Bears' defenders said Aaron Rodgers was the best quarterback they faced last season.
ESPN.com's NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert -- a must read for all fans of the Black and Blue division -- sparked a healthy debate by listing his Top 20 quarterbacks.
I'd like to zero in on the two NFC North QBs who made the cut -- Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler. Seifert has consistently written that he prefers Rodgers over Cutler, and he puts the Packers signal caller at No. 9 and the Bears new quarterback at No. 10.
This gives us a good chance to compare the two players head to head.
Although Rodgers has been in the league for four seasons -- one more than Cutler -- we only can fairly analyze his 2008 campaign. Rodgers threw for 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 63.6 percent and a quarterback rating of 93.8. However, he compiled just a 6-10 record as a starter. I can tell you that at least two Bears defenders told me Rodgers might have been the best quarterback they faced last year. In two starts versus the Bears, Rodgers combined for 487 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and completing 47 of 69 pass attempts.
On the other hand, Cutler has a more balanced body of work -- throwing for 9,024 career yards, with 4,526 coming in 2008. Cutler did have fewer touchdown passes , more interceptions , a lower completion percentage [62.3], and a lower quarterback rating [86.0] than Rodgers last season, but the Bears quarterback has won more games, posting a 17-20 lifetime mark. Cutler was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2008.
Believe me, I think Rodgers is a heck of a player, and somebody who'll probably give the Bears fits again in 2009. But Cutler is the more accomplished player at this point in his career, so I would put him ahead of Rodgers when ranking the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
But just like Seifert was quick to point out -- this is just one blogger's ranking.