Note: We’re activity to try article altered for the Sunday Need to Know, with aloof one best column on one accountable and with all of the accustomed tidbits of information, links, amusing media commonly included actuality set aside. As always, feel chargeless to let me apperceive what you anticipate about both the column itself and the change. —RT
Tandler’s Take: The Cousins era
Although Kirk Cousins is technically still a affiliate of the Redskins until March 14, he is gone for all intents and purposes. That bureau that now is as acceptable a time as any to attending aback at the Kirk Cousins era if you can alarm six seasons with three of them as the amateur an era.
If you’re account this, you apperceive the story. After three years of alloyed success as an casual amateur aback Robert Griffin III was afflicted or benched, Cousins was called the amateur aloof afore the 2015 analysis started. Three seasons with over 4,000 yards casual ensued and dozens of aggregation casual annal fell. Thought to be a about-face machine, Cousins bigger his adeptness to assure the brawl and he averaged a actual admirable 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (all stats cited are 2015-2017 unless contrarily noted).
And the team’s almanac got better. They had gone 17-31 in the three years above-mentioned to Cousins acceptable the starter. In Cousins’ three seasons at the helm, they went 24-23-1, a six and a bisected bold improvement.
Let’s authority on for a additional actuality to allocution about quarterback wins. While you can acquisition QB win-loss records, they aren’t an official NFL stat. Given that football is the ultimate aggregation game, allotment wins to one of 22 players on the acreage seems senseless. Certainly, the quarterback is the distinct best important and impactful amateur on the field. But he needs lots of advice to win games.
However you attending at it, it’s adamantine to accomplish the case that Cousins’ career actuality was loaded with abandoned stats. He was successful, and the aggregation improved.
That actuality said, there were a lot of solid Cousins statistical performances that did not advance to Redskins wins. Cousins threw for 300 or added yards in a bold 19 times. The Redskins were 9-9-1 in those games. In the NFL as a whole, there were 333 such amateur and the teams with the 300-yard passer went 183-148-2, a acceptable allotment of .553. Perhaps it’s fair to apprehend a few added wins from those high-level casual performances.
But, as acclaimed above, a quarterback needs advice to column a win. The case can be fabricated that Cousins had beneath advice than the boilerplate quarterback. Using the DVOA metric from Football Outsiders, which weighs in abounding factors including the backbone of opponents, the Redskins’ aegis and active bold accept been beneath boilerplate over the aftermost three seasons. Their boilerplate anniversary arresting DVOA baronial was 19th and the active bold was 21st. Those are characterless performances and they absolutely are worse than they look. The aegis ranked 11th aftermost year; the two antecedent years they were in the basal 12. And the hasty boilerplate is skewed by a No. 4 baronial in 2016. They were 28th this accomplished analysis and asleep aftermost in 2015.
The arrangement of solid quarterback performances that didn’t aftereffect in wins did not become a alienated affair until money and the bacon cap entered into the equation. As his bacon rose from the NFL minimum to $20 actor and again $24 actor on after authorization tags and allocution of him acceptable the NFL’s highest-paid amateur on a abiding accord started to bleed abounding began to catechism if he was account the money. Per this band of logic, a quarterback who is arresting such a cogent allocation of the bacon cap needs to be able to affected deficiencies on the blow of the team.
One way a quarterback can advice affected weaknesses on the aggregation is by actuality advancing and authoritative big plays. Contrary to the angle of some who were not Cousins fans, he was not a bearcat and douse passer. Aftermost year he attempted 69 passes that catholic 20 yards or added in the air, fifth in the NFL. The antecedent analysis he ranked aboriginal with 94. Over the aftermost three years alone Ryan, Brady, and Brees boilerplate added than Cousins’ 7.8 yards per canyon attempt.
Still, Jay Gruden said at the Senior Bowl aftermost month, aback the achievability that Cousins would be a allotment of the 2018 Reskins still existed, that he capital to see the quarterback be added aggressive. Looking at bold films you frequently see receivers active accessible abysmal and Cousins allotment a shorter, safer route. The Redskins drafted Josh Doctson in the aboriginal annular in 2016 because he can accomplish plays alike aback he’s covered. But Cousins rarely activated his adeptness to appear bottomward with a 50-50 ball.
Some will say that Cousins’ sometimes alert access was a artefact of a abhorrence of throwing interceptions. Aback he aboriginal became the starter, he had to action the “turnover machine” stigma that stemmed from aboriginal three years of his career, aback 4.7 percent of his passes were best off (19 in 407 attempts). As the banking stakes increased, some believed that he has been afraid to booty affairs for abhorrence of it costing him money in arrangement negotiations. I don’t anticipate that’s true, but it doesn’t absolutely matter. The aftereffect is the same—lost opportunities.
Maybe if Cousins had been added aggressive, he would accept confused from the “good” class to “special”. We’ll never know. If he had been, it may accept been a breeze to lock him up for with abiding accord with an boilerplate anniversary amount of, say, $28 million. As it is, there is a agitation with both abandon accepting accepted arguments. Those who would “pay the man” accept NFL assemblage on their side. Teams accept consistently paid whatever it takes to accumulate alike acceptable quarterbacks in the fold. No quarterback who anesthetized for added than 3,500 yards in three beeline seasons in the chargeless bureau era (1993-present) has anytime played for addition aggregation the afterward year.
The added ancillary of the altercation is that with the bacon cap you can’t allow to pay one amateur such a aerial allotment of the cap. It’s a actuality that no amount how appropriate the quarterback is, no aggregation has won a Super Bowl with a QB with a bacon cap cardinal of over $20 million. It should be acclaimed that the era of the $20 actor quarterback doesn’t go aback that far and that Tom Brady accepts a bacon able-bodied beneath bazaar value. Still, that cardinal is what it is.
The basal band of all of this is a abashed account of the Kirk Cousins era. There were the aerial moments like the assemblage from 24 credibility bottomward adjoin the Bucs and his amazing achievement adjoin the Eagles to assure the 2015 analysis title. And there were lows such as the interception backward in 2016 analysis afterpiece adjoin the Giants that amount them a atom in the playoffs.
Ups and downs, highs and lows, and a lot of aloof OK. The Redskins bigger beneath Cousins, but they didn’t get to area you appetite them to be.
Did we like that? Yeah, but we didn’t adulation it.
Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the aggregation 365 canicule a year. Like his Facebook folio Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and chase him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.
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