I say this after watching Cutler take on the massive Lions defensive front on Monday night where he took a beating from the likes Cliff Avril and Ndamukong Suh in a 24-13 win. Even the big man rookie Nick Fairley got a good rush on Cutler on Monday Night.
As I understand it, Cutler gets hit a lot week in and week out, so at first I couldn’t tell if Cutler’s woes were because of his offensive line or because the Lions’ defensive line was so damn good. After further review, I think it may be a little of both, but I must admit that Lions defensive front is really, really impressive.
Suh and company got off the ball so fast and so hard, I hadn’t seen a pass rush like it in a very long time. Cutler was sacked only three times on Monday night but he was rushed on almost every play, including the simple running plays he ran. It must have been a nightmare for Cutler. Every football fan across the globe watching that game must have wished at one point or another that their team had the Lions pass rush. It is vicious, and if they keep it up I don’t think there’s a team that can stop them, including the undefeated Green Bay Packers. I think this defensive line will even rattle Aaron Rodgers, who is playing the quarterback position as good as anyone right now.
It was this pass rush that brought out the best in Jay Cutler on Monday night. Instead of going down hurt or scared, the guy hung in there and made some really nice passes despite his offensive line collapsing in front of him play after play. Cutler actually went 28 of 38 against the Lions and a few of those completions were as crafty as can be. There were a couple of times where the pocket blew up around him and he used his feet to get away just long enough to sling a nice pass. The guy looked poised for what was going on around him.
I admit, I was impressed with Cutler. That’s a tough pill for me to swallow. After one of his impressive completions, I asked Torie how Denver’s Kyle Orton would do in this situation.
“Oh God, he would be a mess right now,” Torie said.
Kyle Orton can’t seem to get his feet moving the right direction when there’s a pass rush. He’s really slow. I can’t imagine how bad things would have been if that was Orton in the game. (I wonder how many Bears fans realize this now, after the fact?) And like almost every sports column I write these days, we come to the great Tim Tebow-Kyle Orton debate.
Did anyone see the energy Tebow brought to the team when he started the second half on Sunday against the Chargers? Even if he brought flawed throwing technique and a few mishandled snaps, Tebow brought something new to the Denver offense in their 29-24 loss to San Diego. He brought energy. He brought a reason to watch. Hell, even Knowshon Moreno ran harder than he’s run all season with Tebow behind center. It’s easy to see that Tebow can be a playmaker. He wasn’t all that far off from winning the game with a pretty decent last-ditch effort throw into the end zone as time expired.
Bronco head coach John Fox made Tebow his starting quarterback on Tuesday. He’d be crazy if he goes back to Orton. Tebow is Denver’s quarterback. It’s plain and simple.
What I am becoming a little pissed at these days as the Tebow-Orton debate continues is that Bronco fans are being characterized as Tebow-crazy – that fans only want to see Tebow because they want to see Tebow. I believe fans want to see Tebow because they’re tired of losing. I am not Tebow crazy. Just tired of losing. Tired of watching Orton do nothing.
Now as the Mile High crowd chants Tebow’s name over and over again, I admit I feel a little bad for Orton as well. He’s got the coaches’ confidence but he doesn’t have the fans. That must hurt. But on Sunday, Orton showed me something of his character. While Tebow was fighting to get back into the game, Orton kind of slumped around the sidelines not really excited that the Broncos were making a comeback. You could tell Orton wasn’t too happy that Tebow was having success. This makes me wonder if Orton is more worried about being the team’s best quarterback or winning. He should have been pumped up that Tebow was getting the offense back into the game. Instead, he had that same old ho hum Kyle Orton face on the sideline.
Fox and his team have a bye this week to get their act together. Then it’s on to Miami to see if Denver won’t lose to an equally terrible team where there will be more Tebow fans in the stands because it will be a national championship homecoming for Tebow’s Florida Gators team. And then it’s on to Suh, Avril and the rest of that massive pass rush when the Broncos take on the Lions at home on week eight. Right now, I don’t look forward to seeing that pass rush in Denver any time soon.