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Need to Know: Should the Redskins be confident that Cousins can keep it up?

Jan 18, 2016, 5:15 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 18, 37 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Question of the day

We’re flipping into offseason mode with Need to Know. At least a few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.


First of all, it should be stated that there is never any guarantee that a player will perform well after he signs a big-money contract. Some players live up to them, some don’t and past performance does not guarantee future results.

That said, let’s look at some single-season performances of the three quarterbacks that you mentioned and compare them to Cousins in 2015. The seasons for Cassel (playing for the Patriots) and Kolb (Eagles) are the ones right before they got their big contract extensions. Foles’ (Eagles) numbers are from two years prior to his extension since that season was the basis for the contract the Rams ended up giving him.


It’s pretty easy to see that Cassel, who got a who got a six-year, $60 million contract with $28 million guaranteed from the Chiefs after the Patriots tagged and traded him, and Kolb, who got $64 million over five years with $21 million guaranteed after being dealt to the Cardinals, did not have seasons as good as Cousins’ 2015 prior to their paydays. Neither performed as well as Cousins did any any of the major statistical categories. Neither had, in Tim’s words, a “great” season.

(I should note here that the salary cap has grown from $116 million when Cassel signed his contract to in excess of $150 million this year. Comparing what Cassel and Kolb got to what Cousins is likely to earn is not an apples to apples comparison. The 30 percent growth in the cap means that Cousins will get more than did Kolb and Cassel)

It appears that the Chiefs fell for the myth that win-loss records should be assigned to the quarterback. Sure the Pats were 11-5 with Cassel filling in for an injured Tom Brady. But his numbers were barely better than pedestrian even though he had Randy Moss and Wes Welker as targets. The Patriots went 11-5 more due to a top-10 defense, a top-five rushing game, and a coach named Belichick than they did because of Cassel’s performance in 2008. (full career stats here).

How did Kolb earn his extension? I have no idea. You can look at his full career stats here. I guess it was just a matter of supply and demand or someone on the Cardinals thinking he saw great potential because he certainly did nothing in 2010 or prior to that to deserve a big payday.

Foles is a slightly different case. He did get paid on the basis of a very good season in 2013, his second year in the league. He found himself behind center in Chip Kelly’s very quarterback friendly offense that was like nothing the league had ever seen. Foles missed half of 2014 with a broken collarbone and got an extension (2 years, $24.5 million) from the Rams last summer in apparent attempt to make sure they would be able to keep him around and justify giving up on 2010 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford.

So Gruden and the Redskins organization have reason to be confident that Cousins will not get a big deal and then fade to mediocrity like Kolb and Cassel did (well, Kolb didn’t really fade, he started and stayed mediocre). They aren’t certain because you can’t be certain. But given that it’s a gamble, Cousins is a pretty good bet or at least a better bet the Kolb and Cassel were.

Should Foles serve as a cautionary tale? Perhaps, but he had the advantage of Kelly’s very different brand of offense and LeSean McCoy leading the league’s No. 1 rushing attack. Cousins was working in Gruden’s West Coast style offense, which has been around in various forms for decades, and a running game that was 20th in yards gained and disappeared for weeks at a time. It is reasonable to assume that Cousins had a tougher road to hoe in 2015 than did Foles in 2013 and that his numbers were more of a true reflection of his abilities.


—The Redskins last played a game eight days ago. It will be about 237 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 37; NFL free agency starts 52; 2016 NFL draft 101

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157 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. colorofmyskinz - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    Pretty simple. Pay him what he is owed and do it quickly. Once it is in place it will attract others with good contracts like flies. Once everyone knows we have a long term solution, others with promise will be willing to take less knowing it will add value to their stats.

    Think DJax will want to come back knowing cousins is the ball launcher?

    Reed? Think RBs will want to run for us knowing the passing game sets their run up?

    Sign the man quickly and then start building around him…

    • rcjur - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:10 PM

      Building around Cousins will be a big mistake for organization. Cousins lacks tough confidence, tougher schedule next season will have him folding under pressure especially if he doesn’t have a healthy Reed. Not a franchise qb.

      • ned leeds - Jan 19, 2016 at 6:25 AM

        I agree with you can not believe our fan base we had a weak schedule. I say they give him a modest extension until after we play this tough schedule then pay the man if he can perform.

      • sseevents - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:16 AM

        I totally agree. I am a die hard fan, and the best interest in the team is all I care about. Kirk had a decent year, yes it was so called franchise record breaking but that is because we have had horrible QB’s and coaches in the past who could not take advantage of the new Peyton/Brady/Brees rule changes to assist passers. I think giving Kirk a huge deal is a very bad mistake. First a foremost Gruden is still there, Gruden is a bad coach period the way he has handled and mismanaged payers is ridiculous. Not to mention his struggles in Cincy that never justified his hire. Look at what cincy did once he left. The DC is horrible too, I know there were allot of injuries but to sit in basically prevent coverage the entire second half. I got tired of yelling and begging to blitz. The only success for the defense was when they got pressure, they never blitzed to make up for the lack of pass rush and instead allowed for every decent QB to pick them apart especially with the defense allergic to covering the TE unless they went past the sticks.
        Back to the focus of the article and the fools gold that is Mr Cousins. He simply doesn’t have the arm strength or the confidence to be a starting QB. Teams do not respect him and that’s why they allow him and that other Gruden to stat stuff. Defenses only focused on stopping the run, they were not scared of the QB at all. Kirk can throw any pass within let’s say 15 yards anywhere on the field but after that his water pistol just isn’t strong enough to zip the ball in there. “THE WIND WAS A BIT MUCH” No starting QB EVER should have the excuse of the wind used on their behalf. Look at the throws to Jackson or any throw deep the WR ALWAYS had to stop or slow down for them. This is also why reed had a huge season Kirk stared him down because he was the closet to him and the shortest throw. Reed is a monster when healthy but that still doesn’t change the truth. If Kirk can magically get stronger and double the zip on his passes he will be ok, I just don’t see that happening. Kirk is simply a back up QB who overachieved and about to be the first HUGE mistake SM will make. I saw the same fools gold in Cassel, Foles, Bradford, and a few others. They overachieved got the hype machine going and crushed franchises. Give him a marginal show me deal one or two years to see if he will revert to the turnover machine and then we can pack him and gruden and get them the hell out of the city. I don’t want to settle for dink and dunk for the future. 3rd and anything and this idiot throws a 2 or 4 yard pass with no chance of getting the first.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:20 AM

