Thursday, August 6, 2015

4 comments Rick Telander Thinks Jay Cutler Should Be More Like Tim Tebow Because Tebow is "An Effective Quarterback"

Bears fans wondered last year what was wrong with Jay Cutler. NFL analysts either still believe Cutler can be a great NFL quarterback or think the Bears should give up on him. John Fox is either going to make Cutler into a quarterback who makes great decisions with a conservative, run-based game plan (plus third down draws!) or pull him by Week 5 in favor of Jimmy Clausen. Not that Fox wants to re-live the Clausen Experiment of 2010 of course, but he does what he has to in order to win. He did, after all, get Tim Tebow to win games as a starting quarterback in the NFL. That's impressive. Speaking of Tim Tebow, Rick Telander believes Jay Cutler should be more like Tim Tebow. Rick wants Jay Cutler to learn how to be an effective NFL quarterback. Now unless Rick has traveled to the year 2019 during his lifetime, and at that point Tebow has actually become an effective NFL quarterback, I have no idea why he would state Tebow is an effective quarterback. But hey, we should all be more like Tebow.

Here’s a thought: If Tim Tebow can learn to be an effective NFL quarterback, why can’t our buddy Jay Cutler?

Jay Cutler's career numbers: 61-58 record as a starter, 61.7% completion, 183 TD's, 130 INT's, 27749 yards, 233.2 yards per game, 85.2 rating. 324 rushing attempts, 1425 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 8 touchdowns.

Tim Tebow's career numbers: 8-6 as a starter, 47.9% completion, 17 TD's, 9 INT's, 2422 yards, 69.2 yards per game, 75.3 rating. 197 rushing attempts, 989 yards, 5.0 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns.

Granted, Tebow's sample size is significantly smaller, but if Telander will make the assertion then I will counter the assertion with the statistics I have. Tebow is not an effective quarterback compared to Jay Cutler, even if you include the rushing yards each has. Tebow has running plays called for him more than Cutler does, but I was surprised that Cutler has 324 rushing attempts in his career. So no, Tim Tebow did not learn to be an effective NFL quarterback and he in fact regressed as his career went along. If anything, Tebow forgot how to be an effective NFL quarterback as his career continued with the Jets and Patriots.

You may say, "Ben, we are going to learn that Tebow is working with Tom House to be an effective quarterback, so it's safe to assume this will be true." I think that's dumb, yet it's the assumption Rick Telander works this column around.

Now, I’m not saying Tebow, last seen playing quality minutes in the league back in 2011, will ever be Tom Brady. But he’s trying to be.

When I was younger, I was trying to be an NBA player. I worked hard at practicing. That doesn't mean Josh Smith needs to be more like me. 

And for our little hypothetical equation, that counts for a lot.

I'm not sure what this hypothetical equation is all about, but I'm pretty sure "natural talent to be a quarterback" is a big factor in NFL success, so if that's not part of the hypothetical equation comparing Tebow and Cutler then it should be. 

Is Cutler, now in his 10th year in the NFL, with 119 starts under his belt, trying to remake himself into a winning, Super Bowl-caliber QB? We don’t know, since Cutler communicates with the same openness of a trap-door spider, deep in his hole.

Cutler has plenty of other problems, but isn't it funny how many sportswriters' issue with Cutler always ends up being, "He's not nice and friendly to us when we want to talk to him"? It always comes back to that at some point and leads me to believe that if Cutler turned into Jerome Bettis (minus all the drug dealing and gang-banging as a youth which will be forgotten and never brought up again), then he wouldn't get quite so much criticism for just being a decent quarterback sometimes. But the media has to be harder on Cutler because he's not nice and sweet to them. It always feels like that's part of the evaluation of Cutler, either knowingly or unknowingly, from the sports media.

But let’s say he is. Now with a new coach and his fifth offensive coordinator in seven years, Cutler has a chance for rebirth. If he wants to be redone. And it’s even possible. It’s not like his career stats are terrible. He has thrown for almost 28,000 yards and 183 touchdowns. Last season, from an angle, looks like it was a dandy.

Nearly 99% of college quarterbacks who want to play in the NFL would accept these statistics happily and go live life on a pile of money, but that's not the standard Cutler should be held to is it? Lower these numbers, lower the skill level and then think, "Shouldn't Cutler be more like THAT GUY?" If the answer is "absolutely not, are you high?" then congratulations, you aren't a crazy person and Rick Telander's column makes no sense to you. 

So Cutler ought to want to improve. He has to improve.

