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Need to Know: 'This is who Cousins is'

cousins-passing-vs-nyg.png

Need to Know: 'This is who Cousins is'

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 26, eight days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

This is who Kirk Cousins is

After Kirk Cousins’ rocky game against the Giants, Marshall Faulk of NFL Network said the following:
“Who we saw tonight, that’s who Kirk Cousins is. For throwing the ball 49 times, this is a good game for Kirk Cousins. I don’t believe that there is a, ‘Oh he can play better, there is more he can do.’ If his team doesn’t play better, he cannot carry this team. He can be a part of a team.”
This strikes me as being the best concise analysis of who Kirk Cousins is and what he is capable of doing that I have read. He isn’t going to carry your team. If he has to throw 49 times he will get picked off and the Redskins probably won’t win.

But he is not that different from most other quarterbacks in the league in that regard. Since the start of the 2014 season, up to an including Cousins last night, a quarterback has attempted 49 or more passes in a game 34 times. In 16 of those games, just under half, the quarterback was intercepted two or three times. Eleven times the quarterback was picked off once and just seven threw no picks.

The teams’ records in these games is 8-26.

So if most quarterbacks have to put the ball up a lot the will get picked off and they will lose. I’m not sure why we expect that Kirk Cousins will be any different.

This is, of course, a macro view of these games. There is cause and effect in play. The teams aren’t necessarily losing because the quarterbacks are throwing so often; often the quarterbacks are passing a lot because their teams are trailing. And sometimes the quarterbacks bear greater responsibility for the existence of the deficit than others.

Against the Giants, Cousins helped dig the hole that he later had to pass the team’s way out of. His first-quarter interception led to a very short field for Eli Manning and the Redskins were down two scores early.

In case you are wondering (and I know that many of you out there looking for “balance” in the way that quarterbacks are treated in the media), Robert Griffin III has thrown 49 or more passes in a game twice in his career. He was picked off twice in one of those games and once in the other. The Redskins lost both of those games, to the Eagles and Lions in 2013.

This is pretty simple, folks. Although Kirk Cousins might improve with more experience, for right now and for the immediate future he is who he is. Like many other quarterbacks around the league he will have problems if the Redskins don’t force turnovers to get the offense a short field, play poorly on special teams, and have trouble running the ball.

The Redskins are playing Cousins because they believe that he is their best option among the three they have right now. Many have said that Griffin or Colt McCoy would be better options. Perhaps. But if they can’t run the ball better than they did against the Giants and get set up with a short field by either the defense or special teams from time to time it is unlikely that any of them will win consistently.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Falcons 15; Redskins @ Jets 22

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!