Saturday, April 4, 2009

8 comments Dan McNeil and Ross Tucker Race to the Finish Line of Stupidity

That's right everyone. Bust out the chips and open another beer, it's two for one Saturday! I realize everyone has had enough of Jay Cutler thus far, but Dan McNeil has a primo bad article about Jay Cutler. (I did just type "primo," so you know this is some serious business.) It was written before Cutler got traded to McNeil's hometown team, the Chicago Bears, but it is ever so relevant for today. Also, Ross Tucker thinks he has the perfect draft strategy for the Detroit Lions. I think he may have taken one too many hits on the practice field.

Let's start off with Dan McNeil. He compares Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton, except he uses no statistics and just gives his opinion...which is a wrong opinion because he does not use statistics and has apparently not watched the NFL during the last two years.

Might Orton be more mature?

Ask me when Orton sobers up.

More mature than your average college student?

Everyone loves Jack and Coke!

Is that vomit, piss, water, or did one of her breast implants pop?

Brady Quinn wants Orton's number.

I think I am going to go with a big "no" on Orton being more mature than Jay Cutler. Really, that is not the question though. The question really should be who the better quarterback is and I think we know the answer to that one.

Jay Cutler is this decade's Ryan Leaf. Big body. Big arm. Big dope.

Leaf. Cutler.

They are actually very similar. Cutler had more completions and less attempts last year than Ryan Leaf had for his entire career, Cutler threw almost double the touchdown passes last year than Leaf threw for his entire career, and his career QB rating is 37 points higher than Ryan Leaf. See, they are very similar when it comes to the things that really matter, which is performance on the field. Similar being defined as "not alike."

Are columnists allergic to statistics? Or are they just too damn lazy to look things up? Hyperbole has its place and time but when writing an editorial type opinion column, it's not the best time to include facts and claims that are incredibly off base. There are no similarities to Ryan Leaf and Jay Cutler, unless you want to count the statistics Cutler accumulated his first year when he only started five games and you compare those to Leaf's entire career. Then they are more similar.

Even their personalities are different. Leaf offended everyone with his abrasive personality, while Cutler is a big cry baby. Dan, you missed this one.

Cutler's erratic play is reason enough for Bears general manager Jerry Angelo to pass on cutting a deal for the disgruntled Denver Broncos quarterback.

He has been a starter in the NFL for barely 2.5 years and is 25 years old. He showed improvement from his first full season as a starter to his second full season as a starter. I don't know what else you want from him.

It's not hard to see Cutler does not have erratic play, see the NFL keeps statistics, look at them. You may learn something from them. Every NFL quarterback is going to have statistics that vary from game to game based on who they are playing, but Cutler made progress as whole last year as a quarterback, which is generally a favorable indicator of his future potential.

And why Cutler advocates are tacking ''franchise quarterback'' and ''star'' to his business card is a mystery. Cutler has been in the league three years, and his next playoff appearance will be his first.

Yes, it is completely Cutler's fault he has not made the playoffs as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The absolutely horrible defense Denver put on the field the last two years has nothing to do with it. Why can't Cutler learn to rush the passer? It's all his fault!

Just like some quarterbacks get a little bit too much credit for their team's success based on the team's record (Kerry Collins/Jake Delhomme), some quarterbacks are to blame for their team's lack of success. At least that is how the brainless media would like for everyone to think.

The next sentence Dan McNeil writes that I agree with, will be the first.

The reason these silly Cutler "advocates" are putting "star" and "franchise quarterback" beside his name is because of his "statistics" and because no matter how you sort those statistics Cutler is a pretty damn good quarterback for a 25 year old who had no running game last year, or at least had no consistent running game.

Blame fantasy football. Big numbers have distorted reality so much, we can't decipher what's good anymore. Cutler threw for more than 4,500 yards last season and made the Pro Bowl,

These numbers are not distorted and fantasy football has nothing to do with this. The numbers speak for themselves. He threw for 4.500 yards last year, that is a good number, no matter how you want to portray it.

but when the Broncos needed him to be ''the man'' and take them to the playoffs, he spit the bit.

Do you know what other quarterback did not take his team to the playoffs when his team needed him to be "the man?" Drew Brees. I bet Dan McNeil thinks he sucks too. Maybe the problem is that Chicago columnist have not seen a good quarterback in such a long time and really don't understand what makes a great quarterback, so everyone is afraid of getting a good one. Much like Joe Morgan and computers.

Denver lost to Carolina, Buffalo and San Diego in its final three games.

The defense gave up 30, 30, and 52 points in those games. Dammit Cutler, it's all your fault!

Sounds more like Rex Grossman than Elway.

