Cutler or Clausen: Which QB would Raiders rather face?
As of Wednesday, September 30th, Bears QB Jay Cutler returned to limited practice. According to the Bears official site, his status for the game against the Raiders is not listed as of this article, but Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said that he expects Cutler to start. That is a pretty reasonable assumption at this point.
If Cutler can’t go, It will be most likely be Jimmy Clausen at QB for the Bears. Cutler is more experienced than Clausen, but he has suffered a couple of pretty rough seasons. Clausen was shut out last week against the Seahawks, but he was without his best weapon, WR Alshon Jeffrey. Which one of these QBs would be better against the Raiders?
Cutler is in his 9th season. He has a 85.1 career quarterback rating. His career stats make him an average QB, although he does have pretty good arm talent. He has a 61.7% completion rate for 28,094 yards, 185 TDs and 132 INTs. He struggled some last year, throwing 18 INTs, which was the second most in a season for him. That is a little deceiving since he had the second most attempts in his career and threw for over 3000 yards while setting a career high in TDs with 28. Getting him to throw INTs is not an easy task.
Cutler was sacked 258 times in 121 games over his career, including 38 times in 15 games last year. That is just over 2 times per game. This is something the Raiders have to look at. They need to get pressure on him if they are to shut down his passing. Cutler has 45 lost fumbles in his career, which over the course of a 9 years career isn’t a whole lot, so don’t expect him to get stripped of the ball. Just get him on the ground quickly.
Clausen is in his 6th season. His career quarterback rating is 60.1, substantially lower than Cutler, although he has played in only 19 games as a back-up. He went from 2011 to 2013 without attempting a pass, so his experience level is very low. He has a completion rate of just 53.2% for 1965 yards. His 5 TDs against 19 INTs in his career is terrible. If he plays, the Raiders should expect him to throw at least one INT.
Clausen has been sacked 40 times. Twice a game with only 19 games is pretty high. He has 10 fumbles, which is also pretty high. If the Raiders can get some hits on him, he is likely to cough up the ball. There is a reason that Clausen is a back-up and if he is the QB on Sunday, the Raiders need to take full advantage of this.
Looking at the Bears QBs statistically, Jimmy Clausen poses far less of a threat. This is no reason to take this game lightly, as has been pointed out many times by several people in the media and on the Raiders. As a rookie with the Panthers, Clausen went 28-40 for 308 yards and 2 TDs in a victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Raiders should not expect Clausen to have a day like that if their defense plays well. That is the only time in his career that he had such a good day passing, but it is possible, especially since they have been susceptible to giving up a lot of passing yards, especially to TEs.
As for Cutler, if he plays, he will be returning from a hamstring injury. He may be OK, but then again, he may not be 100% in his first game back. His mobility may be limited as well as his ability to throw while on the move. The Raiders just need to make him run around and test out that hamstring.
The Raiders are favored in this game. If they play well on both sides of the ball and don’t take the Bears lightly, they should come away with a win regardless of which QB they face. Since Cutler is the better QB, they should hope it is Jimmy Clausen because they just have a better chance against him.
More from cover32:
- Four things to watch for when the Detroit Lions face the Seattle Seahawks
- Five reasons the Broncos will beat the Vikings
- First and 10: The NFL’s 10 biggest breakout stars of 2015