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Need to Know: Can Cousins reduce the number of sacks the Redskins take?

Sep 10, 2015, 5:11 AM EDT

Cousins-hit-vs-Ravens

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 10, three days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Can Cousins help the Redskins cut down on sacks?

The Redskins quarterbacks had problems staying upright last year.

Opponents racked up 58 sacks against the Redskins last year. Only the Jaguars, with 72, allowed more.

Yes, the Redskins threw a lot but when you control for that and look at their sack percentage you come up with 9.6, still the second-worst performance in the league next to the Jaguars.

Yes, the offensive line had its weak links, perhaps more weak ones than strong ones. But a closer look at the numbers indicates that the quarterbacks likely had something to do with it.

Robert Griffin III, who started seven games, was sacked 13.3 percent of the times he dropped back to pass (33 sacks/247 drop backs). Colt McCoy was sacked 11.7 percent of his dropbacks (17/145) and Kirk Cousins on 3.8 percent (8/212).

As they sang on Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the others. Playing behind the same line as the other two quarterbacks Cousins got sacked a third as often as McCoy and three and a half times less often than Griffin.

Cousins’ sack rate wasn’t just the best on the team; it would have been one of the best in the league if he had thrown enough passes to qualify. If he had enough attempts he would have ranked fifth in the league, just behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

But they utilize the minimum attempts for a reason, to prevent making definitive judgments based on a small sample size. Cousins’ numbers were compiled over basically five games, about a third of the season. With that precaution about jumping to broad conclusions based on limited data, let’s look at how Cousins could help the Redskins’ offense.

As noted, the Redskins suffered 58 sacks last year. Had Cousins taken every drop back and maintained the sack rate he had last year the Redskins would have taken 20 sacks. They lost a total of 414 yards to sacks (7.1 per sack). With the lower sack rate they would have saved a total of 272 yards of field position.

But those 272 yards would not have been the only benefit of fewer sacks. You have to assume that the quarterbacks would have completed some passes when not getting sacked. So if they had 38 additional pass attempts and gained Cousins’ 2014 average of 8.4 yards per attempt they would have had an additional 319 yards passing. Add those to the 272 they would not have lost and you have an additional 591 net passing yards. That would move them from 11th in the league in passing yards to fifth.

There are a lot of numbers there and they’re both hypothetical and based on a small sample size. Still, it shows you how much taking fewer sacks can help the offense. There is no guarantee that they will do this if Cousins starts 16 games but it is certainly something to look for.

Timeline

—Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann was born on this date in 1949.

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:30)

—It’s been 256 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 3 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 14; Eagles @ Redskins 24

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    Great stats and projections Rich! Cousins will make this team look comety different if he can manage the INTs. With the defensive enhancements, and our abilit to keep
    The games close, vs the blowouts our defense allowed for by Q3 of the game , I do t think he will feel compelled to try to win the game on every play In the second half.

    Question: how many of cousins INTs were when the team was down more than 14 points in the second half?

    My guess if the hailmary pressure is not there the INTs are greatly reduced.

    Honestly his INTs are linked to the field position special teams allow and the ability of the defense to keep points off the board. If the other 52 men keep the game close, my guess is those INTs dry up.

  2. wvredskins - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:43 AM

    Great post! That’s one good thing about Kirk that I really like but I assume that some of the interceptions he might have thrown were to avoid taking a sack. Imo I think Kirk is really going to take a huge step this year and who knows we might have our franchise qb growing right in front of our eyes. That’s a bold state tho and possibly wishful thinking but if he can cut down on the interceptions and make smart quick reads you never know! Httr #3moredays

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:54 AM

      Cousins also might have had a lower completion percentage because he was avoiding sacks

      • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:38 AM

        No Cousins “did” have a lower completion % and a higher interception % because he was avoiding pressure and not taking a sack.

        Griffin was taking sacks instead of throwing incompletions and interceptions, they’re basically one in the same except the interception is the worse out of the bunch because you lose possession of the ball.

