We were very lucky to have been able to spend some time with Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus, as they do such a phenomenal job of grading out every player, from every game, from every team in the NFL. For a recap on how they score, click here.
This series concludes today with his assessment of a hot-topic player, QB Jay Cutler.
Dane: And finally. QB Jay Cutler. It seems like the opinions of Cutler are always strong... some people are extremely critical, and others are extremely supportive. What does the raw data say about Cutler's performace levels?
Neil: The raw numbers say Cutler is playing inconsistently and overall is about the middle of the pack in our system. That said, and this really isn’t because I’m on a Bears site, but I personally think he will come good. I like most things about him except the forcing of certain throws. I think he needs latitude because of the o-Line and I know they say this about a lot of QBs but there are some things he does, some throws he can make that I’m not sure any other QB could. Am I being seduced by pure talent? Probably! Did I like Jeff George too? Yes - so shoot me. I think he can be great, maybe the best you’ve ever had and I’d give him all your support rather than booing him if I was a fan.
Looking at PFF's grades of Cutler, it's no surprise to see the streaks that Cutler went through this season. From week 1- week 16 (minus the Panthers game), Cutler graded out positively every week except for 3-6, in which he received negative grades (Packers, Giants, Seahawks).
Otherwise, the other weeks he actually registered positive grades.
Of course, then week 17 and beyond happened, where Cutler graded out negatively against the Packers, Seahawks, and Packers (Championship game).
While he did not end the season very well, looking at PFF's grades does provide an unbiased look at his performance over the 2010 season. A few good weeks in a row, followed by a few bad weeks... rinse, repeat.
There is undoubtedly something to say for consistency (personnel, coaching, scheme, etc.), so we should be pretty confident in our QB heading into 2011.