Hello all. Hope the holidays are great, and everyone across the nation is safe with the weather growing threatening in many areas.
I wanted to take a minute out of my regularly scheduled Sunday loafing session to comment on something I saw playing out on twitter (where else?) on the evening before the big Bears-Cowboys showdown on MNF. Tribune journalist (I'm unsure whether he's technically a beat writer or, in the alternative, a columnist) Brad Biggs is normally, in my opinion, a highly reliable source for Bears news, notes, stories, and what have you. Today, Biggsy tweeted a link to his Trib piece, deliciously headlined "Bears more productive with McCown at QB: Numbers bear that out, but Cutler superior athlete". Ok Biggs, take all of my page views. So, I bit.
I read the piece, and considering my previously stated affinity for Biggs' work, I noticed what seemed to be a few discrepancies. What about the sample size? How about the level of defense faced? Are we going to consider the games Cutler left? The games he played on a bum groin/ankle? Doesn't Football Outsiders say this number is wrong? Well, the piece states, that, after crunching the numbers, McCown has actually scored more points per possession than Cutler. Here's the operative paragraph:
Do the math and the Bears are scoring 2.06 points per possession with McCown or one point every 1 minute, 27.1 seconds of possession. With Cutler, the offense is scoring 1.75 points per possession or one point every 1 minute, 27.8 seconds of possession. In calculating the figures, kneel-down possessions were removed because no effort was made to advance the ball.
I found this interesting, considering, to the best of my knowledge, the Bears were scoring more under Cutler than McCown, even with Josh playing really inspired ball.
Well, I'm human, so I wanted to watch Biggs' twitter mentions go down in real time. One responder pointed out a few things that I also found to be skeptical, or otherwise evidently specious. Here's the conversation in whole (pardon my copy/paste)
User Actions Following Brad Biggs@BradBiggs
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD38m
@BradBiggs Argument about the Cutler/McCown scoring is TERRIBLY flawed. Just trying to sell papers.Details
- Brad Biggs @BradBiggs37m
@ChiBearsAD Flawed how?Details
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD31m
@BradBiggs You're trying to argue McCown is better, anyone who has actually watched them knows better. They should anyway.Details
- Brad Biggs @BradBiggs28m
@ChiBearsAD No. My point was offense producing more points, which is accurate.Details
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD24m Details
- Brad Biggs @BradBiggs22m Details
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD21m
@BradBiggs And JC played in 2 games where Trestman went uber conservative because they had a big lead, but that counts? Doesn't make senseDetails
- Brad Biggs @BradBiggs19m
@ChiBearsAD Even if it was flipped and Cutler was just ahead, would be concerning when thinking about longterm contract & that is the pointDetails
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD17m
@BradBiggs Cutler isn't "just" ahead, they score nearly a TD more per game. And again, your numbers are wrong, according to a reliable site.Details
@ChiBearsAD What numbers do you want? Email me.@BradBiggs @ChiBearsAD Dismiss Image will appear as a link
- Andrew Dannehy @ChiBearsAD16m
@BradBiggs Already told you, Football Outsiders has them at 2.06 overall, which means McCown can't be 2.06 and Cutler 1.75.
So, what do you make of it? With all of the back and forth, we get some back-pedaling by Briggs. Or maybe it's just an over-zealous Jay Cut-head over-analyzing slight variances in things that we already know; Josh McCown, considering his career arc, has been extremely productive in the system. What do I think? Well, I've been operating under the school of thought that Cutler has led the offense to more points per game. Combine this with the fact that McCown's sample size is smaller (leading to an inflation of sorts of his stats), the red-zone offense has been atrocious under his reign, and his lack of the ability to make top-level throws, and it appears to me that the obvious choice to sit at the helm of the Bears' O, when healthy, is Cutler. I'm sure Biggs' piece will cast some doubts on that. I would welcome any of our resident stat-heads to clear things up.