DAVIE — Jay Cutler knows that, yes, he usually throws the ball more accurately when he sets his feet and steps into the throw.
It’s physics. And Cutler isn’t dumb.
But when a reporter asked the Miami Dolphins quarterback about it on Thursday, Cutler grew a bit testy.
“Have you been drifting too much or too often?” a reporter asked.
“It seems like you already have an answer for that,” Cutler replied.
It’s no secret that Cutler has thrown off his back foot at times this year. Like many quarterbacks, Cutler sometimes seems skittish in the face of pressure. But it seems Cutler may have felt his toughness was being questioned.
“I’m wondering what you think,” the reporter (from another local news organization) followed.
“It’s always a constant battle,” Cutler conceded. “You’re always fighting it.”
Cutler has been sacked 315 times in his NFL career. Only eight active quarterbacks have been sacked more: Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer.
Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 213 times. Both have been battered after many other passing plays, too.
And while coach Adam Gase has always complemented both quarterbacks for their toughness, it does seem Cutler is a bit more affected by pressure than Tannehill, who was always willing to take vicious blows inside the pocket, in order to deliver the ball with solid mechanics.
Cutler was once sacked 52 times in a season (with the Chicago Bears, in 2010) for an incredible loss of 352 yards.
In only five games with the Bears last season, Cutler was sacked 17 times, a rate even higher than that remarkable 2010.
So it made sense that Cutler, likely on a one-year deal, having come out of retirement, playing behind an offensive line that at time has sprung leaks, would be a bit hesitant about becoming too comfortable in the pocket.
In his career, Cutler has attempted 4,750 passes. And would you believe that this year has been sacked less regularly than any of the 11 previous seasons of his career? Cutler, focusing on an extremely short passing game (and playing through a broken ribs injury) has been sacked on only 4.8 percent of pass attempts this season.
Cutler is averaging career lows in yards per attempt and yards per completion. But he sure isn’t getting killed as often as in the past.
“What is that ‘fight’ about?” the reporter continued.
“Whether to drift or not to drift,” Cutler said.
“Right,” the reporter said.
“You’ve got four to five guys coming at your at all times, so it’s a constant battle,” Cutler said.