        From what I’ve seen of Cousins he seems to be throwing the ball away More when nothing in there so he doesn’t throw an int or take a sack.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:58 AM

          We haven’t seen anything different from Cousins. He played well against backups and nobodys. Against Starters he Threw an interception, fumbled, and threw a lucky touchdown. He did no better than RG3 against starters.

          We Will see him play against starters a a tough defensive front Sunday we will see how he does. Hopefully Gruden calls some plays to slow the Pass Rush and the Oline plays well

      • wvredskins - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:08 PM

        Well obviously he showed Gruden something in the offseason/ training camp/ preseason to make him think that he has possibly corrected his problem. Against back ups or not he still did what he had to do, you know the saying “you can only control what you can control.” But Im done talking to you about Kirk because obviously you dont have faith in Kirk and rightfully so for you and your opinion. Time will tell.

  3. kutzintl - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    Rich you are my favorite blogger of all times. Back in the caveman days I studied math and I read the book how to lie with statistics. So here goes with our what ifs. Shannahan pulls RG3 when he first got crunched and Redskins are up 14-0 against Seattle. Redskins win the game and go on to win SuperBowl in2012. Next year RG3 is fully healthy and runs his super Bowl style and wins a second super bowl. Running back Morris improves his numbers and breaks 2000 yards. Along comes 2014 of course with shannahan RG3 and Morris and we have a 3peat. RG3 becomes the concensus MVP and makes all the big name QB look like has beens. And no one ever hears Jay Gruden because when one Shannahan retires with 6 super bowls and 3 in a row it becomes time for little Shannanon to continue the golden arm and legs of RG3 (Please bow your head when you reference his name) Oh How we can lie with statistics its so much fun…MANILA JOHN

  4. gonavybeatarmy - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    Rich-

    Brilliant analysis. Well done.

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    The problem with doing math like that is it’s not a true representative of what could happen because of the variables, different teams played, different game situations no 2 are alike. Cousins could also have had 3 times the interceptions and 3 times the fumbles or he could have had none. Someone could have broken the sack record in a game on him or he could’ve gon untouched. Nobody knows. All we do know is if if and buts were chips and nuts nobody would be starving.

    Too many Varables to even judge the games they actually played also nobody knows if one would do better against the other players team they Played because they were all playing against different pass rushers who’s to say if those rushers would have made more or less sacks we don’t know for sure.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:39 AM

      We do know that the Oline performed horribly. I’ve already posted the stats and the links for them stats that’s show this. The QB sack rates posted in this article not only are on the QB but also his blockers. They just have how many times he was sacked not why and who was responsible for those sacks.

      • Skulb - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:58 AM

        You could make the exact same excuse for Cousins´ interceptions which were often the result of early pressure, yet you never do. Why is that Tim?

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:08 AM

          Listen I’ve said repeatedly that Cousins interceptions and lower Completion percentage could be partly due to the pressure. READ MY WHOLE POSTS and you will see this.

          Just like I saiad RG3 is partly responsible for his sacks. I put Most of our QBs problems on the Oline and play calling.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:10 AM

          BTW it’s not an excuse it’s a fact

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      You have some valid points Tim. That’s why statistics like these need to be considered carefully in a proper context and they should be measured out in a long duration. There are ones here that CERTAINLY have no idea how to properly apply statistics in a discussion.

      • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:32 AM

        Kirk Cousins faced the top sack artist in the NFCE vs Philly, how many times did he get sacked in that game?

        “0”

        He faced JPP and the Giants, how many times did he get sacked?

        “2”

        He faced the Seattle Seahawks – threw zero ints in that game – how many times did he get sacked?

        “1”

        How many times did he get sacked for Arizona’s great defense?

        “2”

        Moral of the story, Kirk faced two of the toughest defenses the Redskins played all season, with the exception of the Rams and he only got sacked 3 times in those 2 games.

