Is Philip Rivers Turning Into Jay Cutler?

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Despite being on-field and off-field rivals, the careers of Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler now have startling similarities.

I know, I know. You think I'm joking. I'm not.

Think about all the things that we always make fun of Jay Cutler for. He gets sacked too often. He throws a ton of interceptions. He mopes on the field and on the sidelines. He gets into fights with his offensive coordinators right in front of the fans and the cameras. Are these not things that Philip Rivers has done, and continues to do, in 2012?

Let's compare Philip Rivers' first 6 games in 2012 to the first 6 games for Cutler in 2009 (his worst season).

Completions/Attempts Yds TDs Turnovers
Rivers (2012) 139/209 1502 10 12
Cutler (2009) 136/209 1452 11 11

Oh, gosh. That's.....that's closer than I even thought it would be. Sorry for terrifying anybody with that chart. Both the 2009 Bears and the 2012 Chargers were 3-3 after their first 6 games. The Bears won just 4 of their final 10 games, finishing 7-9 (and 3rd place in the division).

But what about the season before? Philip Rivers showed signs of this recklessness with the football last season, surely Cutler did as well.

Completions/Attempts Yds TDs Turnovers
Rivers (2011) 366/582 4660 27 25
Cutler (2008) 384/616 4726 25 20

That chart isn't much fun either. The comparison gets worse for Chargers fans when they realize that Rivers is a year and a half older than Cutler, has a delivery that leads to passes getting knocked down, and is struggling with his arm strength.

Now, after missing the playoffs in 2010, the Bears rebuilt their offensive line and defense (hello, Julius Peppers!). Cutler made less mistakes and the team won their division. In 2011, that same plan was on its way to working (7-3 through 10 weeks) before Cutler got injured and the team tanked. This season, they've started out 4-1 despite Cutler's 1/1 TD/INT ratio.

I'm not saying Rivers is Cutler. I'm saying that there are a lot of similarities, more than there used to be, between two QBs that have the skills to be elite QBs but are held back by their inability to avoid mistakes. The Chargers need to follow the blueprint made by the Bears, focus on building up the line and defense as quick as possible to take pressure off of Rivers.

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