Our friends over at Pro Football Focus are back with another splendid number crunching article. Last week Khaled Elsayed penned Pressure Reveals in which he looks at how a quarterback performs while under pressure. He looked at which QBs were under the most pressure, some stats surrounding that pressure, and then they put a grade on the QBs. I guess I'm not surprised that the QB that had the top grade in their under pressure grading system was Aaron Rodgers. But where did Jay Cutler rank? I'll tell you he was tops in one category. Cutler felt more pressure than any other QB in 2010.
According to PFF Cutler had 565 drop backs in 2010 and he was pressured on 41.42% of those. Rodgers ranked 28th with 28.49% of his drop backs under pressure.
The next group of stats they analyzed was completion and sack percentages when pressured. Jay was sacked on 23.93% of his pressured drop backs, which was 4th most (out of 35 QBs). Yet another fairly obvious stat. He was beat up all year. But how did he preform when pressured? When looking at his completion percentage while under pressure, his 52.20% ranked a solid 11th overall. They broke the stat down even further to see the difference in completion percentage while pressured compared to their overall completion percentage. Cutler had a smaller drop than all but 4 other QBs. His 5th best -10.97% difference tells me a couple things, he's able to keep his head when scrambling around and he's pretty comfortable on the move. Something that was evident while he was in the Mike Shanahan offense.
They looked at touchdown to interception ratio while pressured, and Cutler ranked 25th. The percentage of interceptions thrown while pressured saw Cutler at 21st overall. In my opinion this stat has some variables surrounding it.
The last two things they spotlight are QB rating while under pressure and their overall grade they gave the QB on pressured plays. Cutler had the 9th best QB rating while pressured. And he was tied for 11th best with a PFF grade of +7 on his pressured plays.
When I look at how quarterbacks deal with being pressured, it tells me a lot about their value in the league. It's turning a potentially negative play into something positive; some guys can do it, and some guys can't.
Jay Cutler can turn a negative play into something positive, now he just has to cut down his turning a positive play into a negative one.
I think if you take into consideration with how much Cutler was pressured (more than anyone), and yet he ranked in the top third league wide in completion percentage while under pressure, percentage differential for that stat, QB rating while pressured, and then that +7 grade, and you have to be somewhat pleased with his overall performance for 2010. He still has some things about his game he needs to work on, but I expect a big jump in play because of his increased comfort in the offense and hopefully some improved line play.