        Stop your whining and face the facts guys. Kirk gets the ball out quick, doesn’t take negative plays. Last year he forced it too much but it seems since Jay has given the team to him that Kirk isn’t pressing.

        I’ve seen him throw balls away this preseason instead of taking a sack or throwing an interception, something he didn’t do the previous 3 seasons. Kirk has improved and I think you’re going to see that this season, be pleasantly surprised and you’re going to eat a lot of crow!

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:11 AM

          Who are the other notable rushers on those team? Ya the Giants have 1 guy and Philly has a guy maybe 2. Arizona has a good secondary not much of a pass rush same with Seattle.
          RG3 faced 49ers, Bugs,Rams, & Texans all with Great Pass Rushing DLines also the 2 you mentioned as having A good Rusher Giants and Eagles. Like I’ve said a lot of variables. Common Sense dictates if you are facing better Pass Rushers you have a higher chance of being sacked

          BTW RG3 only threw 1 interception against the Giants

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:34 AM

          “Stop your whining and face the facts guys.’

          If you are referring to me then you need a reality check since I even supported Cousins sack ratio in the comment further down showing his numbers were similar in previous seasons. The reference to misuse of statistics were ones where others misused QBR ratings by applying them in preseason.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:11 AM

          There was only2 games where there were compariable situations for Both QBs last year. The Giants and Philly games.
          Against the Giants
          RG3 had 0 turnovers and 7 Sacks loss game
          Cousins had 6 turnovers and 3 Sacks loss game
          The Scores were comparable for how close the game was

          Against Philly
          RG3 had 2 turnovers and 2 sacks. Won the game
          Cousins had 1 turnover and 0 Sacks lost the game
          Both games were close and comparable.

          Both players lost the Giants game So what would you rather have 7 Sacks or 6 turnovers with a couple sacks?
          Philly game we had a win and a loss what do you like better 2 turnovers, 2 sacks, and the win or 1 turnover, 0 Sacks, and the loss?

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:27 AM

          The reason we lost the first philly game was because the special teams have up a kick off return for a TD and Kai missed a FG.

          Question, how any yards and Tds did Kirk have vs Philly last year vs what Griffin did vs Philly?

          Kirk – 427 yds, 3 tds, 1 int

          RG3 – 220 yds, 0 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD, 1 int

        • ET - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:42 AM

          “what do you like better 2 turnovers, 2 sacks, and the win or 1 turnover, 0 Sacks, and the loss?”

          I’d like the QB who didn’t look like a lost baby duckling against the World Famous Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with two INTs and six sacks.

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 12:48 PM

          Again, the reason Griffin beat the Eagles is becsuse the entire team played better the final month of the season. Including the defense & special teams.

          The first Philly game where Cousins played his best game of the year and was awesome was lost because the redskins defense sucked and the special teams gave up a kick off return for a TD.

          The first Philly loss wasn’t too different from the Houston loss where Griffin played well enough for the team to win but the special teams had a punt blocked, the defense (Rambo) blew two coverages and Niles Paul fumbled the ball inside the 20 on a long pass play.

          The skins should have won both the Texans game (Griffin’s start) and the first Philly game (Cousins’ start) but the special teams and defense blew assignments in both games.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:48 AM

          ET who’s to say Cousins wouldn’t have looked the same? Cousins didn’t play the Bucs so we will never know. Sadly the Eagles and Giants games are the only close comparable games.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM

          I could come back with would you rather have a QB complete 69.5% of his passes(RG3) or 62.5% of his Passes and they say it all comes down to wins and losses.

          We could use Riches math and say if he threw the same amount he would have comparable #s.

          It’s what and who you prefer.
          I’ve even mentioned before that McCoy was the most wellrounded while RG3 had the best upside. I’ve even sent you a link that had video that showed this
          BTW how did you like the site?

  6. sidepull - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:45 AM

    and then there’s the interceptions…..
    Straighten that stat and now were talking.

