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Old 04-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #1
RubberDuckie24
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Default **Warning - Long, Rational Post** Statistically analyzing Cutler vs. Orton

Hello everyone, long time viewer of the Orange Mane (4+ years), relatively new poster. Upon hearing of Cutler being traded to Chicago, my immediate reaction went something along the lines of "2 first round picks, great, upgraded a 5th round pick to a 3rd rounder, awesome... receiving Kyle Orton? Oh god... THIS guy is going to likely be our starter next year?!" I of course then came onto the Orange Mane to see my opinion (not surprisingly) validated by many fellow posters. However, I wanted to do my own digging into the situation to see just HOW bad our quarterback situation is going to be next year. Needless to say, I was caught off guard by my findings.

To be completely honest, I never watched Kyle Orton last year. I reacted with emotion only based on nothing more than ignorant stereotypes. All I had known was that the Bears have been struggling to find a suitable quarterback for many years. So naturally, I went onto the Chicago Bears message board to see what THEIR opinion (biased in some regards, but certainly more informed than my own) of Kyle Orton was. Basically what I heard was... weak arm, "serviceable" as a backup, immobile, inaccurate in the deep ball, wont win you the game... etc. However, I also heard form them (somewhat resoundingly might I add) that he's a tough leader who is respected by his teammates, can effectively play the middle of the field, and wont lose you the game for you. If you’re interested in it, here's the website for the thread I mostly looked at:
http://boards.chicagobears.com/forum...d/1519766.aspx
But I came across something very interesting on a part of their message board - that Kyle Orton severely injured his ankle during the 8th game against the Detroit lions. So from there I decided to do a little digging in the statistics department and come to my own conclusion of what exactly we’re getting in Kyle Orton.

While reading this report, do keep in my these 3 things:
1st) Every statistic is based off of points scored aside from rushing statistics and quarterback passer rating. I found that there isn’t a very strong correlation between yards gained and points scored with quarterbacks – however (to no surprise) there is a perfect correlation between points scored by a quarterback and total points scored in a game, and a very strong correlation between total points (or points scored by a quarterback) and winning games.
2nd) We’re going to assume that a higher quarterback passer rating means a better quarterback. Now while I realize that this isn’t a cause-effect relationship between a quarterback’s passer rating and winning games, there is a very high correlation between the two.
3rd) None of these statistics have been altered in any sense (my source is NFL.com), except it should be noted that all statistics pertaining to Kyle Orton (not necessarily the Chicago Bears) only encompass the first 7 games before he was injured in the 8th game. For those arguing that comparing a full season for Cutler to half a season for Orton isn’t fair – you’re wrong. Orton threw for 230 pass attempts, which is more than enough for a sample size. However, it’s also why I don’t try to compare pass yards or anything that’s not ratio/percentage related.

First let’s simply compare the two quarterback’s obvious tangibles:

Cutler: 6-3 233lbs Coming into 4th season (3rd season as starter)
Orton: 6-4 217lbs Coming into 5th season (3rd season as starter)


Both similar builds (Cutler obviously more muscular), but the emphasis on this is that both are still very young, both have very similar amount of starting experience in the NFL, and both have yet to reach their full potential. It’s not even argued that Cutler’s arm strength is greater than that of Orton’s…. however, it is up to much debate as to how much this actually correlates with success as a quarterback (my take – very little).

Next, lets look at the most widely used statistic to measure a quarterback: the quarterback passer rating.

Cutler’s passer rating for 2008: 86 --- Ranked 16th in the league.
Orton’s passer rating for first 7 games of 2008: 91 --- Ranked 9th in the league.


As we all know, quarterback mobility does factor into the effectiveness of a good quarterback. Cutler being known as a mobile quarterback, Orton not so much. Lets take a look:

Cutler averages 12 yards rushing per game
Orton averages 5 yards rushing per game.


This certainly is statistically significant, and does show that Cutler is a far more mobile quarterback than Orton is.

That right there, comparing the passer rating and rushing between the two, gives you a good idea of how well Cutler and (a healthy) Orton did compared to one another. However, giving the statistics is one thing, it of course doesn't consider the many variables that come with what affects quarterback performance in the NFL. To name a few that are considered to highly affect a quarterback outcome include (among what have already been named):
  • Offensive line performance
  • Receiving corps performance
  • Team Rushing performance (outside of the quarterback)
  • Opposing teams defense
  • The Quarterbacks own team Defense.

Lets go through these to compare and contrast the differences between Cutlers supporting cast and that of Orton’s.
Offensive Line - Denver's offensive line was arguably the best in pass protection in 2008. Chicago's offensive line - not so much. Lets say Chicago's pass protection was average, giving a huge advantage to whoever plays quarterback for Denver.
Receiving Corps - Denver had arguably a top 5 receiving corps in 2008, Chicago had arguably the worst receiving corps. I don't need to explain the direct impact Receivers have on a quarterbacks performance, this gives a huge advantage to whoever plays quarterback for Denver.
Team Rushing Performance - It’s a common misconception that Denver had a mediocre running game while Chicago’s running game was dominant (at least I had that misconception). However, the numbers tell otherwise.