          Yeah, Jurgensen, Theismann, Baugh–what a bunch of hack QBs this team has had in its history.

        • weneedlinemen42 - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:43 AM

          “Yeah, Jurgensen, Theismann, Baugh–what a bunch of hack QBs this team has had in its history.”

          He did allude to the modern era, which is much more pass friendly.

          Back in the early 80’s, 3,000 yards was a bench mark of a good season. Low 4,000 yard seasons are now somewhere on the range of, “pretty decent”. Especially on a team that was struggling to move the ball on the ground.

          Compare Cousins’s season to elite season stats across the league over the last 5-years and it isn’t that spectacular.

        • renhoekk2 - Jan 19, 2016 at 6:18 PM

          @ weneedlinemen42

          Know who else doesn’t have “elite” numbers like that? Russell Wilson. But with a strong running game and a top defense he was good enough to lead his team to the past two Super Bowls and win one. Wilson isn’t putting up “spectacular” numbers every year either. If you compare his numbers for their past two Super Bowl seasons you’ll see Wilson’s numbers are similar to what Cousins just did in 2015. Taking into account Wilson’s yardage is offset by their strong running game. But no one questioned if the Seahawks should sign him to a long term deal. What would the Redskins record have been this year if they had Seattle’s run game and top defense? 12-4. 13-3? If McCloughan can get players in to improve the running game and defense anywhere near Seattle level performance, Cousins and the Redskins will be just fine. No one is saying Cousins had one of the greatest NFL passing seasons ever. Only that he showed enough to get a new contract. Is that the argument now against Cousins? He season was good but not NFL historic or elite so they should wait to sign him long term? If that is the criteria for new QB contracts in the NFL there would be a lot of good NFL QB FA’s every year.

        • Skulb - Jan 26, 2016 at 9:01 AM

          So many words and all of them so wrong….

      • renhoekk2 - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:28 AM

        Lacks tough confidence? Not sure what you base that on. Or even what it means. Brought his team back from huge hole against TB. He had 3 game winning drives for the season. How do you do that without something called tough confidence? They only played three teams with a winning record all year. That’s not his fault. They were all road games. One against the defending SB champs who happen to be back in the AFC conf championship. Another was against the 15-1 Panthers who are in the NFC championship, and the other was against the Jets who have a top 5 defense. I guess not being able to win against those teams on the road with no running game and a bottom 5 defense shows what a failure Cousins really is. Right?

    • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 2:54 PM

      Your assessment is flawed. Kirk had 3 years of prior play. You cannot just wipe that from the face of the earth. Even so, the point missed here is that any QB must have a minimum of 3 years of play before you can tell with ANY degree of certainty that you have a franchise QB. This includes KC. The NFL is about match ups and defending successfully against all kinds of pressure. Kirk has been horrible under pressure. The better teams always brings pressure on the QB’s and receivers. If Jay Gruden talks Scot MCCloughan into giving KC a long term contract over $5 mil a year off of this one half year sample, somebody needs to have their a$sess whipped. Check out the contracts of current NFL QB’s all of which-the bigger contracts have several years of play under their belts. Not one year. I think we all saw what happened against Green Bay. Their is not another team in the NFL that would franchise KC after 7 decent games. There is not another team in the NFL that would pay him more than $5 mil a year and give him an unconditional starting job accept Jay Gruden. There is no reason for the skins to put all their eggs into this one shaky basket. That would be dumb!! And Jay Gruden is dumb!!! So, that is what he would advise. Hopefully scot will not drink the dumb koolaid that Jay does.

      • Trey Gregory - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:50 PM

        @TheTrue: You’re just absolutely wrong with what you said.

        First, Gruden isn’t telling McCloughan anything. When Cousins gets a deal for at least 15 mil a year, that will all be on the GM. Fans see this guy as the team savior. You can’t have it both ways. McCloughan makes the personnel decesions. If you don’t like the Cousins signing, he’s who you blame.

        But you’re mainly wrong that no other team would pay Cousins. There’s a reason why they’re going to offer him this deal. It’s not because they think he’s a great guy. It’s because they have to in order to retain him. If Washington doesn’t pay him, someone else will, and they know that. If they could pay Clusins 5 mil a year, they would. If Greenbay could pay Rogers 5 mil a year, they would. But it takes two sides here, and Cousins has all the leverage.

        Trust me, you don’t know more about this stuff than Scot McCloughan. So just relax. He knows there’s no guarantee that Cousins becomes a franchise QB. But as an experienced talent evaluator and personnel man, he understands the situation. He knows it’s far more risky to let a potential franchise QB walk than to pay Cousins and he only plays okay for a couple years.

