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Cousins thriving despite Redskins' weak ground game


Cousins thriving despite Redskins' weak ground game

Kirk Cousins is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, at least according to many statistical measures. And he’s doing it without much help from a source that traditionally is needed to help inexperienced quarterbacks thrive.

If you look at the NFL’s overall quarterback metric, passer rating, the Redskins’ first-year starter is eighth with a rating of 97.2. He leads the league in completion percentage with a mark of 69.7. If he keeps that up, it will be the seventh best completion percentage for a single season in NFL history. Cousins already holds the NFL record for the highest season completion percentage in home games at 74.7.

Cousins is ninth in the league in passing yards (3,625) and sixth in net yards per pass attempt (which takes into account yardage lost due to sacks) with 6.8.

Looking at one advanced metric, Football Outsiders’ DVOA, Cousins comes in seventh with 11.3 percent (zero percent is average). Strength of opponents is taken into account in DVOA, which perhaps makes it a more accurate measure than some others. In ESPN’s QBR, which does not take strength of opponents into account, Cousins ranks 12th.

A strong running game is supposed to be a quarterback’s best friend, especially an inexperienced quarterback. Being able to move the ball on the ground keeps the defense guessing and sets up a lot of third downs with friendly distances to go. But Cousins has managed to get it done this season without much help on the ground.

Per FO, the Redskins have the 31st ranked rushing DVOA. Of the other nine quarterbacks in FO’s top 10, only the Raiders’ Derek Carr has to operate with a rushing game that is in the bottom third in the NFL; Oakland is 22nd in rushing DVOA. The average ranking of the running game of the other eight quarterbacks is eighth.

If you want to look at Cousins’ support from the running game using the NFL’s stats, here you go. Of the other nine quarterbacks in the top 10 in passer rating only Tom Brady’s Patriots (28th) and Drew Brees’ Saints (27th) rank lower that Cousins’ Redskins (20th) in terms of rushing yards per game. The other seven quarterbacks play for teams with rushing attacks that average seventh in the league.

The Redskins will continue trying to run the ball, although it may be too late for a big turnaround this season. But one could imagine how well Cousins might perform in future seasons if the organization can get the pieces in place to have at least an average rushing attack.

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban


Cowboys WR Terrance Williams gets 3-game substance abuse ban

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams has been suspended three games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a ban he will serve while on injured reserve because of lingering issues from offseason surgery for a broken right foot.

The league said Thursday the suspension will be in effect Sunday when the Cowboys visit Washington. After Dallas’ open week and a home game against Tennessee, the final game of the ban will be Nov. 11 at Philadelphia.

But Williams will miss at least three more games after that while on injured reserve. His first possible game is Dec. 9 at home against the Eagles.

Williams was arrested in May on a charge of public intoxication in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, where team headquarters is located. The case was dismissed after Williams completed a state-mandated alcohol awareness education course.

Williams was ineffective before being placed on IR, as he mustered just two catches for 18 total yards over the Cowboys first two games. Dallas will also be without wide receiver Tavon Austin on Sunday when they face the Washington Redskins. Austin is suffering from a groin injury, and expected to be out multiple weeks.

NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux contributed to this story.


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Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt


Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

Luke Kuechly was just trying to make a tackle.

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the Carolina star dove to wrap up Adrian Peterson and, like many, many, many before him, failed to bring the RB down.

Unfortunately for Kuechly, something else happened on the play that is going to help it live on much longer than your routine defensive mistake.

That something, of course, is that Peterson's cleat came off in the collision and lodged itself in Kuechly's facemask. And the uniqueness of that is why Peterson is now selling T-shirts commemorating it:

"I thought it was pretty cool," Peterson said Thursday in the 'Skins' locker room when asked why he felt moved to create the shirts, of which there are three to choose from on his site. "My kids got a big kick out of it. Obviously, the Internet did as well."

No. 26 has carried the ball 2,651 times in his career but said he's never had an attempt go like that one that involved his footwear and Kuechly's headgear.

However, because he's a legend, Peterson was able to deal with the lost shoe and still go on to pick up a nice chunk of yards as well as a first down.

"As I'm breaking free and I feel my shoe coming off, the only thing on my mind is, 'OK, let me make sure I plant my foot in a way where I don't slip,'" he explained. "That was the only thing I was focusing on on that play."

Will Kuechly get a shirt, though? After all, without him, they wouldn't exist in the first place.

"I might send him one," Peterson said.

What's lower: the odds of Kuechly wearing that shirt should Peterson ever send it along or the odds of another shoe finding its way into the linebacker's facemask? 

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