Chicago rushing statistics (yds): 24th in the league (105 yds a game)
Denver rushing statistics (yds): 12th in the league (116 yds a game)


That’s overall, including the effects of the added rushing of Cutler and Orton. Taking Cutler and Orton out of the rushing equation, Chicago would still rank below Denver, respectively:

Denver at 104 yards a game (rank 24)
Chicago at 100 yards a game (rank 27)


Looking at these statistics, we can see that both Denver’s rushing offense and Chicago’s rushing offense, taking away the mobility of Cutler and the immobility of Orton, we end up with virtually the same strength of rushing attack. What does this mean? This means that there isn’t an advantage for either team’s quarterback regarding their rushing attack.

Opposing Teams Defense - Obviously these quarterbacks aren’t playing against themselves, and it should be fairly common sense to see that there is a strong negative correlation between a quarterbacks performance and the opposing teams defensive performance (when one does well, the other does poorly, and vice versa). Lets look at the strength of schedule of not just the opposing teams whom they’ve played, but strictly the ranking of the opposing teams defense (ranked in order of points allowed).

Average Bears Opponents Defensive Average (for the first 7 games): 14th
Average Broncos Opponents Defensive Average: 18th


What this means is that during those 7 games, Kyle Orton faced on average better defensive teams than what Jay Cutler did.

Lastly, The Quarterbacks Own Team Defense - The Big knock on Cutler was that he didn’t win games because his own defense was weighing him down. The Big knock on Orton was that the only reason he had such a great record was that his defense kept him in the games. Lets look at the statistics:

Chicago Bears Defensive rank for 2008: 16th
Denver Broncos Defensive rank for 2008: 30th


Looking at these statistics, it appears Cutler did in fact have a harder time winning games in Denver based solely on his defense, while Orton did have an easier time winning games in Chicago (holding all other variables constant). However, it is very difficult (near impossible) to statistically show just how much Cutler's lack of Defense, or Orton's proficient defense actually affected their performance. I think it's agreed that quarterbacks do better when they are not playing catchup, than those who are neck and neck with the other team, and this certainly should be taken into account.

Here’s what you have to do to come to your own conclusion: For the sake of simplicity, take out the opposing teams defense and it’s effect on wins and losses (along with special teams). Those now mean nothing. The fact that Cutler is 17-20 and that Orton is 21-12 is irrelevant. You now have to weigh all the variables, including the ones not mentioned in this report. These include quarterback rating (86 vs. 91), Mobility (12 yds/game vs. 5 yds/game), Offensive line (Denver > Chicago), Receiving Corps (Denver > Chicago), Team Rushing (Denver = Chicago), Opponents Team Defense (Harder for Orton, easier for Cutler), Own Teams Defense (ONLY how it subtly affects that teams quarterback performance) and many of the unknowns including but not limited to: mental maturity, leadership, toughness, potential, physical tangibles, ability to come through when needed, coaching, coachability, etc.

And if you want to analyze the trade, just throw in those 2 first round picks and that upgraded 5th rounder to a 3rd rounder from Chicago to Denver.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #2
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wow
this is probably the coach
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:50 PM   #3
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Why only the first 7 games for Orton? Does your argument break if you include a whole season or just Cutler first 7 games.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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No, Orton was seriously injured in the 8th game, and his performance drops significantly after that. I didn't bother doing the same for cutler, nothing changed regarding his capability to perform at the same level for the first 7 games than he did the whole 16 games.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
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Great post and welcome iam glad you came out of the lurker closet (it creeps me out)
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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Football Outsiders QB Rank:

2008
Cutler 5th
Orton 21st

2007
Cutler 8th
Orton 19th (10-99 passes)

2006
Cutler 33rd
Orton Not Found

2005
Orton 45th

Yeah!
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RubberDuckie24 View Post
No, Orton was seriously injured in the 8th game, and his performance drops significantly after that. I didn't bother doing the same for cutler, nothing changed regarding his capability to perform at the same level for the first 7 games than he did the whole 16 games.
Actually, Cutler's performance declined after the first 3 games of the season.

Take out those first 3 games against horrendous defenses that Cutler faced and you will find that Cutler wasnt all that special.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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Good post. What about Yards per completion?
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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Just a heads up put frerottenextelway and lostknight on ignore.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:02 PM   #10
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Good post. What about Yards per completion?
I believe *believe* that yards per completion is heavily weighed in the quarterbacks passer rating. I could be wrong though.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:04 PM   #11
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Good stuff, though i still wonder how well stats translate in football. KC Joyner said he wouldnt even trade Campbell for Cutler straight up. I'm not so sure about that
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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.
El Minion, Im a big fan of Football Outsiders but over the years I have found serious statistical flaws in their formulas.

They said the Eagles were the best team in teh country all year long last year afterall.

Its a good reference site but by no means should be used as a defacto judgement on the quality of players. Not for anyone at any position. IN fact if you read their QB statistic explanation, they specifically say that the QB stats cannot be accurately separated from teh WR stats (same with RBs and Offensive lines).

All things taken into account, Cutler was a better QB in a better offense with better weapons around him.

