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Need to Know: 'This is who Cousins is'

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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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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: