2013 11:02 AM

Re: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 



I think they are pretty even also.

But I would rather have Cutler for two reasons:

He looks like a man and he plays like a man.

Stafford does neither.
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Posted: 7/8/2013 12:44 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 



DoubleDown11 wrote: Meh. Cutler has one postseason win, and it came against a 7-9 team. In Stafford's one postseason game, he threw for 390 yards, 3 td's and 2 picks, and his team's defense allowed 45 points. There's not enough there to call Cutler a better postseason player.

Jay needs to be better guys. Admitting that doesn't make you a bad fan. It's time for him to actually start playing like one of the top QB's in the league instead of us just reflexively saying that he is. The numbers just don't support it. He was in the teens in almost every relevant category last year right next to guys like Sam Bradford and Christian Ponder, and that was with Brandon Marshall having the best WR season in franchise history.


Jay threw for 275 and 2 TD's along with over 40 more yards rushing and two more TD's. And no turnovers. He was pretty stellar in that Seattle game.

To me Cutler is way better because he gets some pretty solid results with hardly anything. Until Marshall came, he had no outstanding receivers and a suspect line. Meanwhile Stafford has a ton more talent around him including a guy who broke Rice's yard record last year.

I agree Cutler needs to take the next step and get into that elite category and he should have the talent to do that next season. *knock on wood*

"Illusions Micheal, illusions. Tricks are something that a whore does for money.....or cocaine". - Gob Bluth
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Posted: 7/8/2013 3:09 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I love how everyone forgets that the 7-9 Seahawks beat the defending champ Saints on the road the week before we beat them.

Do people even look at the games played or do they just go with a record?

As a reminder, that crappy 7-9 team also beat the Bears earlier that year.

I agree that Jay needs to play better but to say that wasn't a good game is not fair and dead wrong.

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--- Cubfan41 wrote:


DoubleDown11 wrote: Meh. Cutler has one postseason win, and it came against a 7-9 team. In Stafford's one postseason game, he threw for 390 yards, 3 td's and 2 picks, and his team's defense allowed 45 points. There's not enough there to call Cutler a better postseason player.

Jay needs to be better guys. Admitting that doesn't make you a bad fan. It's time for him to actually start playing like one of the top QB's in the league instead of us just reflexively saying that he is. The numbers just don't support it. He was in the teens in almost every relevant category last year right next to guys like Sam Bradford and Christian Ponder, and that was with Brandon Marshall having the best WR season in franchise history.

Jay threw for 275 and 2 TD's along with over 40 more yards rushing and two more TD's. And no turnovers. He was pretty stellar in that Seattle game.

To me Cutler is way better because he gets some pretty solid results with hardly anything. Until Marshall came, he had no outstanding receivers and a suspect line. Meanwhile Stafford has a ton more talent around him including a guy who broke Rice's yard record last year.

I agree Cutler needs to take the next step and get into that elite category and he should have the talent to do that next season. *knock on wood*



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Posted: 7/8/2013 4:08 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 



Northsiders wrote: I love how everyone forgets that the 7-9 Seahawks beat the defending champ Saints on the road the week before we beat them.

Do people even look at the games played or do they just go with a record?

As a reminder, that crappy 7-9 team also beat the Bears earlier that year.



Exactly.

Any team that wins a playoff game on the road deserves to be in the final eight, regardless of the regular season record.
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Posted: 7/8/2013 6:42 PM

RE: The Truth Behind Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler 


I 100% agree on winning any playoff game is big. Especially a team you lost to at home earlier in the season.

But the Seahawks beat the Saints at home. That was the game Lynch dragged 6 guys in to the endzone.

But Cufler was outstanding against the Seahawks. 2 throwing 2 running in the snow. He played great.
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