Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins will face off against a dangerous quarterback on Sunday when they take on the Chicago Bears and that man is Jay Cutler. Cutler, who has a wide variety of tendencies and personality traits on the field, can present several challenges for the opposing defense when he’s on the field. One of those traits is the fact that he’s a true gunslinger and will let the ball fly without hesitation.
“I’ve watched Jay Cutler play for a number of years and he’s very talented. His quarterback rating is what 97-and-change or something. He’s having a very good year,” Joe Philbin said. “He’s got a strong arm and he’s got a quick release. So when you combine those two things, if you have a strong arm and you have a quick release and you see something, you act upon it. Maybe he gets a bad rap that, ‘Hey, I’m a gunslinger and I’m careless.’ I think his touchdown-to-interception ratio is pretty good this year. He’s got all of the skill and all of the tools. Probably, it’s because he’s got a strong arm and a quick release. He’s smart and he sees something, so he wants to take advantage of it.”
Another trait that Cutler has on the field is his tendency to throw interceptions, which is likely due to the fact that he goes out and throws the ball around so much without hesitation. However, Philbin said he hasn’t seen a lot of that this year from him.
“The only real one I noticed when preparing for Green Bay looked like just a miscommunication between him and the receiver more than anything else. That was the only interception that I saw that he’s really, you would say, ‘Wow, that didn’t look very good.’ I’m guessing, again I’m not there, but I’m guessing it’s just simply miscommunication. He thought a receiver was running a specific route. The less time that he has to make a good decision and maybe he feels like he has to get the ball out and it’s a third down and you want to move the chains and you can force him into a bad decision with some pressure and some change up coverages. That’s certainly when most times those things can occur.”
That’s why it’s going to be so important to pressure Cutler throughout the game like they did to Aaron Rodgers and have done in the past to Tom Brady. Philbin said they made it a specific emphasis in practice this week.
“Yeah, a lot was about third down and applying pressure and having a variety of different ways to stop their production as an offense. Obviously, that’s one of the great ways if you can get three, four guys in a rush and you can get some pressure with those guys and you can mix up the coverages on the back end. Then you’re really in the driver’s seat, absolutely.”
Like the game against the Green Bay Packers, the Dolphins need to rely on their defensive line to apply pressure so the linebackers and secondary can focus on covering their receivers. With Cutler not as mobile and athletic as Rodgers, the Dolphins should be able to contain him in the pocket once they get to the next level.