        Mostly, because what’s the other good option? Cut him lose and go back to the draft gamble? There’s also no guarantee that you find a guy in the draft, and good QBs don’t usually show up on the FA market. This is reality. You need to learn to just accept it. McCloughan knows all the risks, but he also knows Cousins won’t take 5 mil and someone else will pay him. He knows this is the best option for the team, even if it isn’t guarantees. Just get over it already. It’s happening

        Also, where the hell do you guys keep pulling 5 mil from? Do you have any idea how many other guys on the team are making more than that? Andre Roberts will cost 5 mil next year if we keep him. You really think Cousins and Andre Roberts deserve to be paid the same? You just obviously have no idea what you’re talking about and you’re blasting it to everyone.

  2. sidepull - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    I will tell you who he reminds me of in a way and that is Matt Flynn. Only in regard to the historic performances and possible big payday forthcoming. Matt Flynn had a historic performance in Packer history, much like Cousins huge performance here in D.C.. Due to that performance he parlayed that into $26 million with the Seahawks. Wilson beat him out and he only saw a part of that contract, about $14 million before he was traded to Oakland, then Bills and back to where it started, GB. I think Flynn’s ascent was due to one historic game, where as Cousins is due to some historic moments, better stats but not against winning teams. I think Cousins has more upside, I think it was great to watch them make it to the playoffs, but for some reason I am not sold yet. He is going to be signed here, they wont let him walk. He will then be under pressure,a big payday, and time to deliver in a 2016 season that has a schedule full of stiffer competition. The whole issue for me with Cousins at QB is that they are not beating teams with a winning record. That’s the crux of it for me. If he can have a good off season, and help lead this team to victories over teams with winning records, then I think he will be able to justify the confidence and payday. I am not sold. I want to be, but until they start beating winning teams under his leadership at QB, well I for one, maybe they only on the fence with this one. I really enjoyed watching him play this season, I hope for the best but am reserved in going “all in”. I guess I am glad its not my money the Redskins are playing with! Still gonna root, and back the kid but they needs to start beating winners to become a winner.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:31 AM

      So you’re comparing a one-day performance to one that covered 16 games? Seriously?

      • sidepull - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:40 AM

        I guess you could say I was comparing if you like, but really I was just saying he reminded me of Flynn. The record breaking, games, stats etc. that got people all excited about the possibilities and how Flynn went on to bag a load of cash based on that. Cousins has a lot of people excited about the possibilities as well. If you want to call that a comparison based on one game I guess it qualifies but really I was just implying that a lot of folks got excited based on their unique performances. . I didn’t compare stats. I said he reminded me. Flynn flamed out and has now landed where he will probably be for the rest of his career, a backup. To me, right now, I can see Cousins having a career starting QB or, he can go the other way as well, a career back up. I don’t think anybody knows that and that is what makes it fun to discuss.

        • pookienjookie - Jan 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

          If it’s any consolation, you know Cousins was projected as a 2nd round pick, beat out Nick Foles at Michigan State, and was said to have a tougher road than Connor Cook did at his time at Michigan St., due to a lack of offensive weapons. Not to mention what Rich said earlier, these QB’s had excellent running games, Mike McCarthy and Bill Belicheck, as well as Foles who had Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson, Jason Peters, Lesean McCoy etc…

        • John - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:11 PM

          Flynn had 1 big game (when the Packers were rolling towards the Super Bowl)and sucked in all the rest (the year Rogers had the broken collar bone) and that was with a full complement of weapons and a good defense. There is no comparison.

          In Cousins case, the running game was not good, except for 3 games, he lacked Jackson for much of the season and the defense was MIA for much of the season and yet he had the highest completion percentage in the league, threw 29 TDs and broke several team records. Not to mention NFC Player of the Month for December and NFC player of the week, 2 other times.

          No comparison there.

      • jvdrock - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:59 AM

        Washington couldn’t beat teams with winning records because they are not as good of a team as those. Defense can’t hold those offenses down, they were dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage in those games. The best defense for Washington this season were the long sustained drives Cousins led. The running game also struggled. I feel Morris was effective his rookie year because of the pistol, all eyes were on Griffin. That wasn’t sustainable because defenses around the league figured it out. He’s a lumbering back and too slow. This team has a lot of holes to fill, part of the blame could go to Snyder mortgaging the ranch for Griffin. They also need help at corner. So to lay the blame on Cousins for not beating good teams is ludicrous. He’s made a very mediocre team a playoff team.

        • hail74 - Jan 18, 2016 at 12:05 PM

          Well said

        • jay - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:12 PM

          For u to place him on a pedestal is also ludicrous..

        • lump - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:47 PM

          Qb,get the blame and the praise

        • mozart6023 - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:18 PM

          So Kirk gets credit for leading us to 9 wins against teams with losing records but when nearly every team with a winning record that he started against beat us by 14+ then that’s on the defense, offensive and defensive lines, and the running game. Yeah that makes sense. SMH.

        • rcjur - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:03 PM

          Redskins about to make the biggest financial flop ever. Cousins had a good second have due to Jackson returning to lineup, to open up things for offense. Cousins lacks tough confidence and will only fold next season with tougher opponents. Redskins will just have to learn the hard way starting in 2016.

        • Stephon - Jan 19, 2016 at 8:47 AM

          People didn’t “figure it out” man. See just told me that you don’t know football. The Redskins change their entire offense the second year. They stopped running the pistol an option offense altogether yet Alfred Morris still did well in it. Griffin struggle through but it was because it was a different system.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:23 AM

          Wow, first comment here and you’re throwing out “you don’t know football”? How about just making your point and prove that you know something about it without throwing out nonsense. I’ve got an itchy ban button finger lately.

        • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:07 PM

          “About to make the biggest financial flop ever”……. HA HAHAHAHAHA A HAHAHAHAHH. You already forgot about Griffin??

          Dang, so many commenters here have no clue. Comparing apples to oranges. Cassel? Flynn?!

          Cousins is a good bet to be our franchise QB because of who he is as a person. Every level of his career, he has been the underdog. Every level. And every level he has proved the doubters wrong. Why? Because of his smarts and his intense work ethic. And lets not forget that even THIS past year, he didn’t get the 1st team reps during the offseason. He learner what he learned running the 2nd team. And he shows steady improvement along the way. Every game he gets better. Every game he learns.

          The Skins SHOULD give him a good contract because if they franchise tag him this year, he’s going to BLOW UP. And then we’re REALLY gonna need to pay him.

        • rcjur - Jan 19, 2016 at 4:32 PM

          Cousins is not a franchise qb. When he regresses next season due to a legit schedule you will be crying in the corner! Guy just doesn’t have it, which means qb statue and competitive toughness. What he had was Reed and Jackson and a guy name Crowder. That dunk and dunk crap won’t work next season.

        • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:01 PM

          When did the defenses figure the Griffin attack out? They did not. Washington changed the whole offense themselves. Griffin went undefeated and was up 14 to nothing in the wildcard game. The next year, they changed the offense. They did not figure it out. Not to say they would not have during the next year at some point. But, THEY DID NOT FIGURE IT OUT!!!!! People see something written or heard and they just keep repeating it without even thinking further.

      • jay - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:07 PM

        Rich, r u ever gonna be a true sports reporter and report the facts, nothing against cousins but who did he perform against and who did he beat?? The real truth is fools gold, Jay Gruden, his coaches, his scheme, all fools gold. The games were managed very well by Kurt Cousin but truth be told, u know that he is no starting QB. Gruden is a very good liar and a decent OC for about 16 minutes of a game but that’s it. Be a real reporter and report the facts not the sensation….

        • Djohnson - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:44 PM


        • babyteal1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:43 PM

          Jay if you don’t even know how to spell Kirks name you shouldn’t be allowed to comment on this web page. By the way, your an idiot.

        • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:24 AM

          Your just bitter that RG3 is out. Get over it. If you suck one year, you play the other teams that sucked, the next year. Its parity scheduling, a way for the NFL to try to get as many teams as possible towards an 8-8 record at the end of the year so more teams will be in the hunt until the very end, keeping fans glued to their TVs, generating that TV revenue from the networks.

        • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:12 PM

          you’re all butt-hurt from Griffin being the biggest bust in NFL history.

          Don’t you worry. You’ll be eating your words after next season.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:35 AM

      Did you look at the Panthers schedule the week prior to us playing them? They had not played one team better than .500. There were a historic number of teams below .500 this year. I am not buying the, “we were only good because we played poor teams bit”. Check the schedules of all of the great teams by week 12 and it is pretty easy to see that very few won against teams better than .500, because there weren’t any.

      Our defense was horrible against the run. Our front line was horrible for run blocking. Considering we had zero run threat, I would say cousins held his own. Not saying he is our savior, Just saying we have huge hokes to fill everywhere but QB.

      Great year for us. Now we need to build like real teams do. Without the owner involved in personnel decisions…

      • lump - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:50 PM

        Panthers was 15/1,redskins 9/7,that just first panthers not playing teams over 500

    • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:43 AM

      So Cassel was responsible for the 11-5 record? Archie Manning was a fantastic QB that never played on a winning team. Wins and losses are results of the sum of the parts. Sure, you can watch Aaron Rodgers put his team on his back and will a win but those games are the exceptions not the rule – and even those games require guys catching the ball. This QB record garbage is exactly that – garbage. Football is a 53-man sport. You don’t have to be convinced that Cousins IS THE GUY, but you should have something better than THE TEAM in limited opportunity couldn’t beat teams with winning records.

      • sidepull - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:22 AM

        I wouldn’t say that the QB record is garbage. There is a reason those guys get paid the big bucks. Sure its nice to have a great team, but the Bradys, Rodgers, Mannings etc. are required/expected to put their teams on their backs at times. That goes with the territory. Sure you can have a fantastic defense ala the Ravens and let a Dilfer manage the game I guess. Whatever it takes to get a Lombardi. I understand what you are saying but I still am not as convinced as you are screaming he is the guy I hope he is. .

        • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:39 AM

          The guys you mentioned didn’t have to do it right away. They grew into the position. The first year Brady was a full-time starter the team went 9-7 (the year after the team won the super bowl with his 189 yards passing per game.) I’m not saying HE IS THE GUY. I’m saying that there is more evidence that he could be than he can’t. Those that say he isn’t the guy or can’t be the guy trot out historical examples of failures that may or may not compare (Flynn for example) or stats that apply to more than the position. One season isn’t enough to make a definitive call either way but there are other factors that can point toward or away from success. Maybe he’ll be a Matt Schaub. A guy that showed promise in Atlanta and then seemed to reach it in Houston for a few seasons before he lost it completely. Schaub had less of a track record with promise in Atlanta than Cousins but more than Flynn and then had to succeed with another organization in another system. Cousins doesn’t have to do that. He can pick up where he left off in the same system, get an entire off-season to mold the offense around his strengths, and then play with the same players as he did last year unless the Front Office shakes things up. Those are all factors that would foster success rather than failure.

    • Jay - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:39 AM

      We can only play who they schedule us to play. We will get plenty of winning teams to play next year.

      • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:13 PM

        and you’ll be proved wrong then…

      • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:24 PM

        That’s right. The difference was Brady won playoff games and the Super Bowl his first year. If Cousins had been able to do that then maybe he could be like a Brady. But, the actual facts speak otherwise. By winning big games against the best teams Brady showed that he was special. Kirk showed that he is no Brady. Kirk does well what he does well. But, please, 8 games and you people are talking Brady already. That is just dumb. Brady won the Superbowl his first year even though he was not a starter that year. Kirk Cousins had his first year to come in as a non starter and he did not perform well at all. Brady did not require a full off season of 1st team reps to win after he came in. All the excuses people make for kirk. Brady was a winner, he was always a winner, has always won the big games. That is Brady’s essence. Kirk is Kirk. He did not even win a very winnable wildcard game. So stop with this nonsense. Brady’s salary did not jump very much even after he WON THE SUPERBOWL. SO PEOPLE PLEASE STOP WITH THE KIRK COUSINS BRADY COMPARISONS!!! kirk has not proven he is worth a big contract. If you want to be smart like the patriots organization then show KC the Brady deals and what Brady has accomplished compared to kirk and tell him to sit down and shut up and be grateful for this opportunity. “You like that?!”

    • mozart6023 - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:44 PM

      Rich. I respect your knowledge and love of the team but we have to realize that passing stats today are so inflated that they are almost useless. Other than Kirk’s Completion Percentage his numbers weren’t all that impressive considering the era we’re in. I know he broke Jay Schroeder’s Passing Yardage Record but if anyone thinks throwing for 4000 yds in today’s game even remotely compares to 4000 in ’86 they need their head examined. I only bring it up because you frequently hear it touted as Kirk’s record setting campaign. It’s almost a farce. It’s not Cousins’ fault though.

      When he eventually retires, Matt Stafford’s numbers (at least from a yardage standpoint) will end up blowing away guys like Fouts who was arguably one of the greatest of all time. If you look at Joe Montana’s greatest statistical year in ’89 it looks eerily similar to Cousins’ this year. Joe was MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and Super Bowl MVP with a stat line that looks like Cousins’ this year. LOL. It’s laughable what the NFL has done to devalue the passers of yesteryear. I guess on the flipside running back records are almost guaranteed to stand with the widespread use of multiple back sets.

      • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:13 PM

        They haven’t changed that much in the period of time being examined here. In 2008, Cassel’s season, the league completion percentage was 61.9. Last year it was 63.0. So it’s “inflated” all of 1.8 percent. It’s not like I’m comparing Cousins to Johnny Unitas or even Gus Frerotte.

      • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:17 AM

        In regards to Cousins numbers, breaking Jay Schreoders yardage record, Cousins ended with roughly 4,100 yards for the season. The top passers this year had 4,800.

        The all time single season record is held by Dan Marino back in 1984 at 5,084. The Dolphins back then had the Marks Brothers (Duper & Clayton) at receiver, no running game and no defense.

        In regards to Foutz and the Chargers he had Kellen Winslow (greatest tight end ever), John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler and James Books to throw to and they threw it a lot under Don Coryell. They never won anything.

        In regards to Joe Montana and the 49ers, while everyone sees him as all that from the come from behind wins, keep in mind those teams had much better talent than the Skins today, they had a strong defense at all levels and a complete offense. Consider these names on offense: Roger Craig, Brent Jones, Tom Rathman, Randy Cross, Bubba Paris, Russ Francis, Freddie Solomon, Jerry Rice, Ricky Waters, William Floyd, Michael Carter, Fred Dean, Charles Haley, Chris Coleman, Keen a Turner, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Tim McKyer, Neon Deon, John Taylor, Dwight… the one that made “the catch”. The list has to many to remember but those teams were complete teams so Montana was always in the game and had strong players around him. Hence he never had to throw for 4,000 yards or carry the team.

        Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have thrown for so many yards over the years because of the design of the offense and the personnel. Neither have had strong running games during the course of their careers, but the years they won Super Bowls, there was just enough balance.

        So my question is what’s your point?

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:35 AM

          Bro, Dan Marino’s record was broke in 2011. There’s 5 other guys ahead of that record now. Look stuff up before you assume you know.

        • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 12:59 PM

          To Trey,

          The current record is 5,477 held by Peyton Manning. The record is just shy of 400 more than Marino’s and it took nearly 30 years and a lot of offensive friendly rule changes to get there.

          Even so 4,100 by Kirk when the top guy this year is around 4,800 is not shabby.

          Question, did any of those record setting qbs win Super Bowls when they threw for call those yards? No!

  3. goback2rfk - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    The question with Cousins is not if he can play well or keep it up. It is can Cousins win the big games? Can Cousins win the playoff games? Can Cousins beat a team with a winning record? And Ultimately can Cousins win a superbowl.? Right now I am going to say no. Cousins reminds me of Andy Dalton. Real good QB but may not be able to take it to that next level. Cousins has a lot more to show before he can be crowned a dependable winner.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:27 AM

      Actually, that’s not the question, or it’s only part of it. Can the Redskins as a team beat teams with winning records? Can the Redskins as a team win the playoff game? Many (most?) of the other 21 positions on the field need to be upgraded before it’s reasonable to pin wins and losses at the feet of the QB.

      • jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:44 PM

        It’s amazing how, just this yr all of u sensationalizers, not reporters have gone back to using the word team and team effort. Do u mean to tell me that its not all on the QB??? If u really believe what u r reporting then let’s get the facts out there about Jay Gruden….Two yrs as a mediocre at best OC does not make a HC, it makes him a mediocre OC who got his job because he knew someone…

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:51 PM

          Why do you come here if I’m just a “sensationalizer”?

        • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:20 PM

          Gruden isn’t the best HC in the league, but no one ever claimed he was. He’s a 2 year HC who is still learning. He recognizes that. He handled his 2nd year much better than his first year and I expect more improvement down the road. For now, the Skins need continuity. They just won their division for crying out loud. It takes time to build a great team. The Skins have work to do and they know that.

          But as far as this year goes, they did MUCH better than I was expecting. And if this year was a dissappointment to you, you should find a new team to route for.

      • jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:52 PM

        So now its the team and not just the QB, interesting Rich and will it go back to being about the QB and not the team when Jay Gruden’s really weak execution of the west coast offense rears its ugly head and Kurt Cousin the turnover machine ‘re-appears, will it Richie?????

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:14 PM

          You can cut with the “Richie” right now or get the quickest ban in Real Redskins history.

          Edit: In fact, I’m not going to wait for the next shot. You are obviously only here to instigate. Banned, bye.

      • jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:59 PM

        Just to remind u of ur true talent. Ur not a real sports reporter, u’ve never played a real sport n ur life that’s why u do what u do. The more sensational the greater the attention the longer the run. What could u possibly know about something that u have never done?? Just the facts Rich, just the facts…

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM

          Jay, stop. You’re being absurd. You can’t even spell the QB’s name that you’re talking about right. It’s Kirk, not Kirt. That’s kind of a hint that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t have to have played football to understand it. Some of the best coaches and analysts in history never played. I don’t think Bill Bellichick ever played, he understands the game just fine. There’s also plenty of guys who played football that really don’t understand how to analyze it from the broad view.

          Football is a team sport. The QB may be the most valuable position, but he can’t literally win all on his own. I don’t know if you’re drunk or what, but just stop.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:13 PM

          OK, so every reporter has to have done the job he or she is reporting on? So only ex-Presidents can comment on how Obama is doing? Only ex-actors can report on Hollywood? That’s dumb and you know it.

          If you don’t like my perspective, don’t read. It’s pretty simple.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:24 PM

          “What could u possibly know about something that u have never done??”

          Stated like a true 10 year old!

          In a 2014 report only 19 percent of NFL coaches have experience playing in league. College coaches like Charlie Weis, Mike Leach, and David Cutcliffe to name a few never even played college football. As for sports journalist/reporters that’s just even sillier question but have you ever heard of a guy named Howard Cosell? Guest what sports he lettered in?

          To be a good sports reporter you don’t need to play sports you dope! You just need to know how to be a good reporter. Btw – what blog do you write that I can come on and comment on to further demonstrate how big of a fool you really are?

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:27 PM

          bill belichick played at a very small college. I’m not even sure if it was evan a division III school

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:54 PM

          @Redskinsname: Thanks. I knew his dad was coach at Navy but I didn’t know that.

          @Jay pee: you’ve never been a sports reporter. I don’t even have to ask, I can just tell by your writing style and grammar. So, by your own logic, you can’t possibly know anything about sports reporting and you’re not qualified to analyze sports reporters. So stop.

        • brucefan1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:10 PM

          “bill belichick played at a very small college. I’m not even sure if it was evan a division III school”

          HEY NOW!

          Bill B. played his college football right up old Route 66 from me, at good old Wesleyan U!!

          While they are much more well-known for their outstanding academics (a member of the “Little Ivies” — which JUST so happens to include my older son’s alma mater,Tufts U! Hehe), they have a rich athletic history also … dating all the way back to the time when schools like Yale & Harvard were football powerhouses. (You hadda know their heyday’s must have been pretty far back, right?!)

          I just swiped these interesting tidbits offa Wikipedia (which I imagine they won’t mind, seeing how I made my annual contribution to them!);

          “Wesleyan is a member of the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), fields intercollegiate varsity teams in 29 sports, and competes against traditional Little Three rivals Amherst and Williams. Wesleyan is one of the 39 founding members of the NCAA. Wesleyan’s football field, Andrus Field, is the oldest college football field in the nation.”

          And now they have one of the greatest football coaches of all time as an alum. Not too shabby!

          (And BTW, Andrus is a very cool field — surrounded by academic buildings, with banner-bedecked dorms looming over one endzone on gameday! Classic N.E.S.C.!)

          History lesson OVER — and out.

      • Matt - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM

        That didn’t seem to be the case when Griffin was starting. It was always his fault, no talk of the team as a whole needs to be better. And by the way the team this past season had way more talent than it ever did when RG3 was playing.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:08 PM

          Don’t know. I can only speak for myself. QB wins and losses are not really a stat. You’ll have to talk to the people that blamed RG3 (and credited him with wins) about all of that. I didn’t engage in such talk.

        • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:19 PM

          RG3 was constantly defended in 2013 and 2014 about the state of the defense and the o-line. Not just by his fans but guys in the national media. Only after years of the same situation under different coaches did some critical minds dig deeper than the surface. Ron Jawarski pointed out at the end of the 2012 season how the read-option and the one-read passing system helped Griffin have a phenomenal rookie season as he ranked Griffin 20th out of the 32 starting QBs. I poo-poohed it as typical Eagle jealousy/hate. He was right. After the injury he couldn’t run the read-option the same and the play action off the read-option look was no longer producing 20-yard strikes to Pierre Garcon as defenses were taking it away.

        • timwillhide - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:00 PM

          Bang that’s a straight up lie. I remember breaking out individual Oline stats and you among others said I made them up and refused to even look at the links I provided.

          You write that people defended him in 2013 and 2014 but after a comment pleyears and a couple coaches they looked deeper.
          How the hell did that happened when there were only those 2 seasons before this one?

          The facts are the guy played injured behind a bad online and got a raw deal over it. Then the coach put him behind an Oline with a guy hecut a day later without doing anything to protect himjust straight drop backs to get him hurt.

