Jay Cutler is routinely criticized for the mistakes he makes in the pocket. Like any other quarterback getting paid $54 million guaranteed, he’s under a lot of pressure to improve on those mistakes this season. One of the main things people criticize Cutler for is holding onto the ball too long, which results in sacks.

3 Main Factors That Contribute To Sacks:

  • Time it takes for QB Decision
  • Receivers ability to get open
  • Offensive line play

Does Cutler really hold onto the ball too long? Depends how you classify “too long”. You can use 2.5 seconds as a bench mark for fast, but it’s better to compare him to his peers.

Most people forget about the flurry of offensive coordinators that Cutler went through in Denver and again during the Lovie era here in Chicago. Stability and knowledge of the playbook has definitely resulted in more time for Cutler to make a decision, but in the same breath Chicago’s offensive line and receivers of the past were below mediocre to say the least. That being said, let’s see how Cutler’s time in the pocket compares to others.

Jay Cutler’s 2012 Rankings (according to Pro Football Focus)

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NFL Rank Based On Average Time Spent In Pocket:

17th …. 2.79 seconds to throw …. Tom Brady was #1 at 2.47

Jay Cutler’s 2013 Rankings (according to Pro Football Focus)

NFL Rank Based On Average Time Spent In Pocket:

13th …. 2.75 seconds to throw …. Peyton Manning was #1 at 2.36

These stats have only been tracked for two seasons, but as you can see in 2013 Jay Cutler was ranked near the top 10 for release time, that doesn’t sound like someone who holds onto the ball too long. Cutler also learned Trestman’s system for the first time last year, fans should expect him to take another 1 to 2 tenths of a second off that time after finally having the same offensive coordinator two years in a row. Add that to the plethora of weapons the Chicago Bears have on offense plus an improve offensive line that now has a year together, and you will see Cutler’s release time drop even further.

It’s no secret that Marc Trestman’s system is based on a west coast offense that is designed to get the ball into the hands of the team’s playmakers right away. It’s also not a coincidence that the two fastest release times over the past two seasons have been Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The ‘quarterback whisperer’ will reveal himself even more this season when Jay Cutler finishes in the top 10 for release time, probably a better bet to assume Cutler will be closer to the top 5.

The next time somebody says Cutler holds onto the ball too long, you can inform them that he’s in the top half of the NFL when it comes to that stat and at the end of this season he will be in the top third.

Anyone can blame release time when your offensive line sucks and your primary receiver is Devin Hester … just saying.

Oh yea, forgot to mention that whole Mike Martz/Mike Tice failure that people seem to have forgotten.

NOTE: In 2013, when Jay Cutler got rid of the football before the 2.5 second mark … he was sacked ZERO times.

Bear Down.

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