Depending who you ask, Kirk Cousins has either been just what the Redskins needed at QB or a bit of a disappointment. Against Philadelphia, Cousins led the Redskins on a game-winning fourth quarter drive. Against Atlanta, Cousins played well enough to have the Redskins in position for an overtime win, until an interception went the other way for a TD and a loss.
Through five games, Cousins has thrown five touchdowns compared to six interceptions along with more than 1,200 yards. Judging a quarterback on statistics alone is a tricky business, as numbers can present different stories depending what analytics get pulled, and QB play goes far beyond the box score. But looking at Cousins numbers, it's hard to find much to be excited about.
He's tied for the third-most interceptions in the NFL, along with players like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Bradford. That said, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning each have seven INTs on the year, or one more than Cousins.
Some NFL analysts like to look at yards per completion as a key stat to measure QB play. If you're a Cousins supporter, don't look. Cousins averages 9.7 yards per completion, or good for next to last among all NFL quarterbacks. Is some of that the conservative offense the Redskins have played through five games? Absolutely. Is some of that the loss of deep threat DeSean Jackson? Certainly. But Cousins has also missed some throws that could go for big gains, or more frequently, connected on a pass where the WR must reach back or slow momentum to get to the ball. The slightest miscalculation of a pass can have great costs on playmakers getting the ball in step and getting upfield.
The NFL attempted to come up with one stat to measure quarterbacks that combines yardage, interceptions and more, called QB Rating. (Full definition here) A useful stat, again, it's not very kind to Cousins. Through five games, Cousins has a QB Rating of 81.9, nearly 40 points behind the NFL leader Tom Brady. Cousins ranks No. 25 in the league in rating, behind journeymen like Brandon Weeden and Josh McCown or a former backup like Tyrod Taylor.
For many that believe Cousins has played well in 2015 for the Redskins, the numbers present a different perspective, with some shocking names ranked above him. But for the Cousins supporters, a category that certainly includes Jay Gruden, Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco ranks one spot behind Cousins in QB Rating with an 80.7. Future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning? He's in at 77.3. What about Andrew Luck, the nexty NFL golden boy? So far this season - while dealing with injury - next to last in the league with a 65.1.
Do the numbers tell the story for Cousins? Let us know what you think in the comments.