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Rocky Mountain News:

August 24, 2008

I am running tight on time but I thought that I might grab you all an article I found in the Rocky Mountain News about Jay Cutler and his Pre-Season. As you guys know he will not be playing next week so that we can see more Ramsey *gulp* and Hackney which I am excited about.

The article really gets to the heart of this whole thing. The bad things that he has done? Zero. Zip. Zilch. (I never realized there are so many words meaning nothing starting with z.) 🙂 Here is the article via Rocky Mountain News:

Three games, 43 passes thrown, 79 plays run, and Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler came away with nothing in his preseason’s work.

And that is exactly the total he wanted.

As in no interceptions, no fumbles and no sacks.

“Look, I don’t want to jinx him or anything, because he’s playing at such a high level, but people have to understand, sometimes preseason is all about mistakes,” Broncos backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey said. “You don’t get that many plays, usually everybody is tired from camp and there isn’t a whole lot of game-planning to get people free the way you want.

“So it’s rare, just very rare. It’s not something you see a lot in the situations you’re in during the preseason, that’s for sure. I’m really excited about the way he’s playing; I think we all are.”

Cutler, who, like almost all the Broncos regulars, won’t be slated to play in the preseason finale Friday night in Phoenix, finished his preseason work Friday night against the Packers. In three games, he directed 10 offensive possessions.

The Broncos scored five touchdowns and one field goal on those possessions, including on all three first-half possessions against the Packers. The two- touchdown, one-field goal total against the Packers included a 16-play, 99-yard drive that chewed up 8 minutes, 29 seconds of the second quarter.

“I’m happy with that,” Cutler said. “That’s kind of the biggest thing, not turning the ball over. Sometimes you’re going to get tipped (passes) and things like that . . . but I’m happy with that, that’s kind of the goal.”

Despite a 1-for-7 start against Green Bay, Cutler went 30-for-43 passing overall (69.8 percent) for 352 yards and three touchdowns in the preseason. Cutler also rushed for a touchdown.

Winning the rating game

His passer rating was an atmospheric 117.6, and of the league’s starters, only New Orleans’ Drew Brees has a better rating (124.0) after three preseason games. And Brees is the only starter with a higher yards-per-attempt average, 8.4, than Cutler’s 8.2.

Anything around 8 yards per attempt usually will put a quarterback among the league leaders in the regular season and usually is indicative of an offense putting pressure on secondaries.

“And here’s the thing: I think people can recognize how well he’s playing, but you have to see the guys in front of him, they’re doing a tremendous job, giving him time to throw, and guys are making plays when the ball’s in the air,” Ramsey said. “But I think everybody’s got the feeling when they look at him in the huddle (that) we’re going to be able to move the ball.

“As a quarterback, that’s what you want.”

But taking care of the ball has been at the forefront of what the Broncos have done with Cutler in the offseason. Beyond simply getting the 25-year-old healthy and accustomed to what will be a lifelong, day-to-day battle with Type 1 diabetes, the Broncos also continue to work on his game.

Cutler’s arm strength – he has one of the most powerful arms in the league – gives him an almost unshakable belief he can fit the ball in almost anywhere well down the field. But opposing personnel executives, having reviewed video of Cutler during the past two seasons, believe defenses simply will keep dropping more players deeper into coverage to take away what Cutler has wanted to do most.

Some deep trouble

In Cutler’s first two seasons on the field, they are trying to use that desire against him. That is a reason why his interception rate last season – 3.0 percent of his attempts in his first full year as a starter – was higher than those of Tom Brady’s 1.4 percent, Peyton Manning’s 2.7 and Brees’ 2.8.

Recent Broncos history shows that when Jake Plummer cut his interception total to seven in 2005, 13 below the previous season, the Broncos advanced to the AFC Championship Game despite having only one offensive player, wide receiver Rod Smith, selected to the Pro Bowl.

But Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates have spent a great deal of time this offseason working to get Cutler to look at the underneath receivers – the running backs and tight ends – to force defenses to adjust.

The idea being that when the Broncos complete enough of the short to intermediate passes, when they pile up enough first downs, at least one of the safeties will have to move toward the line of scrimmage and the big plays down the field will present themselves.

“Honestly, it’s a good problem to have,” Shanahan said. “You have a guy – he’s like John (Elway) that way – who doesn’t worry about his percentages all the time, his stats, who believes he can do it, wants to do it and has the arm strength to do it. So, you work to use the whole field and see the opportunities that will come because of that.”

There also was the matter of fumbles. Cutler tied for the AFC lead, with Raiders quarterback Josh McCown and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, with 11 fumbles last season.

Some came on mis-timed center-to-quarterback exchanges, some came from hits in the pocket.

“You always want to avoid those turnovers,” Shanahan said.

“I don’t know, I’ve never been a big fumbler in the pocket or anything like that,” Cutler said. “I didn’t feel like I looked at that more than anything else in the offseason. You just work to limit mistakes and find the matchups. I don’t want to make mistakes, I want us to move the ball, put up some points and get some wins. That’s always the bottom line.

“Everybody knows if you’re the quarterback, you can’t turn the ball over. If you do, you’re not going to be the quarterback.”

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5 Comments
  1. August 24, 2008 6:42 PM

    Great story, nice grab G.

  2. March 25, 2009 12:41 PM

    I am a Saints fan from Argentina. Very nice Saints information. I think Bress will be an eventual hall-of-famer with Colston and Bush.
    I hope to be in New Orleans for a game this fall.

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