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Will ESPN's New Stat Favor Cutler?

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ESPN excitedly announced that they have come up with a new way to judge a quarterback's efficiency, calling it the total quarterback ranking. This statistic is basically meant to judge how effective a quarterback is at getting first downs. It takes into account how a QB gains (or loses) yards, what is happening in the game when those yards are gained.

    For example, Jay Cutler throwing an incomplete pass on 2nd-and-12 won't be judged as harshly as when he does it on 3rd-and-6.

    The exact scoring model has not been unveiled, but ESPN did share that a perfect rating is 100. A 65 over a season should be considered Pro Bowl caliber, and 50 is average. Looking at the Bears two playoff games, I believe that the rating would punish Cutler for the Bears terrible at third-down efficiency during the loss to Green Bay, but would rise for his four touchdown performance against Seattle. Considering that Trent Dilfer, one of Cutler's biggest critics, had a hand in creating the rating, there's no reason to expect that Cutler will fare well under this system.

    But before we guess how Cutler would do, there are still questions about ESPN's stat.

    Was there a need to improve the old system? In 2010, the passer rating leaders were Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger. Is there any question that they were the best QBs in the league? Cutler was in the middle of the pack, which is exactly where he belonged. His inconsistency placed him there.

    Will it put too much on the QB?
    This rating system takes into account sacks, something that isn't always the fault of the QB. In fact, the 52 times Cutler was planted during the regular season would likely torpedo his rating, without taking into account the Bears' offensive line problems.

    Does it take into account opponents? As Doug Farrar at Yahoo! Sports pointed out, gaining a first down against the Vikings and their defense should not be given the same weight as getting past Ndamukong Suh and the Lions.

    With any new statistic, it has to be in use before it can be truly judged. Perhaps it will be a better indicator of QB effectiveness than any other, but Grizzly Detail will wait and see.