Now, if ORTON stars for Denver this year and Cutler pulls the dilrod out of his ass and actually suits up for Chicago next year, we will see if it was the system that made Cutler great (which I think is more likely) or if it was really him.

We'll see how he does with no receivers, and an average offensive line.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:07 PM   #13
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wow
this is probably the coach
Yeah great to see you here Mr. McDaniels!

But seriously: Great post
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Chalk View Post
El Minion, Im a big fan of Football Outsiders but over the years I have found serious statistical flaws in their formulas.

They said the Eagles were the best team in teh country all year long last year afterall.

Its a good reference site but by no means should be used as a defacto judgement on the quality of players. Not for anyone at any position. IN fact if you read their QB statistic explanation, they specifically say that the QB stats cannot be accurately separated from teh WR stats (same with RBs and Offensive lines).

All things taken into account, Cutler was a better QB in a better offense with better weapons around him.

Now, if ORTON stars for Denver this year and Cutler pulls the dilrod out of his ass and actually suits up for Chicago next year, we will see if it was the system that made Cutler great (which I think is more likely) or if it was really him.

We'll see how he does with no receivers, and an average offensive line.
Couldn't agree more... it's a shame we won't ever see what Cutler could potentially do in the offense he had around him, along with the mentoring from Josh McDaniels (whom looking at his track record, is arguably one of the best quarterbacks coach in the league).
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:17 PM   #15
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Why only the first 7 games for Orton? Does your argument break if you include a whole season or just Cutler first 7 games.
I took a look at Orton vs. Jay for the 2008 season also, and comparing four of the most important QB stats found that the players were fairly even for the whole season:

TD% Kyle 3.9 vs. Jay 4.1%
INT% Kyle 2.6 vs. Jay 2.9%
YPA Kyle 6.4 vs. Jay 7.3
Completion % Kyle 58.5 vs. Jay 62.3%

Orton wasn't that far from Jay, and as pointed out, Orton played with a worse supporting cast and a bad ankle injury. So really, Jay wasn't leaps and bounds better than Orton except in completion %.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:25 PM   #16
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Say the Bronco's or the Bears get the beat sh't out of them this year and the Bronco's end up with a chance to get Tim Tebow next year,how fast will everybody here forget Cutler,Orton and Elway?,I say before the Commissioner gets done announcing the pick!
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #17
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Good work and thanks for sharing. I think McDaniels can do much to improve both Simms and Orton.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:27 PM   #18
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I took a look at Orton vs. Jay for the 2008 season also, and comparing four of the most important QB stats found that the players were fairly even for the whole season:

TD% Kyle 3.9 vs. Jay 4.1%
INT% Kyle 2.6 vs. Jay 2.9%
YPA Kyle 6.4 vs. Jay 7.3
Completion % Kyle 58.5 vs. Jay 62.3%

Orton wasn't that far from Jay, and as pointed out, Orton played with a worse supporting cast and a bad ankle injury. So really, Jay wasn't leaps and bounds better than Orton except in completion %.
maybe it my economic background but "market" seem to put more faith in Cutler then stats based upon what we got. I don't think that Orton was high on many team boards.

You need to look at what each team asked the QB to do, responsibilities (Did Turner make Orton read the whole field or limit his read) and opponents defense faced.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:27 PM   #19
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Tebow is the 3rd best QB next year AT BEST. He won't make anyone forget the petulant child drunk!
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:28 PM   #20
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Say the Bronco's or the Bears get the beat sh't out of them this year and the Bronco's end up with a chance to get Tim Tebow next year,how fast will everybody here forget Cutler,Orton and Elway?,I say before the Commissioner gets done announcing the pick!
Tebow most likely won't be drafted as QB, many doubt his ability to play that position in the pros. So unless Denver is running the triple option then I doubt we care about him.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:29 PM   #21
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Tebow is the 3rd best FB next year AT BEST. He won't make anyone forget the petulant child drunk!
Fixed for accuracy
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:30 PM   #22
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Say the Bronco's or the Bears get the beat sh't out of them this year and the Bronco's end up with a chance to get Tim Tebow next year,how fast will everybody here forget Cutler,Orton and Elway?,I say before the Commissioner gets done announcing the pick!
...how will the Bears doing badly next year affect getting Tebow It'll only take our 2nd rounder...
Hell I'm being generous there. Are you from Florida or something I'll assume that's why you think he'll be a good qb in the NFL...
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:33 PM   #23
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Tebow most likely won't be drafted as QB, many doubt his ability to play that position in the pros. So unless Denver is running the triple option then I doubt we care about him.
Oh I think he'll be the 1st player drafted next year,as to how he'll be as a pro,that depends on the system and his talent,if he has any.

If he came out this year,The Lions would have already drafted him.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:44 PM   #24
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Oh I think he'll [Tebow] be the 1st player drafted next year.
And this here is the perfect cap to the idiocy that is this thread.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:44 PM   #25
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Yeah, and the reason the Bears gave all those picks with Orton for Cutler is because they are idiots. And the reason Orton has been nothing more than a mediocre QB since he has been in the NFL has nothing to with it.
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