Posted Fri Jan 8th by Monty
This is Part 1 in a series of a posts examining the Jay Cutler trade after one year. Today: Kyle Orton vs. Cutler in 2009.
When it comes to judging the “winners and losers” of the blockbuster Jay Cutler trade, after one season, statistically, Orton alone is enough to stem the tide in the Denver Broncos‘ favor. The two first round draft picks and third round pick the Chicago Bears also sent make it a landslide.
Jay Cutler’s struggles this season for the Bears are well-known and well-documented. He threw an NFL-high 26 interceptions in 2009 and had the worst passer rating of his career (78.6). However, most fans, at least those in Denver, are quick to point out Cutler’s aggressive, down-field throwing style, while Orton is better known as a conservative check-down quarterback. “Orton is successful because he is conservative and doesn’t make mistakes,” they’d say, while Cutler struggled because he didn’t have the talent around him to execute big plays.
That isn’t entirely accurate, at least in regard to criticisms on Orton. A side-by-side comparison of the two QBs shows that Orton actually threw for more yards than Cutler in 2009. Interestingly, both quarterbacks completed exactly 336 passes this season, with Orton tallying 14 less attempts.
In other words, Kyle Orton’s yards (3,802), yards per completion, and yards per attempt (7.0) were higher than Jay Cutler’s in 2009 (3,666 yds., 6.6 ypa), all while making far, far fewer mistakes than the Broncos’ 2006 draft pick.
If this comes as a surprise to you, don’t worry; we were quite surprised as well.
Now, Cutler rushed for more yards than Orton, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. He also threw more touchdowns (27 to Orton’s 21) in 2009.
But those are minor consolation prizes when judging a season in which Orton dominated Cutler in every other statistical category.
Was Kyle Orton frustrating at times? Yes. Was he slow and indecisive when the pressure was on? Absolutely. But he was far from the conservative check-down thrower many fans have stereotyped him to be. Who knows what steps he’ll take with another year in this system?
In Part 2, we’ll look at the last two seasons of Denver Broncos quarterbacks, fair-to-compare or not: Jay Cutler in 2008 vs. Kyle Orton in 2009.