When ever you grant someone anonymity you can be sure to get their true feelings on a subject. When you don't have to put your name on something, there's no fear of backlash. Of course that also allows someone to spew some personal venom on someone that they otherwise wouldn't share, but you have to take the good with the bad.
Mike Sando, ESPN NFL Insider, recently spoke with 26 anonymous league insiders and asked them to rank the starting quarterbacks in the NFL on a 1-5 scale. One for the best, and five for the worst. Then Sando grouped the QBs into four tiers. We can't bring you all the details since the article appears behind a pay wall, but we will bring you a few nuggets relevant to the Chicago Bears.
The anonymous insiders he spoke with were eight current general managers, two former general managers, four pro-personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and a top executive.
The top tier had the four usual suspects along with Andrew Luck. The second tier had ten QBs listed including Joe Flacco at 12 and Matthew Stafford at 13. I mention Flacco because of this interesting anonymous evaluation.
"Flacco would be a guy that you probably either love him or hate him because he's a big guy, probably not the most mobile guy, and he's kind of got the droopy face, kind of like the Jay Cutler face, where it always looks like things are bad," an offensive coordinator said.
Remember when I said that with anonymity you have to take the good with the bad? I should have also added idiotic to that.
Tier three is where we find Jay Cutler and his sad face grouped in with eight other QBs. Here's the expert analysis on Jay.
I thought Cutler would fall into the second tier based on his talent, but 16 of the 26 voters put him in the third. They lamented Cutler's inconsistency, poor mechanics, proclivity for turnovers and abbreviated postseason résumé.
A few evaluators thought Cutler took a step forward last season and could progress further now that the Bears' offensive line has stabilized. "For me, it's all about how impactful a player can be on game day," one GM said, defending Cutler. "The reason Cutler is not a one is because he is too up and down. But you talk about a guy that can beat you with his arm, and how many in the league can do it better than him? Now he finally has a line in front of him, he has more than one receiver. So, there is no way he is a three, in my opinion."
The Bears' failure to protect Cutler in past seasons arguably justified what some have seen as the QB's negative body language. "I don't know the kid," a defensive coordinator said. "I like him as a player. He runs their offense very well, he can make any throw, I think he has some toughness to him, some cockiness to him. He is as good as Matt Ryan. He's a two."
The offensive line has been improved, he does have more weapons around him, and he has a coach that knows offensive football. Every time Cutler has stuck with the same system he's improved in the second season so I'd expect the same to apply in year two of the TCO.
Since we can't show you the entire list, we'd like to know if you think Jay will move up or down in the eyes of the anonymous experts next off season.