        • weneedlinemen42 - Jan 19, 2016 at 11:03 AM

          It always seemed to me that Griffin got a raw deal from the media and were prepared to turn a blind eye to some of Cousins failings.

          I don’t think there was a racial element to it, as the bias affected all the beat reporters, regardless of their ethnicity.

          To me it was just that after the first half of his rookie season was treated less as a player, more as a storyline. After 2012 he became synonymous with broken dreams and disappointment that such a promising and hype filled rookie season had turned into a nightmare of injuries, controversy and poor performance.

          Every failing earned massive press attention. Any positives tended to get lost in the gloom. It affected the beat guys, it affected the fans.

        • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:53 PM

          Cousins did his part to win games this season. Something Griffin hadn’t done since 2012. It’s not all on Cousins or all on Griffin. But each player showed how they can contribute to the team’s play. And to be a leader. Griffin was an incredible athlete. But not much of a QB.

          Hopefully Griffin has learned from his experience here. But judging from the ‘poem’ he left in his locker, it doesn’t look like he learned much at all. We’ll see next year when he’s somewhere else. IF he’s somewhere else. He’s a cancer on a team. At least he learned to keep his mouth shut this year.

          But we’ll see.

    • Jay - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:49 AM

      What exactly is the alternative? Pick up another McNabb? Give away our next 3 draft picks and draft the best rookie we can find?
      Capn Kirk will do fine. We won 3 Super Bowls with Doug Williams, Mark Rypien and Joe Theisman. Theisman is the guy that most reminds me of Cousins. Not big, quick, fiery, runs a little, Give Scottie 2 more drafts and then figure out whether Cousins can win a Super Bowl. Right now I’d be happy with a conference final.

      • jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:03 PM

        I don’t think u r wrong, we can b a good team, very good team and even win a superbowl with Cousins but not with Gruden. As long as he is coach this team will never reach its potential..

        • rcjur - Jan 19, 2016 at 4:34 PM

          Now…..that is funny! When a SuperBowl with Cousins. You actually believe that crap!

      • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:56 PM

        You don’t need a great quarterback, you need a competent one with talent around him a solid running game and solid defense for all around balance. This year it was on Kirks shoulders without a running game or much in the way of defense.

      • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:34 PM

        This is a different league than when Theisman won. Players have 24 hour anytime anywhere access to film and game study. They can figure you out and your tenancies quite easily. And then shut the impostors down. This year is not going to be pretty. The film of how to shut kirk down is out there now. I think everybody reading this comment already know how to do it. Pressure is his kryptonite

    • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:01 PM

      AD stepped up quite a bit this year by scrambling and making plays with his feet this year. He had the Bengals rolling until he broke his hand/wrist.

  4. key2heat - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:46 AM

    Hey Redskins fans, If you have to ask yourselves “Can Cousins beat a winning team’, that is your answer to a long term, big money contract. Redskins backed into 9-7. Skins should have lost to the Bears. The kicker missed a last second field goal, chip shot. The Historic come back game was against the Bucs. I could go on and on. And were you bling to the second half against the Packers. Cousin could throw a decent ball to anybody.

    • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:52 AM

      Don’t let REALITY speak for itself. Live in the world of ‘should’ve’ and could’ve.’ That’s fair to all. Pierre Garcon should’ve caught that ball in the pre-season and Trent Williams should’ve played against Detroit. Heck, Griffin should’ve been benched against Seattle with score 14-0, then the world would be a better place.

    • matt - Jan 19, 2016 at 5:21 PM

      The field goal that the bears missed would have only tied the game so u can’t say the bears would have won or not. The redskins could have beatin the falcons and probably should have. They definitely should have beaten the dolphins and the cowboys on the Monday night game. So they could have easily been 12-4 instead of 9-7

  5. troylok - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    I think how Cousins performs in 2016 is largely up to Cousins. I have heard nothing that makes me believe he is going to relax and stop working. If anything, I think the team – and Cousins in particular – are hungry and will work harder this off-season. Another big difference between Cousins and those other QB’s is he has steadily improved over a period of time, which shows he has been working all along to get better – and the hope is he will continue to do so.

    One last thing to point out is all of those other guys ended up going to other teams, other offensive schemes than the ones they thrived in. Cousins is staying in the same scheme. There is something to be said for stability.

    • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:23 AM

      Excellent post.

      It should also be noted that Cousins isn’t running a one-read offense but actually has to go through his progressions, the o-line actually gives Cousins enough time to do this more often then not, that when the team is in 3rd and long that they actually have a chance to convert – all while being for the most part of the season one-dimensional.

    • rhinochaserdesign - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:20 PM

      I agree. If you know Cousins history, you know how he is. He has always been an underdog, at every level of play. And he still is. But man, he has an incredible work ethic. He has his days planned down to every 15 minutes. And he learns from the right players.

      Cousins had an opportunity to ask Brady “when it all started clicking”. And Brady said “It’s still clicking”. Meaning he is still working hard and LEARNING. And Cousins is going to be the same way. Because he’s been that way all his life. And THAT is why I have so much optimism with Kirk.

      It’s not like the previous guy who was telling Superbowl winning coaches how to do it. Because that guy already knows everything there is to learn.