It does not sound more like Rex Grossman. Here are his career numbers. Cutler's are much better.

I wish I could just write whatever I want, get paid for it and my readers would never call me out on my inaccuracies. Actually I don't, because I like to write accurate sentences. It gives me a little credibility and doesn't make me look like an ass.

Cutler threw 25 touchdown passes with 18 interceptions and posted an above-average 86 rating in 2008. He also contributed largely to bad losses to Kansas City -- after a 3-0 start -- and to Oakland in Week 12 at home.

You want to endure another few seasons of ''Good Rex, Bad Rex''?

Unbelievable. I am not even going to try and match wits with McNeil here. Two bad games in a 16 game schedule is not that bad for a quarterback. Especially one that is 25 years old.

Minnesota also is interested, but several members of the coaching staff have seen enough red flags from Cutler that they reportedly are attempting to dissuade coach Brad Childress from pressing the issue.

I am sure that is the only reason they are not pursuing him. It has nothing to do with the fact they traded a 4th round pick for Sage Rosenfels and then signed him for 2 year at $9 million earlier in the offseason. Absolutely nothing.

And the Vikings have Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels scheduled to duel for the No. 1 job in training camp.

Just throw that important fact in. The Falcons were going to look into trading for Cutler, but they were also turned off by his attitude.

And they have their own Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Ryan...but it was mostly Cutler's bad attitude that caused them not to trade for him.

The New York Jets also are in the Cutler sweepstakes as they seek Brett Favre's successor. Veteran safety Kerry Rhodes has stated publicly he won't welcome the self-assured Cutler on board.

Maybe Rhodes saw a little bit of Brett Favre in Cutler and did not like that. If the media saw some Brett Favre in Cutler he would be their new darling.

The unkempt quarterback refused to reply to messages left by new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.

Yes, Cutler is a baby. I have covered this to no end.

McNeil was comparing Cutler to Orton and he calls Cutler "unkempt?" Compared to Mister Neckbeard? The same one who has had pictures taken of him with a heavy amount of a liquid on his shirt? Cutler is more unkempt than that guy?

If the Bears had a track record of making good soldiers out of questionable characters, it would be easier to have an open mind. I struggle, however, to imagine coach Lovie Smith and his wingmen helping Cutler see the light.

Cutler does not have questionable character, he is a cry baby. There is a difference. Just because the Bears coaching staff sucks doesn't mean Cutler is a bad quarterback.

Even if the Bears were able to tame Cutler, there is no evidence they're able to unlock his potential. The Bears never have developed quarterbacks.

"Our team has a horrible coaching staff, there is no good reason to trade for a great quarterback because they will do a horrible job of developing him." That doesn't sound like a reason to avoid Cutler, but more like a reason to fire the coaching staff.

Quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton hasn't made me think, ''Oh, yeah! A young Mike Holmgren.'' Offensive coordinator Ron Turner had one great season with the Bears. In 1995.

Seriously, not a reason to avoid trading for Cutler. You can repeat yourself a few more times but it is not changing the fact this is a bad reason to not trade for Cutler.

It's true the Bears have more questions than answers about Kyle Orton, but Orton shares more with Cutler than people know. With their teams fighting for a wild-card berth, both posted sub-50 ratings in two of their final three games last season.

That is pretty much all Orton shares with Cutler in regard to football skill. Outside of those three games, Cutler was the better quarterback by a wide, wide margin. Cherry picking statistics to prove a point is fun!

I don't see Orton petulantly not replying to a text from his head coach, however, when Smith praises the play of Brett Basanez in a preseason game this August. Orton likely won't be baited into a war of words with another quarterback in his division, the way Cutler was last year with San Diego's Philip Rivers.

Neither of these two things just listed that Orton does not do will help the Chicago Bears win football games.

Orton will also not throw for 4,500 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns. Orton is a good stop gap quarterback or a backup quarterback, but he is not Jay Cutler. Everyone but Clark Judge and Dan McNeil agree with this.

A good leader must be willing to be unpopular. So far, that's the only part of the job Cutler has down.

Well, that and being a much better quarterback than about 25 other quarterbacks in the league...including Kyle Orton.

Ross Tucker thinks the Lions should just not make a pick when the time comes for them to pick in the April draft.

In the wake of Matthew Stafford's "flawless" private workout with the Detroit brass Tuesday, some sources have reported the Lions' intention to draft the Georgia quarterback with the No. 1-overall pick is a "done deal."

Other reports, however, indicate Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith remains the Lions' top choice and they point to the fact that the Lions have begun preliminary negotiations with Smith's representation. Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe also remain in the conversation as the Lions' new brain trust makes its biggest decision to date.

