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Are Cousins' interceptions a result of bad luck?


Are Cousins' interceptions a result of bad luck?

Today, NFL numbers are parsed to the core and subjected to rigorous statistical analysis. We know how many rushing attempts that a team had on first and second down between its own 20 and 40 yard lines and how that somehow contributes to wins and losses.

But sometime correlations are very simple. The Washington Redskins have played five games. In two of those games, Kirk Cousins has not thrown an interception. The Redskins won both of those games. In each of the three other games, Cousins threw two interceptions and the Redskins are 0-3.

Correlation is not necessarily causation here. There were plenty of other factors that contributed to all three losses from special teams play in the loss to the Dolphins to an inability to move the ball on the ground against both the Giants and the Falcons.

But when a game ends on a pick six by the other team, it’s impossible to say that there wasn’t some correlation between the interceptions and the loss. You can argue how much of a factor Cousins’ interceptions were in the three losses but you can’t say they weren’t costly to some degree.

The company line has been that at least some of Cousins’ interceptions were just a matter of bad luck. A Dolphins defender made an incredible play on one of them. The ball bounced off of the receiver on one of the picks against the Giants and on one against the Falcons. Ryan Grant slipped while making his break on the last play in the Georgia Dome and Jay Gruden wrote it off as “an unfortunate play”.

But is Cousins just unlucky? After the Giants game, when Cousins threw 49 times, I pointed out that almost half of the quarterbacks who threw at least that many times in a game up to that point in the season threw two or more interceptions. So it’s fair to examine how many times a quarterback who threw as many times as Cousins did against the Falcons was picked off multiple times.

Cousins had 32 pass attempts in Atlanta. This year, a quarterback has attempted between 30 and 35 passes 47 times. On only 12 occasions did that quarterback throw two or more interceptions, about 25.5 percent. The only name that is on that two-pick list twice is Kirk Cousins. He threw 31 passes in the Dolphins game. So Cousins is too well represented in the minority group. Most quarterbacks have managed to throw 30 or so passes in a game without multiple turnovers.

Looking at the bigger picture, Cousins has had 3.2 percent of his passes intercepted this season. That’s not good, but it’s not awful. It’s 27th in the NFL, better than Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Sam Bradford, Peyton Manning, and Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Jets, who will be Cousins’ counterpart on Sunday.

One note to make here. Of the eight quarterbacks with a worse interception percentage than Cousins only one, Winston, has fewer NFL starts than him. The quarterback with the next fewest starts is Foles, who has 29. Bradford has 54 starts, Kaepernick 44, Manning 261, Fitzpatrick 93, Stafford 82, and Luck 51.

But turning back to the here and now, the Redskins just aren’t good enough to overcome turnovers, especially when the running game is sputtering. And even though Cousins’ interceptions may be due in part to bad luck and they many be just part of the growing process, if they don’t stop the Redskins will have trouble taking advantage of opportunities to win games and building any kid of momentum. 

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O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

We are nearing the start of the NFL Draft, less than three days to be exact, and right now there are a ton of names circling around whom the Washington Redskins should take at No. 13.

You’ve probably read countless mock drafts at this point (if you haven’t or need another here is ours), and there’s one thing that is consistent: nothing.

So let's concern ourselves less of ‘who’ and exactly what each player will bring to the Redskins.

There are very few evaluators of talent better than the NFL Network’s Charles Davis, so he got to talk with J.P. Finlay and Mitch Tischler on the latest edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.


He broke down EVERYONE that Washington could be taking at No. 13 overall. If you don’t have time to listen (which we highly recommend that you do), here are some of the highlights:

“This could be a wild first night,” said Davis. “All of these different trade scenarios are out there right? My experience has been that most of that calms down as we get closer. There’s a lot of discussion and chatter about it, but we don’t usually have it.”


“At 13, when you’re really down to it, Mitch I think you had said to me even before we began ‘O-line, D-line man, let’s talk O-line, D-line,’ and I think that is the perfect place for this Washington team.”


“If Vita Vea from Washington somehow is sitting there at 13, and the idea that you could go up there and put him a line and get Jonathan Allen back from last year, I think that’d be a great place to go. This is a top-10, top-5 talent in this draft that possibly could still be around at 13.”

“When we’re talking about the people that are in our business, the talking heads that people kind of go to and kind of get held accountable for their mock drafts… you don’t really see Vea in any consistency in the top ten.”

“Eleven is kind of the breakpoint for him.”


“I like him. I don’t know that I like him quite that high.”


“I like Payne, better than Hurst, but again I don’t know about quite that high.”

“The medical, you can’t help it when you’re talking about a heart. You can’t help but be a little bit concerned. Now he has gotten clearance, that has come through, but we all know that each team is going to do it’s own research and got to decide how comfortable they are with that.”


“I doubt he is falling to 13, because if somehow he falls to eight to the Bears and if the Bears don’t run up to the podium and plug him in, I’d be stunned.”


“Normally when you have a combine and you have some things that you have some questions marks on, normally you have some balancers. Orlando Brown had zero balancers. Everything was historically bad.”


“Now Will Hernandez has had about as good a postseason as an offensive lineman can have.”

“This kid Hernandez has become a massive road grater, quicker than you would think, better pass protector and he did all of this on an 0-12 team last year. So he is another guy to keep an eye on, especially if as you said they are able to move back.”


“I’d be surprised at 13.”

“Get back to 19 and then I think Guice is in play at 19. If that indeed is the runner that they like. I think the running back renaissance is real.”


“I think this John Kelly kid from Tennessee is a really good runner. He had a little trouble off-field last year, missed a game because of all that, but this kid runs hard, plays hard, he’s not Alvin Kamara… but this kid is more of a pure running back than Kamara is, he’s just not a bulky guy.”


“They’re in a tough spot because of the number. We’ve got all of this stuff now.”

“That’s a tough one, because if I’m Dallas and I want to come up and get my guy [Calvin Ridley], I don’t need to come up as high as 13 anyway, if you really think about it.”


“He’s a really good player. The kid played guard, he played center. Price is a really good technician. 44 a possibility? Possibility. Before the injury he was going late-first, early second.”

This is only scratching the surface of what the expert talked about. Get the full experience and listen to the full podcast.




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Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

Why the Redskins should be hoping Tremaine Edmunds falls in their lap

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the first episode above and more here.

When the NFL Draft comes around, you'll hear fans and analysts often say, "If Player X makes it to pick No. __, then Team Y should sprint to the podium to pick him."

Well, this Thursday, if Player X is Tremaine Edmunds, the pick is No. 13 and Team Y is the Washington Redskins, the Burgundy and Gold should sprint to the podium only if there's no other option to get there quicker. 

While the 'Skins already have two talented linebackers in Zach Brown and Mason Foster on the roster already, taking the Virginia Tech teenager shouldn't be ruled out. Now, the only problem is that Edmunds has to slide that far in the 2018 draft; the majority of mocks have him going before that spot.

Edmunds is the type of do-it-all LB that is especially valuable in today's NFL. He has the athleticism and ability to fit on the inside or outside, and is just as comfortable rushing the passer as he is in coverage. You know that issue the Redskins have when it comes to covering tight ends, the one that's lasted for like a decade now? Edmunds would help erase it, along with a host of other problems.

"They don't come like him," one NFC scout told about Edmunds. "I don't think there has ever been a linebacker that has had his size and speed."

Redskins fans, go outside and start searching for your four-leaf clovers now. Last year, the franchise got lucky and landed Jonathan Allen. This time around, they're going to need even more of it to secure Edmunds.