Tha Sports Junkies 101

TSJ-101 Editor’s Edition: The Emergence of Kirk Cousins

kirk maskirova77 via Flickr


Kirk Cousins is making his case that he’s worthy of a long-term deal with the Washington Redskins.

It’s funny how things turn out. Four years ago, Robert Griffin III set “Jerry World” ablaze with his performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2012. Griffin threw four touchdowns and finished the game with a 131.8 quarterback rating, as he led the Redskins to a 38-31 victory. The performance left Jerry Jones fearing RGIII would terrorize his Cowboys for the next ten years. Now, Kirk Cousins appears to be that quarterback.

It’s no secret that the Washington Redskins have had failed experiment(s) at the quarterback position. However, there is a different feel with Kirk Cousins at the helm. General Manager Scot McCloughan deserves a ton of credit for surrounding Cousins with talent.

Kirk Cousins is beginning to master West Coast offense. After struggling with turnovers early in his career, Cousins worked with Jon Gruden during the offseason of 2015. After showing growth in OTA’s and training camp, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden named Cousins starting quarterback and the rest is history.

Gruden praised his quarterback this week, calling certain parts of his game “elite”.

“The decision-making and the accuracy that he’s playing with is at a very high level — an elite level — right now,” Gruden told reporters on Monday.

Football is the ultimate team sport and a quarterback is only good as the talent he’s surrounded by. Left tackle Ty Nsekhe has indeed looked the part of a competent NFL starter. In Trent Williams absence, Nsekhe has done a solid job of keeping Kirk Cousins upright. For the second consecutive week, Nsekhe was one of the top overall performers for the Washington Redskins. Nsekhe graded out at 83.2, nearly two points behind Cousins. (85.5)

“Fat Rob” Robert Kelley has made Kirk Cousins more effective by keeping the entire offense ahead of the chains with his tough running style. Kelley isn’t flashy, but he’s a “hard hat and lunch pail” kind of player. Cousins has been playing exceptionally well the past three games and a that is a direct correlation of Robert Kelley.

Jamison Crowder is another player that’s blossoming at the right time for Kirk Cousins. Crowder showed his deep threat ability against a depleted Packers secondary catching passes of 44 yard touchdown and another reception for 53 yards. Crowder is among the league leaders in punt return yardage and he leads Washington in receiving. Through 10 games, Jamison Crowder has 47 catches for 637 yards and six touchdowns.

The Redskins offensive line is also beginning to peak at the right time. Washington gashed the Green Bay Packers for 157 rushing yards. Spencer Long was a huge catalyst in Washington gaining 100 yards on 12 carries up the middle against the Packers fourth-ranked rush defense. (now currently sixth) In their second season starting together, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses have solidified the right side of the offensive line.

Pierre Garcon had his best game since 2014 and has been the most consistent Redskins receiver since he’s been on the team. DeSean Jackson showed his impact on the offense Sunday night and appears poised for a strong finish. Jordan Reed is a top-5 tight end and Vernon Davis is reviving his career in Washington. Both tight-ends have been dangerous targets for Kirk Cousins.

Chris Thompson is another player on offense that is playing at a high level for Kirk Cousins. Although he didn’t have much of a factor Sunday night, Thompson was exceptional in pass protection and picked up a key first down on a 3rd and 5 in the second half after Cousins stepped up in the pocket to find Thompson. Although he maybe limited by his size (5″8 190) Chris Thompson is an excellent receiver and change of pace back.

In his past 16 games, Kirk Cousins has led the Washington Redskins to a 11-4-1 record.  The past two years combined, Cousins’s QB rating just is 100.4 with a 46 to 18 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 15-10-1 record. The bottom line is Kirk Cousins gives the Washington Redskins their best chance to win in the present and near future. In his last 20 starts, Cousins has outperformed some elite quarterbacks since his infamous “You Like That” moment.

He’s the perfect quarterback for the system in which Jay Gruden and Sean McVay employs but more importantly players rally around Kirk Cousins. The franchise has a strong chance at consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 25 years, and that is a direct result of the play of Kirk Cousins.