  7. skinsgame - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    Interested to see the game plan on offense. In the Super Bowl, the Pats compensated for the Seattle pass rush by calling quick, short pass routes and it worked brilliantly. Of course it helps having Brady delivering passes but, the approach and plan was as obvious as it was effective as it kept Brady pretty clean. We’ll see if Gruden believes the Miami defense is as mighty as it’s alleged to be.

  8. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    We’ll see if Cousins can maintain those low sack percentages in 2015. An important fact indicated here is that Cousins didn’t register enough passing attempts to qualify as comparisons with other starting quarterbacks. Even though prior seasons would prove to be the same case, building off Rich’s numbers are provided 2012 and 2013 sack rate percentages.
    2013 – 0.0323% (3/48)

    2014 – 0.1875% (5/155)

    It seems to me that Cousins is slowly building up a reputation as a QB not easy to register sacks on. This comes with one caveat: Interceptions are not a justified replacement for sacks. Cousins needs to show he can keep those sack rates down while also doing so with interceptions.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      And while improving his completion percentage. If you are Just throwing it up to avoid a sack you are gonna throw picks and incompletions.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      Statistics can also be distorted when passes are tipped to one of your open receivers :)

      • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:46 AM

        Or when passes are tipped for interceptions like a few of Kirk’s ints from the 2014 season.

        Don’t you realize that Kirk had 8 turnovers in 2 games last year – AZ & NYG.

        In the other 4 games he played in – Jax, Phila, Seattle, Tenn – he had only 3 turnovers!

        The AZ & NYG games are the ABSOLUTE worst case scenario for a Kirk Cousins led offense!

        The other 4 games are more of the norm, where he’ll average .75 turnovers a game, which is less than Griffin’s career average of turnovers per game – including Griffins 2012 – which is .89 turnovers a game.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:53 AM

          Those teams he played didn’t have a great front 7 rushing the passer either. Like I said earlier a lot of variables. I would say RG3s 2 worse games were against teams with greatt Defensive Rushers. 49ers & Bucs

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:08 AM

          Seriously, you are the biggest damn apologist ever!

          The AZ & Seattle D doesn’t have great front 7’s what effin planet are you from?

          The Giants D still has a top 10 DL in the NFL when JPP is healthy!

          You’re so biased for RG3 & blind to the facts that your posts & points are virtually useless.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:19 AM

          What big name rushers are on Arizona and Seattle? Who besides JPP (who had a down year) a big time pass rusher?

          On the teams I named you can name at least 2 big name Rushers.
          I’m not bias read all my comments above I’ve said those picks and completion percentage weren’t all on Cousins just like the Sacks for RG3

          A LOT OF VARIABLES

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:21 AM

          Sure it goes the other way …where did I indicate otherwise?

          I have praised Cousins for showing a great grasp of the offense in preseason. He certainly appears to have improved with his ability to manage Gruden’s offense in exhibition games. However, preseason is preseason and we’ll see if he can match that performance in the regular season. I hope he does carry his performance into the regular season.

          Regardless of tipped passes resulting in INTs; Cousins past turnover ratios are historically among the worst. There is no avoiding the fact that it is something he needs to improve upon if he wants to be a starter in the NFL.
          http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=u9PQF

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:29 AM

          This is no one sided attack on Kirk Cousins on turnover issues. It’s really pointing out the obvious…

          “In 575 snaps over 11 games in that period, Cousins has thrown 16 interceptions and lost four fumbles. In other words, he has committed a turnover about once every 29 snaps, or 3.4 percent of his plays. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that’s the worst rate among 46 quarterbacks with at least 500 snaps during that span.”

          http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/176911/inside-slant-beware-kirk-cousins-is-a-turnover-machine

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:34 AM

          I’m not an apologist I clearly blame the Oline and Play Calling for Both QBs issues. I look at the whole situation not just a little part of it. It’s a Team sport not individual.

