The Dude Abides: Curing your Cutler obsession, Part 3

(Note:  This is Part 3 in a 3 - Part Series to help you Overcome your Cutler Obsession and get back to Normal Bronco Living.  For Part 1, Click Here.  For Part 2, Click Here.  After Part 3, I will allow Jay Cutler to live in peace.)

"...when things are going good, quarterbacks get way too much of the credit, and when things aren't going good they get way too much of the blame."

--  Kyle Orton, 2009, before beginning his first season as QB with the Denver Broncos

You might think this post is about Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton.  To a certain extent, it is.  But probably not in the way you think.  And since we are trying to cure you of your Jay Cutler obsession, it's time to bury the hatchet (and not in your assistant's jaw, raider fans).  Time to let go. Jay Cutler will do what he is going to do.

And so will Orton.  I wanted to end this series with Orton's, quote, however, because quite simply, the guy gets it.  He knows that Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton are going to have a lot less to do with the success of the Bears and the Broncos than most people think.  He knows how the old story ends.  We've just forgotten since we've been focusing so much on the drama of QBs and WRs.

In case you need a plot summary, here you go:

  1. Don't turn the ball over, you win.
  2. Win the field position battle, you win.
  3. Dominate Time of Possession, you win.

It's really no more or less complicated than this.  Really, it's not.  But for those who want to add a little more meat to these sentences (not to their women, raider fans), I'll rewrite them.

  1. Don't take stupid risks with the football, especially in the passing game.
  2. Special Teams are a HUGE part of football.
  3. Run the ball down through your opponents until they lose their spleen.  Stop your opponents from running.

As many have pointed out, stats can say many different things, but when it comes to the veracity of the above statements (turnovers, field position, and time of possession), the stats are truly revealing. 

The 2008 season is a perfect example.  Last year there were 256 games played during the regular season.  That's quite a good sample size.  Of these 256 games:

  • 80% ( 206) of the games were won by the team who either tied or won the turnover battle.
  • 68% (174) of the games were won by the team who had a better average starting field position.
  • 68%  (174) of the games were won by the team who won the time of possession battle.

At first, these just seem like percentages, but think about how profound these statistics really are.  8 out of every 10 games were WON by the team who simply did not give the ball away more often than their opponents.  Almost 7 out of every 10 games were won by the team who had better field position and time of possession. 

Don't turn the ball over.  Play great special teams.  Run and stop the run....(and don't up for the silver and black, but that's another article). 

Another example will suffice.  Since we've picked Mike Shanahan apart already, let's examine the one contemporary of his that actually had a higher winning percentage with virtually the same number of games coached, Bill Cowher (149-90, .632). What made Cowher's teams so successful?  I would argue that Cowher fundamentally understood the importance of running the football, turnovers, field position, and time of possession. 

During his 15 year coaching career, Cowher's teams averaged 4th in the league in rushing attempts.  His defenses averaged 7th in run defense.  During these same 15 years, his teams averaged 12th in turnover margin and 6th in Time of Possession. Lastly, his teams averaged 12th in Starting Field Position Differential.  In short, this cat was obsessed with time of possession, turnovers, and field position.  It's little wonder he won almost 2/3 of the games in which he coached. 

Don't turn the ball over.  Play great special teams.  Run and stop the run. 

The truth, my Bronco friends, is that Jay Cutler was never going to be the reason the Broncos were going to be successful anyway.  Most Bears fans know this too.  And as much as I love the Neckbeard (and I do love me some Neckbeard), I realize that Kyle is just another piece. As long as he contributes to an effective turnover margin (meaning no silly turnovers), the Broncos can focus on what really matters when winning games.

You can't say it enough. 

Don't turn the ball over.  Play great special teams.  Run and stop the run. 

Which, in the end, brings us back to Josh McDaniels, not Jay Cutler.   McDaniels gets it too.  He gets the relationship between winning and turnovers, special teams, and the run game.  Let me count the ways:

  1. He drafted Knowshon Moreno and Richard Quinn for a reason.  He wants to establish the run and control the clock.
  2. He brought in the 3-4 and Mike Nolan in order to apply pressure defense pressure.  He wants to stop the run, and force turnovers.
  3. He drafted and used free agency not simply for starters, he got high quality special teams players (i.e., Reid and Brunton). He wants to win the field position battle.

If he can accomplish one of these three, he will be well on his way.  If he gets two out of three, he'll be in the playoffs.  If he gets all three, you can pass the kool-aid (not the reefer, raider fan).  The Culter vs. Orton comparison becomes moot. 

As for Mr. Culter, each time he meets the Broncos, I hope he is knocked on his ass. Other than that, he's free to lead the league in any category he pleases.   

Go Broncos!!!  And Yes, Rock the Neckbeard!!!

Originally posted at MHR

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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