Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 11, two days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.
Can Cousins cut down on his interceptions?
Yesterday in this space I took a look at a positive aspect of Kirk Cousins’ play in 2014, his exceptionally low sack rate. But there is another, side to that coin, one that could stop his second opportunity to gain a foothold as a starting quarterback in a hurry. The knock on that was that he all too often threw an interception when he should have taken a sack.
I asked Jay Gruden about Cousins’ knack for avoiding sacks and he brought up the interception issue.
“Sometimes unfortunately he threw some interceptions because he was trying to get the ball out so quick,” said Gruden. “He wasn’t exactly seeing where he was throwing sometimes which caused him problems. Sometimes a sack is better than a pick. I think his pocket awareness is good. We’ve just got to make sure he sees all his throws and protects the football.”
Cousins attempted 204 passes and threw nine interceptions, a 4.4 percent interception rate. Robert Griffin III was intercepted on 2.8 percent of his passes (6/214) and Colt McCoy’s interception rate was 2.3 percent (3/128).
In the NFL last year 2.5 percent of passes were intercepted. Had Cousins thrown enough passes to qualify he would have had the worst interception rate in the league, worse than rookie Blake Bortles, journeyman Josh McCown, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. If you project his interceptions out over a 16 game seasons he would have had 29 interceptions. No quarterback threw more than 17 last year.
Cousins is well aware that he needs to cut down on his interceptions if he is going to remain a starter in this league. For that matter, if he can’t protect the ball he will have a hard time even finding work as a backup. The last thing that teams want from a quarterback they might need to put into a game in a pinch is for him to turn the ball over.
Rest assured, Cousins will not throw 29 interceptions this year. If he is on pace to do so after several games he will no longer be behind center.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:15; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 12:30)
—It’s been 257 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 2 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.
—Days until: Rams @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 13; Eagles @ Redskins 23
In case you missed it
- Barry on Goldson: 'Totally into ball, 100 percent'
- Gruden: Still no update on RG3's status
- Cousins appreciates his next, and possibly last, big chance
- Gruden says Redskins kick and punt returners are to be determined
- Fantasy Football: Standig's Week 1 rankings
- Competition at heart of decision to bench RG3
- Can Cousins reduce the number of sacks the Redskins take?