I could get on board with two of these four players, not Stafford and Monroe, because I think Curry and Jason Smith are going to be good pros. The Lions do have options though.

Here's some free advice for the Lions: Strongly consider passing on the No. 1 pick. Just let the time run out, Minnesota Vikings-style. Don't bother skimming the rest of the column looking for an April Fool's Day reveal. It's a serious suggestion.

Here's some free advice for Ross Tucker.......what are you talking about?

Given the financial commitment inherent in making the No. 1 pick and the lack of a clear-cut best player, the Lions should consider letting the clock strike zero and let the Rams make the first selection. Maybe even let the Chiefs slide in there too, before making a pick at three or four.

I can partially understand this reasoning. After all, money is one of the reasons I don't always think picking a quarterback #1 in the draft is a smart idea. It takes a few years for them to develop and they just feel like big gambles to me for what they get paid. I may be wrong, and there are exceptions, but I think in the Lions' situation picking a tackle or a defensive player is the smart move.

The #1 pick is expensive, but even if the Lions did this, who is to say the agent for the player they select won't want that player slotted as the #1 pick in the draft no matter where that player is picked? It could very well happen.

The money paid to the top five rookies has gotten so steep that this approach could be a legitimate option for a team.

So the Lions should just pass up the chance to pick until the 6th pick in the draft? That is potentially blowing the opportunity to get the best player in the draft. The Lions have to have faith in their personnel department to believe they can draft the best player, if they don't have that confidence, they should get a new personnel department.

This is why I think Ross Tucker is wrong and dumb for suggesting this. Let's look at last year's rookie class and how much money the teams paid out for them. Even at #3 Matt Ryan got more money and more guaranteed money than anyone else in the draft, because he was a quarterback. What Ross Tucker does not understand is that picking a certain position can cost more, so if the Lions try to slide down to #7, and pick Stafford or Sanchez, they may still have to pony up a shitload of money. Looking at what the rookies signed for last year, it seems like at #9 the numbers for a rookie, looking just at the numbers and not in-depth at the contract, become fairly reasonable. To suggest the Lions should fall from #1 to #8/#9 just for money reasons is lunacy. Rather than that, they should trade the pick, put all the name of the players they are considering in a hat and draw a name out, or even just draft Aaron Curry (my personal choice). It doesn't matter, but if money is the problem, the Lions are going to have to pass up on picking for 7 or 8 picks before the money gets fairly reasonable.

If the Lions would truly be content with any of the aforementioned four players, there's no need to waste time negotiating or spend top-slot money when they can simply let the clock run out and take one of the other players a pick or two down the line.

Again, if they pick Matthew Stafford at any point in the top 5, they could very well end up paying him the largest contract in the draft.

every subsequent pick in the top five of the draft has ended up commanding around $2 million less in guaranteed compensation than the prior pick. That means the Lions could save a cool $4 million at least by letting the Rams and Chiefs pick first, while still landing a very good player who they were considering taking with the top pick anyway.

Are you kidding me? That is $4 million over the life of the contract, which comes to saving less than one million per year and missing out on choosing two players that could make a difference. For God's sake, if the Lions are that cheap, just trade the #1 pick to the Rams or the Chiefs for a 7th round pick or something. Get something out of it, rather than just not picking and hoping you get the player you want.

The thing that seems to get lost when discussing a rookie wage scale is that the money has only gotten out of hand for the first 10, maybe 15, selections. In fact, the later portion of the first round and almost all of the selections in the second round often represent a tremendous value for the teams picking in that range. The sweet spot in terms of return on investment appears to be spots 20-50, where a team can select a player with a high probability to be a quality starter at a price that is less than what a veteran starter would likely get on the open market at that position.

I bet Ross Tucker thinks the Lions should just not draft until the middle of the first round. They would save so much money at that point!

Sure the #1 pick is expensive, but any pick in the top 10 is going to be that way. Why not pay more and draft the player you actually want and not risk that player going somewhere else?

The same cannot be said for the top five or 10 picks, however. For example, if the Lions choose Curry, Monroe or Smith instead of Stafford with the top pick, that player will immediately become the highest-paid player in league history at his position, a reality that makes no sense considering he will basically be getting paid for what he did in college and what he might be able to do in the NFL.

I agree, it makes absolutely no sense the way the rookies get paid in the top 10 picks of the draft. Is it really worth it to the Lions though to make a public statement they don't like this? They need to re-energize a fan base and actually win a game this year, this is no time for statements about how rookie salaries are out of whack. Save it for another day and pick the best player available.

The Lions are staring the here and now squarely in the face, and their best option, as crazy as it sounds, might be to simply let time run out.

It sounds crazy because it is crazy. I have no problem with the Lions not picking #1 in the draft but they need to make a move that gets them something in return for not picking #1 in the draft. Just letting the clock run out should not be an option. No team wants to pay for the #1 pick in the draft but to avoid paying a rookie a lot of money, a team would have to fall out of the top 10 picks or so. The system sucks and is unfair to teams because they are overpaying for a rookie contract but the Lions are in no position to buck the system. They have two first round picks this year and need both of them, money expenditures be damned.

If they don't want the #1 pick, try to trade it and if they can't get anything for it, try again. Don't give the pick away or let the clock run out because they will still end up paying a lot for a rookie, and they could miss out on the exact player they want. What if Curry, Monroe, and Smith are the first three picks and the Lions choose to pick at #4 and get Stafford...then he wants more money than the top 3 because he is a quarterback? Then the Lions picked 4th and still paid more than anyone else. Find a player you want and choose that player.

Ross nemesis.


Martin said...

At least he didn't say "He just wins football games". Sadly, as the internet became more accessable, the true laziness and stupidity of newapaper writers became more and more evident. One thing that papers don't seem to be able to figure out is that maybe if they had people who knew what they were talking about, people might buy their product. using the logic of these guys, the Bears should go out and get the 48th guy from the Patriots roster from 2007. Man went 16-0, all he does is win! ~sigh~

I can hardly wait for the 300 articles telling me how great some pitcher is this season cause he's 12-3 at the All-Star break, when he's getting something like 6 1/2 runs per game in support. He's really come on strong this year! He's a winner!

Anonymous said...

Martin - The whole thing is tiresome. I am a talk radio guy. Mainly sports with some politics thrown in as well. It's just as bad. The afternoon of the trade, one of the WORST of a long line of bad radio hosts went on and on saying that BOTH the Jets and 'Skins had some explaining to do! Were they BOTH supposed to get Cutler? C'mon already...Give us something!

And you, BGF...Since you insist upon forcing Cutler down our throats for 20 days or more the least you can do is give us your predictions on the games tonight. I want explanations behind them too!

Bengoodfella said...

I think the Internet is really showing how bad some journalism is. This article was linked by a reader in one of our comment sections. I would never have found it without his help. This was very bad. He compared Ryan Leaf and Jay Cutler like they were equal or something.

The media really doesn't get the whole run support thing at all. They refuse to and will never do anything to try and understand it.

Sean, I would love to have given you some picks...unfortunately, yesterday morning in the middle of digging in my driveway to build a better driveway, I decided to pick ax the Internet/TV line, so that was pretty much that for the Internet and the Final Four last night. I could not give my prediction. They went like this though 76-67 UConn and 90-71 UNC, so I was wrong on both counts. The scores weren't completely off but I was wrong.

I think I have a good pick for the National Championship game though.
Considering the team I have been saying since the beginning of the year was going to be in it, is actually in the game, that's me tooting my own horn, I think we know which way I will go...but I want to get the score correctly.

Sorry to throw the Cutler stuff down everyone's throat, there was so much bad journalism, I could not help but write articles about. I will try to avoid a lot of it in the MMQB tomorrow.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, you asked me whether you should take Russell Martin or Brian McCann. Based on McCann's first at bat, I should have said McCann for sure.

Martin said...

Braves win!! Braves Win!! Going to the Series!! Only 15 more games to go!

wait....What? 161 more of these things? Well, dayam.

If any of you are the types who like to place a wager, I would seriously think about putting some money on any team in the AL West that isn't the Angels or Rangers. I heard that the A's are the next best bet at 10-1 odds. Between them and the Mariners, I'm unsure how good either will be, but at this point and time, it's a serious possibility that the Angels will be without their top FOUR starters for at least a month, and maybe one for the entire season. It looks like Lackey and Saunders might just miss April, and nobody is real sure about Escobar, but Santana might very well be done the entire year. That means the rotation at this time is Weaver.....and a bunch of bloggers as near as I can tell. You could probably make a nice little bit of change if you could get that bet down before the games tomorrow night.

Bengoodfella said...

I would put my money on the A's in that case. I don't know if I like the Mariners this year. The Rangers have no pitching and I think the A's young pitching will put them 2nd in that division...or now first.

I have no idea how to gamble or how I would gamble if given the opportunity.

The Casey said...

Tom Verducci is already picking on the Phillies. The Braves' magic number is 162!

Bengoodfella said...

Yes! They only need 95 more victories to win the division. Who cares if the Phillies did not start their best pitcher or that somehow Jeff Franceour closed his eyes and knocked the ball over the fence for a homerun? Who cares the Braves offense did very little last night outside of the first couple of innings? The Phillies are screwed because they lost one game.

Panic in the streets of Philly!