Will Jay Cutler ever be a top-tier NFL quarterback?

Christian Petersen

One of the most over-hyped angles for QB discussions is the term 'elite'... But let's not talk about something that can't really be measured. Let's look at the stats.

Recently, TJ Shouse stirred up some dust with his article on Jay Cutler, which is no surprise when he made the play that Cutler could end up in the same company as Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Eli Manning.


MORE: Cutler compared to Flacco and Eli

Since Cutler arrived in Chicago in 2009, his struggles have been well-documented. The offense has had inconsistency all over the place-- from the coaching staff, to the offensive line, to the wide receiving corps, injuries, etc-- and Cutler was a big part of that inconsistency.

We know Cutler has the intelligence to be great, and the athleticism, but we also know that he can absolutely fall apart when he gets rattled. Season after season of running for your life will do that to a person. Cutler takes chances, many times when he shouldn't, and would rather try to make a play in an impossible window rather than throw the ball out of bounds. When he gets frustrated, his attitude changes, and it affects his decision-making.


MORE: Hey, Jay... Just throw the ball away!

With a new sheriff in town, head coach Marc Trestman will try to bring out the best in his starting QB. We will see a rapid-fire approach in getting plays relayed from the sidelines, and a fast-paced tempo that even Mike Martz never dreamed of. Will Cutler and Trestman be the right fit? Only time will tell, but for right now, let's look at some numbers.

Can Jay Cutler ever be a top-10 QB? Will he ever be 'great' in the NFL? Here is how he has ranked among other quarterbacks in the NFL since he arrived in 2009:

2009 2010 2011^ 2012
Rating 21 16 13 20
Yards 13 17 25 24
Com% 17 19 23 21
TDs 8 13 24 21
INTs* 1 8 31 12

*In the INT ranking, that's for most in the league. So, in 2012, he had the 12th-most interceptions of any QB.

^Cutler only played in 10 games in 2011.

When looking at the major statistical categories for NFL quarterbacks, Jay Cutler has only once been ranked in the top-10: Passing TDs in 2009.

There are plenty of reasons, plenty of fingers to be pointed, and plenty of excuses to be made, but for a player with his intelligence and athleticism, middle- to bottom-third isn't where you'd like to see him among his NFL peers. He's got the potential to be so much better, but he's also got the potential each week to fall apart.

Question of the day: Will Jay Cutler ever be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL?

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