BY PETER HAILEY
Saying Kirk Cousins has had a roller coaster of a career with the Redskins would be an understatement. Even the bravest thrill seekers would balk at the idea of taking a ride on that coaster if it were real, considering all the insane highs and vicious lows he's experienced since being drafted by the team in 2012.
Some of the peaks: Coming in for an injured RG3 and orchestrating a fourth-quarter comeback and overtime win against the Ravens as a rookie, beating the Browns the very next week in his first career start, and replacing Griffin again in Week 2 of 2014 and dominating the Jaguars.
Some of the valleys: Posting a 52.3% completion rate during a three start audition at the end of the 2013 season, turning the ball over five times against the Giants in a Thursday night game last year, and getting benched in favor of Colt McCoy after struggling mightily against the Titans a few weeks later.
With all that being said, even with Cousins's wild inconsistency -- he's just as capable as throwing a perfectly placed 50-yard pass as he is a head-scratcher of an interception -- the Redskins should have at least a decent amount of confidence in their chances of winning with Cousins as their backup if the need arises. The feeling is that he's better than a lot of No. 2 passers around the NFL, and one analyst over at NFL.com believes that, too.
Marc Sessier, a writer at the site, released a list ranking all 32 backup quarterbacks while saying that the position is as important as ever, considering 54 signal callers started a game last year. He said his criteria for the rankings was choosing the "32 presumed backups in the order I would pick them to start a game today. Playing experience and recent game tape were primary factors, but team situation also played a part."
As for where Cousins fell? Well, Sessier is pretty high on the Michigan State product as well: He named the Redskins quarterback the sixth best backup in the NFL.
"For the sake of this exercise, I'm taking Cousins over Colt McCoy for Washington's No. 2 gig, but both could start games this season if RGIII crumbles," Sessier said. "The shine is off Cousins after five of his nine picks last season came in the fourth quarter. Still, both Kyle Shanahan and Jay Gruden have raved about him."
Cousins has become somewhat of a polarizing figure amongst Redskins fans: many think he deserves a chance to be a starter, while others think he's better suited to hold a clipboard. And while one analyst's favorable opinion of Cousins won't do much more than provide another talking point for his supporters, it is always interesting to see how high people value him.