Evaluating a Jay Cutler Fit For Texans
- Updated: March 14, 2017
There is a growing debate over who the Texans should add in free agency at the quarterback position to help them reach AFC Championship and Super Bowl. Jay Cutler is one name who has been mentioned and I think it is time we evaluate what that would look like for this team.
First, understand that the Texans need a quarterback who can protect the football, stay healthy, and throw the ball accurately to make it to the AFC Championship and Super Bowl. Using Cutler’s statistical history it paints an ugly picture.
Protecting the football had not been a positive attribute for Jay, as he has a 1.42 TD/INT. Which is worse than notoriously turnover prone quarterbacks Robert Griffin (1.62), Eli Manning (1.49), Tony Romo (2.12), and Matt Schaub (1.48). Jay Cutler is actually only better than two starting quarterbacks in this category, Brock Osweiler (1.18) and Blake Bortles (1.35). So sure, he is an upgrade over Brock, but he is still the third worst quarterback in the TD/INT ratio. You aren’t getting far with any bottom five statistical category quarterback in this day and age. To make it to a conference championship a team needs a quarterback who can protect the football.
To go along with that, Cutler averages 1.48 turnovers per game for his career. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl and turned the ball over 1.71 times per game in his career. However, he only started 11 games that season and gad the number one rushing attack in the league to go along with a defense that basically out scored the offense all season long. Safe to say the Texans are going to need more than the 10.875 points Dilfer and the Ravens offense mustered up in 2000 if they want to beat the likes of AFC playoff quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Derek Carr. Jay has proven to be a consistent mess when it comes to keeping the football safe.
Now to health, which has become a major point of emphasis with the veterans available on this year’s market having so many question marks in the medical department. Jay Cutler has not played a full 16 game season since 2009. He plays through a lot of minor nicks and scratches but still has missed at least one start in his last 7 seasons. Most recently, he sat out all but 5 games in 2016 with an injury in his throwing shoulder. Cutler also got hurt in the 2011 NFC Championship game that saw the winning team, Green Bay Packers, go on to win the Super Bowl. Jay Cutler should not be considered a lock to start all 16 games of the 2017 season with his injury history.
Speaking of playoffs, where the Texans will need their quarterback the most, Cutler has struggled in his two playoff games. Completing only 50% of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception means he did not make much of an impact in those games. Not a lot to go off there and he has started the same amount of playoff games as former Texan Brock Osweiler at this point in their careers.
Lastly, Bill O’Brien needs a quarterback who can deliver the ball accurately. Specifically, one that is accurate in the short to intermediate ranges due to the system he runs. Cutler completes on average 62.95% of his attempted passes within ten yards from the line of scrimmage and 62.15% of his passes between 10-20 yards from the line of scrimmage per NFL.com. Neither of these percentages bode well if your offensive scheme relies heavily on the short to intermediate passing game for the quarterback. If Cutler is asked to attempt 20 passes a game of either short or intermediate levels, he would complete only 12.51 of those passes.
Looking at everything, Cutler is a question mark to stay healthy for a full season, much less through a playoff run. He turns the ball over at a very high rate and struggles to complete passes as a whole (61.9 career completion percentage). With these three factors coming into play, Jay Cutler would be a poor at best fit for the Houston Texans.
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*All stats were calculated by myself using NFL.com’s individually player statistics