          Do I prefer a QB who has shown greatness over one who shows a tendency to make bad throws (balls bouncing off of defenders hands are as bad as interceptions to me) Yes
          Do I agree with the GM that you don’t give up on a player with that much talent this early Yes
          Not an apologist just a realist

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:58 AM

          I’m still wondering who these multiple big name rushers are?

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 12:38 PM

          Like Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin and JPP?

          It still doesn’t matter. The Seahawks defense was #1 in Total Defense, #1 in rushing defense and #1 against the pass in 2014. They almost won back to back Super Bowls primarily because of thei defense. The Seattle defense was the toughest defense any Redskins qb faced all year and Cousins played well in that game, he threw a TD pass to DJax past Sherman and had another long pass completed on Sherman in the game.

          His final stats were: 283 yards & 2 touchdowns with ZERO turnovers!

          He did that against the best defense in the nfl going back two years. If you don’t think that’s impressive then your biased against Cousins – instead of being a Redskins fan first and not just an RG3 fan – precedes itself!

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 10, 2015 at 1:48 PM

          I drop a couple grand a year to go watch my team play and have bin doing it before RG3 got here. I’ve Continually said that the Oline and play callingis the issue for Both QBs. I’ve said I prefer RG3 over Cousins not because Im Bias for or against one or the other it’s because of what I have seen from both when given time in the Pocket and their performances as a whole Career not picking and choosing parts of a players career like most do. RG3 has shown Greatness in his Career Cousins has not. I’ve bin on this site before RG3 got here and what I’ve noticed I’ve bin on here longer than most of the Commenters look it up.

          Everyone seems to forget all the Balls that Bounce Off Of Defenders Hands that Cousins throws. That is from a clean pocket.

          Every time I’ve seen RG3 havea clean pocket or bootlegs he makes plays.

          Fans give up on players too quip and don’t look at the whole picture. RG3 was considered a Frachise QB but Raw. Cousins was Drafted as a backup because thats all anyone considered him and we needed 1 at the time RG3 should have sat the first year and bin devolped. ANd use to get 5 years now it’s 3 and you’re done no matter if 1 was great or not. I don’t like that kind of thinking and would much rather develop the potential superstar than the potential back up

  9. abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Of course he can. W/ Cousins, behind an improved OL, I think we’ll only have a sack # in the teens.

  10. gurnblanstonreturns - Sep 10, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    While you are right to point out the QB’s role in taking sacks, especially Griffin, equally important this year will be improved pass protection by the tight ends and backs. The O-line’s play was certainly subpar throughout much of the year, but a huge share of the blame goes to poor pass protection by the TEs and RBs. The RBs – Morris, Jones and Thompson – showed improvement overall this preseason, but TE remains a big question mark. Plus, utilizing Compton at TE allows DCs to bring the house without any fear he will sneak out and make them pay. I do think there will be improvement based on Callahan, upgraded talent and Cousins at QB, but this is a work in progress at best with young linemen and backs, deficient talent at TE and a QB with only nine career starts.

    • ET - Sep 10, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      The offense will certainly be a work in progress no matter who is under center. But Cousins’ quick release should help out the right side of the offensive line, even against a DL like Miami’s. I agree that the RBs (Thompson in particular) did a much better job with pass pro in the preseason than last year—hopefully that continues.

  11. kenlinkins - Sep 10, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    The best way for an offense to reduce the number of sacks it takes is to keep the defense off balance. If you can keep a defense guessing, run the ball well, use play action, stay out of 3rd and long, play good field position football, be able to use a quick/ short passing game and not be 17 points down in the 2nd quarter you should not take many sacks no matter who is playing QB. I do not know a way to “bake” all of that into a “stat” but as a general rule those are things lead to most sacks. The goal is to score more points, (and win games) not just reduce the number of sacks. Now, Can Cousins lead the team to more points (wins) than the other QB’s on the team this year? I would have to say yes with what I have seen so far in preseason. IMO you have to forget about last year (as very little will be the same) and go with what is right in front of you, and that would seem to be Cousins as the starter. Is that 100% clear, no, many questions will have to be answered about him, but today, right now, Cousins is the best bet for the Redskins to win games. Will it stay that way, who knows, but if I was a QB on the Redskins non named Cousins I would be 110% ready every day in case my number is called ( I would also keep a very low profile, work like hell to improve, live in the film room and be the last one to leave at night, IMO that is like putting money in the bank, it pays off in the end).

