Read that title again. The Patriots, the same team that ranks 24th in the league, will register 5 sacks on Jay Cutler. Write that down and take it to the bank.
What's my reasoning? Just look at Cutler's history. Cutler's been sacked in every single game this season. He's been sacked multiple times a game in every game, but two (and one was against the Buffalo Bills). In Cutler's three losses, he's been sacked 9, 6 and 4 times. That's absurd. In his past three games, he's been taken down 3, 4 and 4 times. He's the most sacked quarterback in the league.
There are two reasons why Cutler gets sacked so many times.
1. Cutler Has a Terrible Offensive Line.
2. Cutler Holds the Ball too Long.
Let's take a look at these three reasons after the jump!
1. Cutler Has a Terrible Offensive Line
Evidence: Evidence A, Evidence B, Evidence C, Evidence D, Evidence E
What's Happening? Jay Cutler's right tackle is especially awful, but the entire offensive line is on different pages from each other. You know how the Patriots offensive line plays like a unit, where each player knows their assignment, but they help out the other linemen. The Guards slide to help the center or the tackles, depending on who needs help. Watch some of these clips- it's like the linemen are playing with blinders on. They have their assignment and they play out their assignment. They don't look around and they have no awareness of what's happening in the grand scheme of the play.
How the Patriots Will Take Advantage: Bill Belichick will use a plethora of defensive schemes to confuse the offensive line. If the line continues to follow its assignment, regardless of how the defense reacts, then the Patriots will gladly use new alignments that the Bears have not seen. Expect plenty of delay rushes as the Bears linemen act out their assignments, leaving gaps for linebackers to rush through for the sack. Gary Guyton will pick up a sack. I believe that a player of the Patriots' secondary will pick up their first sack of the season.
2. Cutler Holds the Ball too Long
Evidence: Evidence A, Evidence B, Evidence C, Evidence D
What's Happening? Cutler doesn't like to check down to his receivers. In most of the evidence, there are receivers that are underneath and open that Cutler recognizes and decides not to throw to them. Common theme through the videos? All are on third down. Cutler's willing to hold onto the ball and risk the sack instead of throw underneath and miss the first down. Just look at the numbers of Cutler: 21 of his 41 sacks have come on third down. That's an extremely high number. Cutler doesn't throw the ball on third down unless it's for the first down.
How the Patriots Will Take Advantage: The Patriots will keep up the pressure. The one thing the Patriots are good at when generating pressure- and possibly the only thing- is how they never stop hustling after the quarterback. None of the Patriots' rushers have elite closing speed. In fact, I would say that most of them have below average closing speed. On third down, the Patriots have to have a spy on Cutler the entire time. That way, Cutler can't use his mobility for a first down. Containing Cutler in the back of the field keeps him in a box and forces him to either throw the ball under pressure, for a possible interception (5, or 50%, of his interceptions have been on 3rd down), or forces him to take the sack.
So what will the Patriots defense do in order to sack Jay Cutler? The Patriots defense must mix up their defensive schemes in order to confuse the Bears' offensive line. They must send 4 players after Cutler, and they must do it two ways: First way is with the 4th player coming in on a delay after they determine where the offensive line is running. The second way is having a player (Jermaine Cunningham? Kyle Arrington?) put their hand in the ground against the Bears' right tackle and have them either bull through the tackle and turn inside (Cunningham) or run around the tackle (Arrington) in order to reach Cutler through the weak side of the offensive line.
In addition, the Patriots must keep a spy on Cutler on third down and short downs. Cutler likes to run and he has the mobility to do it. Keeping a player like Jerod Mayo in the middle of the field to watch Cutler will prevent a lot of first downs. Keeping a player on Cutler will not only stop the first down, but it also pick up a couple sacks for the defense if they nab him in the background.
The Patriots haven't been able to rack up sacks, despite being around the quarterback. Cutler is the perfect quarterback to take advantage and add to the stat sheet.