When I hear the term "game manager" thrown around by most people it's always in the context of a play it safe, dink and dunk type QB that is always wary of ball security. And most times it's used as a derogatory term. When you hear a QB described as a "gunslinger", it usually means he's a brash, confident, chuck it deep type player that plays loose with the ball, but will get you the big play more often than not.
The last two Chicago Bears quarterbacks fall into each category. Kyle Orton was cast in the role of the Game Manager, and he even had a boring, almost derogatory nickname bestowed on him in Neckbeard, or the more formal Captain Neckbeard. Whereas gunslinger Jay Cutler has been know around these parts as Jay Sizzle. A cool and cocky nickname if there ever was one.
I think inside every game manager there is a gunslinger wanting to come out, and vice versa, gunslingers want to play under control and manage the game. It's all about getting wins. A game manager in the last minutes of a tie game can revel in the fast paced, throw it all around, score fast type atmosphere. And a gunslinger likes to quiet their critics with a well placed, under control, clock chewing drive. Ideally you'd like your guy to have traits of both types of QBs, but realistically, you are what you are.
In my opinion, a game manager isn't a bad thing. The ultimate game manager is Peyton Manning. He controls the pace of the game, he'll make the smart high percentage throw when it presents itself, and he knows coming away with 3 points is OK. He'll take his shots, but they are calculated risks. For some reason the masses just lump all journeyman signal callers in as game managers. For the record, Trent Dilfer wasn't really a game manager. He rode a great defense to a Super Bowl ring. He's what I would call a bad QB.
On the flip side, Brett Favre has been the poster boy of all gunslingers for almost two decades. He'll trust his arm when he probably shouldn't, but he'll squeeze those throws in that most could never do. He'll let the ball fly from almost any arm angle, all with the thought of making a play.
Which type of QB do I like best? As a fan of football, I love the gunslinger. I like watching Tony Romo running around doing his thing. But I can appreciate the play of game managers. Watching Tom Brady take what's available to him in the passing game is a thing of beauty. Which type of QB would I like running the Bears? Honestly, which ever one can get them some wins.
For those of you that just skimmed my last post, 'Can Jay Cutler read a defense?', you may have come away from it as me being anti-Jay. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a Cutler fan. I want him to succeed. I could care less about the body language B.S. or the aloofness with fans and media, because all indications are that in the locker room he's a leader. He's never really called out a teammate through the media as many other players have (he did allude to Hester not going after a ball on one occasion). He's never seen tearing into a teammate on the field or on the sideline (although, honestly that wouldn't bother me). His teammates like and respect him.
Jay Cutler will be the quarterback of the Bears for the near future and beyond. He's not going anywhere, and I'll be right there yelling at my TV, both in the good times and bad. And with Jay, we'll see plenty of both. Because even when he's at his best, the gunslinger mentality will be there, and he'll still make those throws that leave us scratching our head wondering why... But if he isn't taking those chances, we'll never see the highlight reel throws that leave us wondering how...