  12. shermanp79 - Sep 10, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Without a doubt the slamming of the OL will calm with Cousins back there. I do think he will take a higher percentage this year. He got rid of the ball too quick at times. I think with a better understanding of the offense, he will hold it a second longer. To see if guys free up and allow a better play a shot. He still gets rid of it quickly and the sack total reflects such, it drops dramatically. The R side may give up a few early but that still won’t come close to last year. It’s why RG3 needs to be on the bench. So I think it’s a no brainer of a answer…..YES

  13. Ric - Sep 10, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    RG3 lost his team by the by the culmination of his poor on-field play and off-field comments and actions. He is no longer the starter and he will probably never line up behind a Redskin center during a game that counts again. There is no need to spend time and energy arguing about RG3 vs. KC comparitive stats. This is Kirk Cousin’s team now. Predicting his turnover ratio for the upcoming season is fun but rather pointless. For now, Cousins will get all of the first team reps in practice and the majority of the QB coach’s individual time. I suspect/hope that this will allow him to improve his gameplay, something that RG3 failed at doing. With more first team reps and coaching, KC may actually be able to maintain his low sack% while cutting down the INTs. …and every true Redskins fan should be supporting their new starting QB this Sunday.

    • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:05 PM

      Good post, and I believe Cousins will cut down his int’s this year because of how I’ve seen him improve in the pocket, extending plays and taking care of the ball by taking what the defense gives him this preseason.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:28 PM

      His public comments never hurt him. The ones that have issues with his comments don’t have a mind of their own and just kowtow to everything the media writes, or they themselves can’t comprehend more than a two sentence statement.

      A true Redskins fan shouldn’t turn on the prior starting QB by ignoring he had to overcome major injury, coach changes, and a rookie coach that was in over his head last season. True Redskins fans see the complete picture that include the hurdles in RG3’s development. So don’t come here with the same redundant narrative as others about RG3 and try to dictate what is a true Redskins fan.

      I’ll support Cousins and this team because I am a true fan. However, I won’t late blind ignorance forming bogus comments on RG3 go unabated.

  14. Johnny B. - Sep 10, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    If Gruden would have kept the run game going more last year we would have had less sacks. Also it would have cut back on Kirk’s int. That’s why I still say a lot of bad play calling last year.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:14 PM

      The scary thing Johnny is that not running the ball enough was also one of his biggest issues in Cincinnati. It’s the one main thing I hammer on about Gruden. He had a tremendously talented offense in Cincinnati. This included one of the best offensive lines and two very talented running backs. However, the running game was ranked in the bottom half of the NFL every year he was OC. So he arrives here last season as head coach and our running game does what? The one reputable area of our offense for years plummets while the sacks accumulate.

      I’m not going to be a happy camper if the running game is not featured against Miami.

      • Johnny B. - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:44 PM

        If it wasn’t for Alf the run game would have been nonexistent. To have Alf on a 60/40 offense even at his production last year would have meant at least 500 more yards and 4 tds. I hope that they stick with it even when it’s not working. Alf gets better the more carries he has.

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:58 PM

          I agree the running game needs more carries, I disagree it will all come from
          Morris.

          I think the increased carries will come from Matt Jones.

          I see 20 carries from Morris, 10 from Jones and 5 from Chris Thompson per game this year.

          I think Cousins will throw 30 to 35 times a game.

          At least I hope we don’t throw more than that. If Cousins completes an avg of 8 yards per completion that means he’ll throw for 240 to 280 yards a game on average, which is perfect and the Skins will win if that happens because they will control the clock with their strong running game like the cowboys last year.

