|Broncos QB Cutler on comparisons to Favre: `I'm not even close to his level.'|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 25 October 2007 14:53|
Both have strong arms, a ton of confidence to fit a football into tight spaces, and a short memories after interceptions.
Cutler wants the comparisons to cease. It's not fair to Favre.
``I'm not even close to his level,'' said Cutler, whose team will face Favre and the Green Bay Packers on Monday night. ``Brett's one of the greatest of all time.''
Cutler watched Favre growing up. He's one of his idols. So when Cutler isn't running the Broncos' offense Monday, he's going to sneak peeks to study how Favre operates.
``I'm a huge fan,'' Cutler said. ``He's like a kid out there. You can tell he still loves the game, still loves being out there, loves making plays. It's fun to watch.''
Unless, of course, you're the Broncos' defense. The Packers (5-1) are averaging 273.7 yards passing this season, tied for second in the league. The Broncos, however, have the second-best pass defense, surrendering only 164.7 yards.
``We've got to be ready. Brett is going to compete until the bitter end,'' safety John Lynch said. ``He's a phenomenal player.''
To think the arm strength of Favre has come under scrutiny. The eight-time Pro Bowler struggled with the deep ball in Green Bay's 17-14 win over Washington on Oct. 14, underthrowing several receivers.
Is time finally catching up with him? Favre, 38, cautioned about reading too much into his performance against the Redskins.
``On several of those balls ... I thought it was actually going to be overthrown and it ended up 10 yards shorter than where I had intended. Why? I have no idea,'' said Favre, whose Packers had a bye last week. ``Don't write the same story that he's at the end of his rope now, he can't throw. It's just one game.''
The Broncos (3-3) see nothing wrong with Favre's accuracy. From what they've gleaned off film, he's never looked sharper. Favre is 785 yards away from becoming just the second quarterback to reach 60,000 yards for his career, joining Dan Marino (61,361).
``He's a gunslinger,'' said cornerback Dre' Bly, who saw his fair share of Favre while with Detroit. ``He's going to be confident. He's going to have a swagger.''
Cutler has a similar swagger as Favre, not to mention the same confidence in his powerful right arm. Cutler has thrown a touchdown pass in 10 of his 11 starts to begin his career. He also has 13 interceptions.
He's a high-risk, high-reward quarterback, just like Favre.
Not that he wants to be compared to Favre. Not now at least.
``He's been very successful,'' Cutler said. ``I'm a long way from getting to his status. He's a top two or three quarterback - ever.''
Cutler grew up an ardent Chicago fan and remembers watching Favre beat up on his beloved Bears.
``He always used to destroy us,'' said Cutler, who shares the same agent as Favre. ``I still loved watching him.''
Favre is having a solid 17th season in the league. He's tied for the lead in passes (247) and is second in completions (160). He's also fourth with 1,715 yards passing.
``His command of the offense and his decision making has been as high as it's been while I've been with him,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ``He plays the game with a lot of passion.''
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan refused take the bait when asked if Cutler reminded him of a young Favre. He learned his lesson when asked to compare the arm strength of former Broncos quarterback Brian Griese to that of Joe Montana.
Shanahan's words were twisted around and the next thing Shanahan knew, he was hailing Griese as the next Montana.
``So I will stay away from that because all of a sudden Jay Cutler will be Brett Favre in his first year as a starter,'' Shanahan said.
Favre and Cutler do have a common thread at receiver because both have thrown to Javon Walker, who arrived in Denver on a draft-day trade in April 2006.
Walker had the best season of his career catching Favre's passes in 2004, hauling in 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. The next season, Walker tore the ACL in his right knee in the opener.
Walker had 69 catches for 1,084 yards in 2006, yet no 100-yard receiving games after Cutler took over for Jake Plummer in the final five contests.
Walker is currently out until at least December after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week.
``We were connecting,'' Cutler said. ``We're not really sure when we're going to get him back. We just hope we get him back soon.''
So Cutler has found another reliable target in second-year receiver Brandon Marshall, who leads the team with 33 receptions for 439 yards. Marshall thinks he and Cutler could be the next Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.
``We definitely could be like that,'' Marshall said with a grin.
Marshall was certainly impressed with Cutler's poise as he guided the Broncos downfield to set up Jason Elam's winning field goal last Sunday night against Pittsburgh.
Cutler showed the same cool in leading the team on winning drives to beat Buffalo and Oakland earlier this season, as well.
``Look at what Jay's done in a short amount of time,'' Marshall said. ``I'm excited to grow along with him. He's going to be great.''
Cutler blanches at such talk.
``I just play my game,'' he said. ``It's just the way I am.''