Bye week grades: Quarterback
Through seven games, the Redskins rank as one of the NFL’s most inconsistent teams—from week-to-week, quarter-to-quarter, heck, play-to-play. But at 3-4, they’re still in the thick of things as they catch a breather at the bye. It’s been an interesting couple of months, indeed, and over the next few days CSN Mid-Atlantic reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will hand out their first half grades, position-by-position.
Tandler: This is a one-man grade since Kirk Cousins has taken all of the snaps at quarterback this year. Looking strictly at the numbers, Cousins has been below average in some areas and pretty good in others. Among his positives are his completion percentage (6th) and sack percentage (3rd). On the down side are his interception percentage (23rd) and passer rating (23rd). Cousins does have an NFC player of the week selection to his credit but he also threw a pick six that lost his team the game in overtime. It’s been up and down for him through the first part of the season. And it has added up to about a middle of the road performance. If you stack up all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks by what they have done this year only (i.e. Andrew Luck’s past and future don’t matter), Cousins is about in the middle of the pack. In fact, he’s 17th in ESPN’s QBR metric, right in the middle. So I’m going to give him the gentleman’s C and watch what he does the rest of the year.
El-Bashir: Cousins is a difficult player to grade at this point in the season for one reason: he’s been wildly inconsistent. So-so against the Dolphins. Good against the Rams. Subpar against the Giants. Clutch against the Eagles. Underwhelming against the Falcons. Bad against the Jets. And excellent against the Buccaneers. The numbers paint an equally uneven picture. Cousins ranks among the best in sacks taken and completion percentage, is middle of the pack in passing yards and touchdowns and ranks among the bottom third in interceptions and passer rating. Even if you take into account game-changing moments, he’s had peaks and valleys—the late, high stake drives against the Eagles, Falcons and Bucs vs. the forehead slapping interceptions against the Falcons (Robert Alford’s pick-six) and Jets (Darrelle Revis’ third quarter pick). Even on Jay Gruden’s all-I-care-about-is-winning scale, Cousins is only 3-4. As for ProFootballFocus.com, they’ve got him 17th. Indeed, through seven games Cousins has had moments where he's looked like a backup and others where he's looked like a quality starter. In the second half of the season, he’ll need more days where he resembles the latter if he wants to be the Redskins’ No. 1 in 2016.
Grading the Redskins at the bye: