Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins did not have a good game against the Jets, but it will not cost him his job, at least for right now.
When asked if Cousins, who threw two interceptions and averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt on 43 passes, would remain the team’s quarterback, Jay Gruden gave what seemed to be a lukewarm endorsement.
“Yeah, that’s the intent,” he said when asked.
Cousins’ biggest mistake on Sunday came at a very bad time. The game was tied at 13 early in the third quarter. It was second and eight at the Washington 23. The Redskins had three receivers lined up to the right. Cousins looked over there but couldn’t find anyone. He looked back to the left.
“I thought to run it, but I didn’t feel I had a window to run it,” said Cousins. “I needed to throw it away, I needed to put it in the bleachers, and throw it over Ryan Grant’s head. That’s something that was disappointing.”
The “disappointing” part happened because he threw an indecisive pass towards Grant. Darrelle Revis was lurking nearby and he was able to swoop in and pick off Cousins’ throw. That set the Jets up at the Washington 18 and Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled in for a touchdown on the next play. The Jets took the lead and never looked back.
Gruden said that a throw like that “can’t happen.” But he still defended his quarterback saying, “I’d like to see what happens when we get our full cast of characters back.”
He is referring to the four offensive starters who were out on Sunday including two who have been to the Pro Bowl in OT Trent Williams and WR DeSean Jackson, plus TE Jordan Reed, who was leading the team in receiving when he went out with a concussion in Week 4 against the Eagles, and C Kory Lichtensteiger, who calls the signals for blocking and protection on the offensive line.
But later in his postgame news conference Gruden refused to use the injuries as an excuse for the loss. “I just know that we had an opportunity to play the New York Jets today with 46 able players and they were better than us,” he said.
Cousins shouldn’t be given a pass for this game due to injuries although they certainly didn’t help. He threw a number of passes that were off the mark as evidenced by him needing 43 passes to gain just 196 yards, a miserable average of 4.6 yards per pass. Gruden pointed out that there was some wind swirling in the stadium. But the same breeze did not affect Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passes. The Jets QB averaged 9.7 yards on his 26 pass attempts.
It could also be pointed out that any quarterback is going to have a difficult time winning a game for the Redskins if the team rushes for just 34 yards. We heard all offseason long that the running game was going to be the foundation of the team but they have failed to muster over 88 yards rushing in a game just once in their last four games. They got just 34 on Sunday.
But these reasons/excuses aside, one would have to think that Gruden still believes that Cousins is his best option at quarterback on this team at this time. Colt McCoy could be good for a spark for a game or two but he showed last year and earlier in his career when he was with the Browns that any success he has is short-lived. The last time we saw Robert Griffin III on the field he couldn’t protect himself in the pocket and fact that his contract carries that $16 million option that could become guaranteed if he gets seriously injured makes playing him perhaps an unacceptable risk.
So, the lack of viable options keeps Cousins safe for the time being. But if we continue to see two-pick games from Cousins in losses it could get to a point where regardless of Gruden’s “intent” a change will be made.