Read this sentence again while remembering that Tebow is supposedly working harder than ever and seems to be regressing in his ability and opportunities to be an NFL quarterback. Tebow peaked a few years ago and Telander is comparing Cutler to Tebow, as if Tebow hasn't regressed through his career. His statistics don't lie. 

At any rate, here’s what’s up with Tebow, probably most remembered for his college exploits at Florida: Heisman Trophy winner, two-time NCAA national champion (2006 and 2008) and lots of Bible messages on his eye patches. Oh, and there was the famed ‘‘Tebowing,’’ the kneeling in closed-eyes, prayerful motionlessness as teammates and fans swirled around him.

The point is, Tebow can’t really throw. Everybody knows this.

Everybody knows this except for Tim Tebow and the people who are paid to say positive things about Tebow because they have spent time and their credibility trying to turn Tebow into a quarterback who can throw the football. These people will state they believe Tebow can throw the football, partly because they have a good reason to say this. 

It’s likely the Bears, led by running back Marion Barber’s inability to do something as simple as not run out of bounds and stop the clock in a game against the Denver Broncos in December 2011, extended Tebow’s quarterbacking career by a season or so.

I'm surprised Rick isn't trying to find a way to pin this on Jay Cutler somehow. I'm sure it can be done.

"You know, if Jay Cutler was a hard-working quarterback who cared about his chosen profession and wanted to answer our questions, then maybe he could have thrown the ball in this situation to run the clock out, instead of having to rely on a backup running back to do his dirty work for him." 

That sad situation in Denver occurred with the Bears leading by three. Barber cluelessly stopped the clock, giving the wild-armed Tebow a rare moment to eke out a come-from-behind overtime win.

And this is the quarterback who Telander says Jay Cutler should emulate and he also called Tebow "an effective quarterback." Now Tebow is "wild-armed." 

So Tebow, out of the game entirely for the last two seasons, has been religiously (oops, wrong word?) training under former major-league pitcher Tom House, learning how to pass a football. House, most famous for catching Hank Aaron’s 715th home-run ball in the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen, runs a complex and difficult program to break down a quarterback’s improper throwing style and build it back up the right way.

How does Rick know that Jay Cutler hasn't been working on improving his throwing motion or hasn't worked extra hard this offseason to improve his deficiencies from last season? Tebow has talked up his hard work because (a) he was trying to break back into the NFL, (b) wanted to keep his name out there in the mind of GM's, and (c) wanted GM's to know he was working on the biggest criticism of him, which was his throwing motion. Tebow publicized his hard work because that was one way to get back into the NFL. Jay Cutler at the very least has an NFL roster spot (possibly due to his contract), so he doesn't need to go around and tell everyone how hard he is working. Plus, why would the same guy who Rick Telander accuses of "communicating with the same openness of a trap-door spider" go around telling everyone how hard he is working? He's not good at communicating. It is possible to do hard work and not tell everyone about it. 

Tebow was nothing but wrong.

He had a good run for a half season or so. 

He threw the ball all with his arm, way to the side, in a windup that was something from a Walt Disney cartoon. His throws were slow to launch and not very accurate, made evident by his 49.7 percent completion rate in two seasons with the Broncos and one with the New York Jets. He was a tight end/fullback behind center.

Right, so why should Jay Cutler be like him again? The work ethic that Tebow has? Maybe, but there is a difference in not working hard and simply not publicizing how hard you are working. There is always a perception that if Cutler just worked harder he would be a better quarterback. Maybe he does work hard and all of his measurables and talent lead to what he is. 

Now? Well, maybe not perfect. Maybe not even average for the NFL. But at least hopeful. And, yes, he worked his tail off to improve.

By definition, I don't think a third-string quarterback can be considered an average NFL quarterback. Hope has nothing to do with it. Tebow can have hope in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets filled first. Also, Tebow has worked really hard to improve, that's great, but it doesn't mean Cutler needs to be more like him or doesn't work hard enough. It's entirely possible that Cutler has worked hard on becoming a great quarterback without requiring people talking about it. Maybe not, though I'm sure Rick Telander believes he knows the truth.

‘‘He’s not one-dimensional anymore,’’ House told USA Today, ‘‘so I think he’s done a great job.’’

Ah yes, this is where the testimonials will begin. I'm not saying Tebow doesn't work hard, but he's hired Tom House (and I assume House is getting paid) to work with him, so naturally there will be quotes from House describing what a FANTASTIC JOB he has done with Tebow and how Tebow is working so hard. This could be true, but remember, House is getting paid (essentially) to say this. Based on quotes from someone Tim Tebow has hired, Rick Telander is making the assumption that (a) Cutler isn't working as hard as Tebow, (b) if Cutler worked this hard he would be a better quarterback, and (c) this now makes Tebow an "effective quarterback." All of these assumptions could be very, very incorrect.

