So now that we must wait until at least Monday for any more news about whether we we are going to have an NFL season, I thought I’d take a few potshots of my own and focus on three of my “favorite” players.
So, here we go…
Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Mark Sanchez …
Just what do they have in common?
Well, other than the fact that they play for NFL teams in the three biggest markets, to me they are three of the league’s most overrated players.
Romo, his only positive attribute being that he is a Wisconsin boy, plays for “America’s team,” but might as well be quarterbacking his Burlington High School squad. We’ll see what Jason Garrett can do with Romo this coming season, but to date (even when Garrett was handling the offense before becoming head coach) Romo hasn’t been able to pull together an offense over the course of a full season … nor has he been able to take his team to consecutive playoff wins.
He simply doesn’t have what it takes to be a winner, nor does he seem to be able to stay healthy long enough to do it. How do we know he doesn’t have it? Well, if you’re playing for a team that puts a defense on the field like the Cowboys and the team still can’t win the big games, then it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t have what it takes.
His statistics are impressive. In five years in the league he has started 61 games and has a 39-22 record. He’s attempted 2,070 passes and completed 1,326 (64.1 percent) for 16,650 yards and 118 touchdowns. He also has a 95 quarterback rating … statistics that have earned him Pro Bowl appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Injuries in 2010 kept him off the field and doomed the Cowboys.
He threw for more than 4,000 yards in 2007 and 2009, but in my mind he’s still overrated because he hasn’t won the big games and until he does that, he’s just a guy in this league.
He’s also a proven choker … consider the Seattle playoff game when he fumbled the snap.
Consider Sanchez in the same category. The Jets defense is among the top five or top 10 in the league. The team has a solid offensive line … heck, he even had LaDainian Thomlinson in the backfield last year, but when the ball was placed in his hands to win a game, he seemed to always come up short.
Though having played only two seasons in the league, maybe I’m jumping the gun on Sanchez, but he had better step into a bigger role this coming season. If he doesn’t, the Jets may just give up on the high 2009 draft pick … the player the team selected to replace Brett Favre.
Sanchez has been reliable, starting 31 games in his first two seasons and has a 19-12 record. However, he’s completed just 474 of 871 passes (54.4 percent) and 5,735 yards and 29 touchdowns.
His 33 interceptions in two seasons are also alarming for the Jets. That’s the type of statistic that isn’t going to win many fans or win many of the big games.
Sanchez’s performance in the AFC Championship game last season against Pittsburgh was pathetic in the first half. Though he brought the team back in the second half, because of a soft defense by the Steelers, it wasn’t enough to win the game. The Steelers allowed the Jets enough room to make a game of it, but when it needed to stiffen, the Steeler defense did so. A good quarterback – a Manning, Rivers or Rodgers – wouldn’t allow their teams to get into that situation in the first place and in the second place, they would have finished that game with a comeback win. Sanchez didn’t. Maybe it’s his youth, maybe it’s just that he’s overrated.
And of course we have to throw Jay Cutler into the mix.
Yes, we all know he’s tough. His teammates, including Brian Urlacher, say so. We have to believe them.
But if appearances are worthy of anything, all anyone has to do is see the pictures of Cutler on the sideline in last year’s NFC Championship game to understand that there’s something about Cutler that’s just not right.
For crying out loud, it was the NFC Championship AGAINST THE PACKERS! If Urlacher broke his leg, he would have been out there trying to kill Aaron Rodgers.
His stats are OK … in the past two years with Chicago, Cutler has completed 597 of 987 attempts for 6,940 yards (60.5 percent). He has 50 touchdowns with the Bears, but only an 80.9 quarterback rating.
His career statistics are very similar to Romo’s: 1,359 completions in 2,207 attempts for 15,964 yards (61.6 percent) and 104 touchdowns. But like Romo, Cutler hasn’t been able to lead his team to playoff wins. While he did lead the Bears to a division title last year, he couldn’t finish the job in two important games: The season finale in Green Bay and the championship game at home against the Packers.
Until he can shake the “soft” moniker and win some playoff games, Cutler is going to be viewed like Romo – just a guy who racks up statistics, but can’t win.
My guess is that these three “guys” will be just that for the remainder of their careers. They will win lots of games, but won’t win those that matter most.
And for that, they will continue to be overrated year after year.
Topics: Aaron Rodgers, Al Harris, Brett Favre, Brian Urlacher, Charles Woodson, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez, Mike McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, NFC, NFC North, NFL, Nick Barnett, Ryan Grant, Ted Thompson, Tony Romo, Tramon Williams