Not long ago Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels was criticized for trading quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears.
The move might turn out to be a stroke of genius for the Broncos and a stroke of stupidity by the Bears.
Cutler, who will face the Browns Sunday at Soldier Field, has been wildly inconsistent this season. He opened with a one-touchdown, three-interception effort against Green Bay. He threw nine touchdown passes and just three interceptions combined in the next three games, but he tossed one touchdown pass and three interceptions in an embarrassing 45-10 loss to Cincinnati last Sunday.
The Browns' struggling secondary can only hope that the bad Cutler shows up Sunday.
"Just because he has such a strong arm, I think he believes in it," Browns cornerback Brandon McDonald said. "Sometimes he might make a throw like, 'wow, how did he squeeze that ball in there?' Other times it doesn't happen like that and he ends up throwing a pick or the ball gets batted down."
The key for the Browns' defense will be to pressure Cutler, who's not known as a quarterback that deals well with being hit. He'll often throw the ball into the teeth of coverage when feeling heat.
Of course, the Browns haven't been able to consistently pressure quarterbacks since who knows when the Clay Matthews' days come to mind. Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley has four sacks, but no one else on defense has been able to mount much of a pass rush.
Without the help of a strong pass rush, the defensive backs have been overmatched several times. The secondary did play well in consecutive games against Cincinnati and Buffalo, but Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger torched the Browns for 417 yards almost two weeks ago.
Cutler can't be compared to Roethlisberger. While both have a propensity to hold the ball longer than most quarterbacks, Roethlisberger has an uncanny ability to make accurate throws while under pressure. Cutler is more erratic in those situations.
"He (Cutler) likes to try to make plays," Browns cornerback Eric Wright said. "Any time guys are that eager to make those plays, it does give us opportunities to make some plays as well. As long as we handle our responsibilities and being around the ball, we'll have a chance to make some plays."
Browns coach Eric Mangini is wary of what Cutler can do, whether he has time to throw or not. Mangini is impressed with Cutler's ability to extend the length of a play by moving around in the pocket.
"It feels like we've dealt with that every week," Mangini said. "Carson (Palmer), he's another guy that is able to move around in the pocket and create some different things. (Joe) Flacco, he has good mobility.
"There are a bunch of different things that happen and as a defensive line it's critical that you keep those guys in the pocket so you don't get to that next level. It all works together, and you have to prepare for what they run and what happens if it breaks down."
Again, much will depend on players like Wimbley putting a body on Cutler as much as possible.
"No quarterback likes to get sacked," Wright said. "He does a good job of scrambling and creating on the move, so it's a good challenge for us."