        • Johnny B. - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:21 PM

          I can agree with that

        • bangkokben - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:05 PM

          @ abanig,

          That’s a lot of plays.

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:21 PM

          We’ll take off a few. It’s not that many, 65

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 11, 2015 at 12:44 AM

          Bang that’s what I was thinking usually if your back runs 30+ times the QB throws 20 to 25 times

        • abanig - Sep 11, 2015 at 7:22 AM

          There are usually about 60 plays in a game for each team, sometimes a little over sometimes a little under. My prediction is in the 60 to 70 range. It’s not that far off.

          If it’s off by anything, it’s around 5 plays.

  15. bangkokben - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    Great work Rich.

    Facts for the rest of us.
    To qualify for passing stats in the NFL, a QB needs to have 14 pass attempts per team’s games played. That equals to 224 pass attempts for the year. Pass attempts is used for most passing stats; not drop backs. However, drop backs could’ve been the qualification for this category. (I’m not sure.) If a QB only needed 14 drop backs per game, then Cousins would’ve needed just twelve more over the course of the season to qualify. Even if he were to get sacked on each of those 12 drop backs – his sack rate would be still be better than both McCoy’s and Griffin’s at 8.9%.

    Cousins is just 12 drop backs to 20 pass attempts short of being 5TH IN THE LEAGUE in sack rate. He does not qualify. True. But let’s not paint the picture that his stats are too small to merit extrapolation.

    Wasn’t one of those sacks during Morgan Moses’ first NFL play where he came in for Tyler Polumbus and didn’t move AT ALL at the snap of the ball?

    What we do know for a fact – regardless of the variables – is that Cousins gets the ball out faster than the other two QBs on the roster.

    But if you want to talk variables, let’s look at the defenses each Redskin QB faced and where they ranked in the league last year in total sacks and how much of those sacks were by our Redskin QBs.

    #2 Philadelphia 49 sacks: Cousins 0, Griffin 2
    #4 New York Giants 47 sacks: Cousins 2, Griffin 7
    #6 Jacksonville 45 sacks: Cousins 2, Griffin 1
    #9 Indianapolis 41 sacks: McCoy 6
    #9 Minnesota 41 sacks: Griffin 5
    #13 St. Louis 40 sacks: McCoy 6, Griffin 1
    #16 Tennessee 39 sacks: McCoy 2, Cousins 1
    #19 Houston 38 sacks: Griffin 3
    #20 Seattle 37 sacks: Cousins 1
    #21 San Francisco 36 sacks: Griffin 5
    #21 Tampa Bay 36 sacks: Griffin 6
    #24 Arizona 35 sacks: Cousins 2
    #28 Dallas 28 sacks: McCoy 3, Griffin 3

    This is just total sacks; not sacks per drop back. For instance, Cousins got sacked twice by the Cardinals but dropped back to pass 40 times. He was 24/38 for 354 yards (335 net yards) 2 TD and 3 INT. On the other hand Griffin was sacked 5 times in 24 drop backs against San Francisco (without Trent Williams against a returning Aldon Smith) and was 11/19 for 106 yards (77 net yards) 0 TD 0 INT.

    Moving forward. Cousins AND the O-line will only give up 20-30 sacks this season. This is not a good O-line but Kirk gets rid of the ball fast which will help in the development of the O-line. Did he turn the ball over too often in teh past? Yes. However, I was willing to believe that Griffin improved in the 2nd year in this offense so I’m willing to believe the same for Cousins.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 6:33 PM

      That’s a nice job of collecting data relevant to the discussion and most important, it provides a good measure of performance on each QB that you can’t easily refute. One good way to use statistics is to isolate tendency with additional information that can be weighed against those tendencies. I think you did just that by breaking each sack down by defense opponent.

