In the immediate aftermath of his team’s disturbing 20-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in London on Sunday, Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he has no plans to change out his starting quarterback.
It’s not hard to see why. Though the Dolphins offense looks like “orchestrated chaos” right now, the play of quarterback Jay Cutler doesn’t immediately jump out as one of its biggest problems.
Cutler hasn’t been special, but he hasn’t been awful either. He’s completed a solid 66.7-percent of his passes (70 of 105) so far for 614 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
His passer rating is a modest 80.4 on the season but when he’s not under pressure Cutler is performing well. On Sunday, for example, he was good on 12 of 15 non-pressure throws for 103 yards, per Pro Football Focus.
The problems with Cutler begin when pressure is applied. As he showed on Sunday, when he was 8-for-13 for 61 yards and an interception against the blitz, he’s simply not handling those situations very well.
That’s not the Cutler the Dolphins signed up for. Even in pulling him out of retirement, they thought they were getting the gun slinger who used to find ways to beat those blitzes and eliminate them but they’re not.
Rather, what the Dolphins have right now in Cutler is a quarterback who for whatever reason is checking the ball down more often than he’s throwing it downfield.
Against the Saints, for example, Cutler only threw one pass 20 or more yards downfield on a day when 22 of his 28 pass attempts were thrown within 9 yards of the line of scrimmage, per PFF.
Again, that’s not the Cutler the Dolphins were hoping to get but that may not be the biggest reason the rally for change is on in Miami. There’s another factor that may be even more concerning.
The last time Cutler started a game and engineered an offensive attack that produced more than 20 points in that game was during a 26-21 victory over the Buccaneers on Dec. 27, 2015.
Since then he has made nine starts. The average point production for his offense across those nine starts is 13 points – and falling. That alone gives Gase reason to consider a change. After all, it’s not like Matt Moore is going to be any worse.
Remember, it was Moore who finished off the Dolphins run to the playoffs last year after Ryan Tannehill first went down with the knee injury that eventually knocked him out for this year as well.
And he did a pretty good job of it, too, completing 81 of 118 passes (68.6-percent) for 973 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions in the four starts he made, including the playoffs.
That works out to a 104.9 passer rating and we’re not suggesting that stats alone should be the determining factor here but the fact of the matter is, Moore has clearly done a little more with what he has to work with than Cutler has.
The bottom line here is that the Dolphins offense needs a boost, and given his recent past there is little to suggest that Cutler is going to be the one to give it that boost.