The season has been over for the Titans and it now looks like the same can be said for Zach Mettenberger as he has been diagnosed with a sprained AC joint. This leaves many fans no reason to watch whatsoever, unless you enjoy flaming bags of dog poo tumbling down a cliff side headed towards an acid lake filled with giant sharks with lasers strapped to their heads while eating very, very, very rotten tomatoes.*
For what it's worth I suffered the same injury while cliff diving in Jamaica years ago. Not only does it hurt, but I basically couldn't lift my arm for about 4 weeks no matter how hard I tried, so it's not just a matter of playing through pain.**
So now the evaluation period for the young gunslinger has ended prematurely. From our limited sample size, let's all play NFL scout/executive/know-it-all and say who we think Mettenberger projects out to be like. Here's his stats courtesy of ESPN:
The more I watched Mettenberger this year the more I was reminded of Jay Cutler. There are obvious differences but there are similarities enough that I feel they are comparable. While I would say Zach's fundamental mechanics are more sound than Cutler's, they both have incredibly strong arms combined with a propensity to make a poor decision. While Cutler is a lot more mobile than Mettenberger, they both need time to make their decisions and survey the field. That said, they both are comfortable in a crowded pocket and don't panic in the face of pressure. They can also both make serious throws that few can make and pile up yards.
The biggest part of the decision going forward with Mettenberger, or any quarterback for that matter, is whether or not the positives will outweigh the negatives. Mettenberger currently has 8 TD - 11 turnovers, which is less than an ideal ratio. Cutler has 181 TD- 171 turnovers, which is also less than ideal and floats at the 1:1 ratio mark.
I became more an more excited watching Mettenberger as he seemed to adjust and correct his own shortcomings week to week. His movement in the pocket improved and his mechanics stayed sound. Though the obligatory fumble and interception per game is a valid concern.
So who does Mettenberger remind you of? What's his ceiling?
* I would actually kind of like to watch this so it's probably a bad example.
** I know no one cares about a stupid blogger's injury, but I just wanted everyone to know I dove off a cliff once. So now you know.