      I agree that Cousins is the best QB we have in minimizing and eluding sacks. I didn’t put in the work you did above but I also pointed out his prior years had an even better sack ratio. This was on even smaller sample sets than last season but I believe its enough of a cumulative to indicate Cousins is not one that opponents will be able to easily sack. The key I feel about Cousins is that he needs to take it to the next level. Minimize interceptions and make defenses pay for blitzing him. We need him to drive the offense downfield and show relative success in the Red Zone. The interceptions are the killer for him and his win/loss record is indicative of this. If Cousins can transform half of those turnovers into completions this season then the offense will be in pretty good shape.

      • bangkokben - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:03 PM

        “The key I feel about Cousins is that he needs to take it to the next level. Minimize interceptions and make defenses pay for blitzing him.”

        Yeah, my concern against Miami is that they don’t have to blitz to apply pressure. Good teams can exploit the blitz but it’s very hard to beat a team through the air that creates pressure with only three or four rushers. I think this year’s o-line is worse than last year’s – at least initially until they get their legs and some experience. Even Dallas’ o-line didn’t gel overnight. I suspect some jailbreaks the first couple of weeks and hopefully Kirk will protect the ball whether that be a sack (without fumbling) or throwing it away. if he can mix in a couple well timed dump offs that produce more than 15 yards as well as a couple of completions into tight windows then we have something.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:28 PM

          I agree the offense line will take a step back for the 1st half of the season. The dump offs are important early and I expect both Matt Jones and Thompson to become beneficiaries of those. Hopefully both will be able to eat up chunks of yardage to offset the pressure.

        • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 8:37 PM

          Good points, I expect Morris along with jones & Thompson who will split time as our passing down backs to be the beneficiaries of the check downs. Don’t be surprised to see either running back catch 10 passes for near 100 yds a game

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 11, 2015 at 12:55 AM

        Bang Cousins wasn’t Blitz a lot last year at least not as much as McCoy and RG3. In fact he was blitz about half as much as Griffin. He will be facing better Pass Rushers than last year

        • bangkokben - Sep 11, 2015 at 10:30 AM

          There are multiple reasons for that. Here are two. 1) The other QBs weren’t as quick getting rid of the ball so teams kept coming after them. 2) Kirk got rid of the ball fast and made teams pay for blitzing. If you watched Baltimore (preseason, yada, yada), he was blitzed a ton. If he continues to show an ability to beat the blitz then he’ll be fine; if he turns the ball over due to pressure the team will be in for a long season. Every defense wants to create pressure WITHOUT blitzing – having four rushers and seven in coverage. This is where Kirk needs to improve his game. If he doesn’t and the o-line can’t slow the pressure on a standard pass rush, then the team could be as bad as the predictions.

    • abanig - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:16 PM

      Yes, Moses’ first ever NFL play resulted in one of Cousins’ sacks in the first giants game. Really, we could scrap that one off Moses’ & Kirk’s resume. It was obvious Moses didn’t know the snap count as he was the only OL that didn’t move.

      I think the OL may struggle early in the year but they will improve throughout the year and by the end of the year will be considered one of the best OL in the league.

    • abanig - Sep 11, 2015 at 7:23 AM

      Do you have an email, I want to ask you something?

      • bangkokben - Sep 11, 2015 at 8:25 AM

        Yes. I think I sent an email to you – a gmail account.

        • abanig - Sep 11, 2015 at 2:42 PM

          Can you send another email to avbanig@gmail.com

          I remember you sending me that article but it was a month or so ago.

          Thanks

  16. squawonthewarpath - Sep 10, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    I am a Redskin TEAM fan first, meaning I will support whatever quarterback starts. I know many fans are moaning because of Cousin’s being the starter with his past, though, limited history of playing time, especially throwing to the wrong team. Yet the reality is Cousin’s was going to end being the starter sooner or later anyways. In order for RG3 to not be a complete failure you have to play to his strengths. The problem is when you play to his strengths he is going to be taken down by injuries. We were going to end up with Cousin’s regardless who was named starter. All the talent, potential, prior success etc. is meaningless when one cannot physically utilize it consistently.

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