Cutler-Orton comparisons silly and pointless

October 21st, 2009 - 8:30 am

Kyle Orton has his team on a six-game winning streak with the help of a strong defense that has allowed a league-low 66 points this year — 11 points per game. At this rate, the Broncos’ defense will finish with just 11 yards more than the record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season set by the Baltimore Ravens’ defense in 2000.

No, Bears fans, this is not 2005. But it’s resembling it.

In fairness, Orton is certainly having a good year. I’m not going to say his success is a product of a good defense alone. He’s thrown for 1,465 yards, 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception. He’s not a caretaker, as he was in his rookie year. And he appears to be headed to a much better season than last year with the Bears.

Jay Cutler, meanwhile, left behind an offense loaded with playmakers in Denver and joined one filled with speedsters with raw ability. His offensive line in Chicago is much worse than the one in Denver, and his defense, while not bad, is certainly not as good as the Broncos’.

Cutler has thrown one more touchdown than Orton, but also six more interceptions. Orton has a career-best passer rating of 100.1, whereas Cutler’s is down to 86.9. And Orton is averaging — drumroll please — four more passing yards per game than Cutler.

It’s obvious Orton has recorded better numbers than Cutler up to this point in the season, but it’s pointless to compare one-one-one statistics in an 11-on-11 game.

So, to what statistic do you move to compare these quarterbacks? Wins? No, that’s a team statistic. The argument that Orton has more wins than Cutler is silly, inaccurate, and invalid. The Denver Broncos have more wins than the Chicago Bears because the Broncos are better than the Bears.

Do you move to hypothetical situations as basis for comparison? If Kyle Orton were playing for the Bears, would he have led them to a victory over the Steelers with a fourth quarter drive? Would he have brought them back from a 13-point deficit on the road against Seattle? The answer to both of these is probably not. But if Jay Cutler was with the Broncos, would they still be 6-0? Most likely, yes.

But because both of those situations are hypothetical, nobody can say for sure what would have happened.

The best — and only — way to compare quarterbacks is by talent and ability. Orton makes better decisions, as evidenced by his one interception compared to Cutler’s seven. Aside from that, Orton fans, you’d be hardpressed to find one thing that Orton does better than Cutler — and again, you can’t say win because it takes a team to win, not one player.

Does Orton throw the deep ball better? No. Is he more accurate? No. Can he fit the ball into tight spots like Cutler can? No. Does he have better form and mechanics? No. Does he throw with as much velocity? No. Is he more mobile in the pocket? No. Can he tuck the ball and run better? No.

I have a theory on this whole Cutler-Orton argument. I think Bears fans who would rather have Kyle Orton are clinging to the past. They offer Kyle Orton’s win-loss record as proof and they yearn for the days when Orton was the caretaker of a team with a Top 5 defense. Or, they might point to last year’s season and the success Orton had in the first half of the year before he got hurt.

That 2008 Bears team was an average group, folks. Orton fans need to quit living in the past. Speaking of the past, do you remember what your favorite coach, Mike Ditka, once said about people who live in the past? That’s right… something about cowards and losers.

Comparing two quarterbacks with such obviously incomparable talent is silly. And comparing win-loss records or game statistics between two players is pointless, because it’s a team game, not an individual’s sport.