House says it takes about 1,000 perfect repetitions to even start to change a bad habit, and 10,000 to master the skill.

Actually, Malcolm Gladwell says that. It's even in a book that Gladwell wrote called "Outliers."

‘‘He’s got his 10,000 reps,’’ House said. ‘‘Can this guy be an NFL quarterback? Well, our data says yes.’’

The data says "YES" Tebow can be an NFL quarterback. The reality does not reflect the data at this point. And again, Rick Telander is bashing Jay Cutler based on comments made by someone who works for and has skin in the game on whether Tebow ends up being an NFL quarterback. It's like asking Jay Cutler's wife if he works hard enough to be an NFL quarterback. Actually, Kristin Cavilavaillari probably has enough money on her own and wouldn't need to lie in order to give an answer. I would love to know a situation when Tom House or George Whitfield would say, "Oh hell no, this guy isn't ever going to be an NFL quarterback because he hasn't improved any" after that quarterback has worked under their tutelage. It makes no sense, because any negative comment also reflects on them. So consider the source when trying to say Cutler should work to improve like Tebow has so obviously improved.  

Ten thousand perfect throws is a lot. Like a serious lot. Tebow was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in April, so we’ll see pretty soon if he’s actually reconstructed himself.

Yes, and if Tebow plays well for Chip Kelly then that obviously means Cutler didn't work hard enough and should be more like Tebow.

As for Cutler, a guy blessed with a rifle arm but cursed by a strange social obliviousness, who knows if he would practice anything 10,000 times just to improve, to try to be the best.

EXACTLY. Rick Telander doesn't know if Cutler would practice 10,000 times in order to improve, but because Cutler isn't friendly (and it always goes back to that, never forget that) to the media then Telander assumes Cutler won't practice that much. He then assumes because Tebow does practice a lot, as described by the person paid to say such things, then Cutler should be like Tebow...even though he may already be. In the words of Telander, "who knows?" 

Maybe, at 32, it’s too late for him to reconfigure his football body and mind.

Maybe he's already reconfigured and this is where we are at now. Who knows? Just because Cutler doesn't have a coach (who he pays) saying how reconfigured he is, it doesn't mean he hasn't put forth the effort. 

But it’s fun to think he could.

Yes, it's fun to think Cutler could reconfigure his football body and mind like Tebow has done, as claimed by the person who has a vested interest in stating publicly that Tebow has reconfigured his body and mind. If only Cutler were more like Tebow. He would just have to be a little less successful as an NFL quarterback. It's fun to think if Cutler were a little less prickly than maybe sportswriters wouldn't (knowingly or unknowingly) factor this into their evaluation of him. 


Chris said...

First things first I would argue that Tebow never magically became an "effective" quarterback but that John Fox managed a system that played to his strengths and miminized his mistakes, and when he did make mistakes, the defense was usually able to bail them out.

I know Cutler can be standoffish but honestly the media has not given him a reason to be anything other than standoffish with them. And that's not even including his own offensive coordinator throwing him under the bus. How exactly is Cutler supposed to improve when he has been in a situation where his own offensive coordinator didn't like him and didn't really want him to succeed? I think Cutler can be decent and with the right team and right system he could do well but he has been in the league for 10 years already. He can't really improve anymore. At this point in his career he is what he is.

Anonymous said... break down some dumb columns here, but this one is incredible.

FYI, I didn't read the source column so I'm not sure if Rick was admits it, but Cutler was definitely injured for the Bears-Broncos game he mentions. The Bears were rolling that year until Cutler got hurt, ended the season 1-5 after starting 7-3. So Tebow got to triumph over the crappy backup (in OT), providing the opportunity to write this stupid article years later.

Also, I like how Tom House's claim to fame is catching a historic home run...what? Couldn't Rick have cited House has accomplished in the sport of football?

Slag-King said...

I like how the article makes mention of Tebow's throwing motion when Cutler's throwing motion is actually one of the best in the NFL, quick, compact over the shoulder type throw that is prototypical of NFL qb. So the article is hinting at that Cutler has a bad throwing motion and needs help improving. How can Cutler improve his already perfect throwing motion? His throwing motion is not the problem.

A really stupid article!

Bengoodfella said...

What's really great is Rick Telander has an article posted today where he poo-poos on Cutler some more, even though he hasn't thrown an INT yet and is in great shape. So...he took after Tebow and Telander still isn't happy?