  6. warpath1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    There is a big difference between going into the offseason knowing that regardless if he was the better qb, he would not get first team reps and likely not to play at all after the preseason, and going in with a new contract, and knowing that he is the starting qb. I believe that not only will he better, but he will be suprisingly better. This offseason he will become the vocal leader of the offense, and others will elevate their preparation and expectations to match his. HTTR

    • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:43 PM

      That is another lie you people keep telling. Tom Brady came in as a first time backup and went on to win the big games and even the Super Bowl that very year. That alone, showed that Tom Brady deserved to be respected. Will you people stop with this 8 game nonsense. Just say, I don’t know how Kirk is going to fare in future years. We need to stay tuned to find out. You are setting him up for failure. PLEASE STOP WITH THIS NONSENSE THERE JUST HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH PLAY AGAINST BETTER TEAMS WHERE HE HAS WON. Brady did have that his very first year. The only test is how well does one do against the best teams. Why, because the goal is to win the Super Bowl, not just beat teams that don’t know how to crank up their defense for the best match ups.

      • Trey Gregory - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:54 PM

        If you actually watched football back then, you would know Tom Brady wasn’t very good that year. He wasn’t great when he first started. He came off the bench a couple times before he started and was downright awful. He certainly wasn’t breaking any records.

        But when he was winning and even after he won the Super Bowl so, so many people said he wasn’t any good and he only won because they had one of the best defenses in the league, and Randy Moss. Do you see that kind of talent around Cousins? It took a good couple years for Brady as a starter before he started playing better and got the respect he has today. It wasn’t immediate.

  7. Jay - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Not to be tedious, but wouldn’t that be “tougher row to hoe?” Sort of like water over the bridge? Or under the dam, which is a real problem.

  8. kokomike - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    I would like to see Cousins for one full year before committing long term. That includes OTAs and training camp, which he didn’t have last year as a starter.

    My concerns about Cousins are multiple. He doesn’t hold up that well under pressure. Most of his real success came with little pressure. I can see more teams coming after him in 2016. Except for the Tampa Bay you like that moment, he hasn’t shown much in comeback situations. He doesn’t have a strong arm. More of a short pass guy. He has always put up good stats in situations in which teams lay back. He reminds me of a smaller Jason Campbell.

    As I said, I would pay him now. Give him good money for 2016, with some options for team and him for beyond. If he is great in 2016, give him the bank.

    • Chachi - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:03 PM

      He led a comeback drive in the first eagles game. Then the next week led a comeback drive against the Falcons to send the game to overtime.. And you already mentioned the Tampa bay game. That’s 3 right there in his first year as a starter

      • Thetruthis - Jan 23, 2016 at 3:55 PM

        The eagles imploded-had nothing to do with Cousins, The Tampa Bay game the refs did not call one single non required penalty on the skins. Not one. They kept calling every penalty in the book on the bucs that kept pushing then back and even taking points off the books. They also kept giving the Skins first downs and extra yardage until they scored enough points to make the now infamous come back. They called over 150 yards of penalties on the bucks. On the skins they only called required penalties like delay of game. Considering the small margin of victory, we can safely say that the skins would have lost that game too without the aid of the officials calls. Check it out for yourselves if you think I am lying. Since when has the redskins or any team for that matter gone an entire game without a motion penalty? Gruden should have been fired that week.

    • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:51 PM

      Yeah, those bombs to Desean were just 5 yards and Desean ran all the rest of the way. He also threw that short one to Garcon against Dallas in the last game of the season. Really?

      He’s got plenty of arm. The west coast by design is set up to support a weak running game with short throws. When they leaned in him, he cranked it up. He wants the pressure. Remember the discussion with McVey when he was miced up against Buffalo.

      • Trey Gregory - Jan 24, 2016 at 2:31 AM

        The West a coast offense actually was designed to help mask a QB with a weak arm. At least from what I think a lot of people consider the West a last offense today, which was a creation of Bill Walsh when he was an assistant in Cinci and Virgil Carter was his QB. Carter had a weak arm.

        It’s confusing because the Bengals didn’t have a strong run game, so they had to rely on the pass. That’s why people think it was created to help a weak run game. But if Carter had a cannon, and a better football IQ, Walsh would have just used a meow traditional offense.

        The West Coast offense was made to help QBs with weak arms and who weren’t great at reading the field by spreading the offense (thus the defense) then making a lot of timed/short throws. The QB didn’t have to read the coverage. He knew where the receiver would be and threw the ball to that spot before the receiver was even open.

        It has obviously changed over time, and even some QBs with big arms use it because their coordinator or head coach prefers it. With Gruden, he likes the system. It has nothing to do with Cousins’ ability or the run game.

        It’s been really frustrating to see people dog in Gruden and Cousins all season saying stuff like, “this dink and dunk stuff won’t work,” as if it’s some gimmick they’re employing because they can’t do any better. Those people just have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s the system, a proven system, and Cousins does a great job executing it. Brady does the same damn thing (albeit better and a different blend).

        You guys are also correct that Cousins can air it out when he needs to. It doesn’t take a brilliant analysts to know that, just watch the damn games! He did it just about every game.

        Like I said, people who don’t understand what they’re watching think he’s throwing these short passes because he can’t do anything else. They don’t realize that’s exactly what we want to do. This isn’t Baylor or Oregon. We’re trying to sustain drives, control the time of possession, and score. Not to mention you can’t just air it out for 80 yards every play in the NFL. If you can mix in a decent game and a few bombs here and there with it, the West coast can be pretty lethal. And say what you want about Geuden as a HC, but the man has a good offensive mind. Once he started trusting Cousins more (or was forced to late in the game and stopped being so timid with the play calls) he would open up the full playbook and some of those plays were beautiful. Give Gruden and Cousins time to grow together and it could be something special.

  9. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 18, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    There are plenty of teams in the NFL that have no current hope of filling the QB position with someone who might be The Guy.

    And a couple entering the draft hoping one of the college players will turn out, with even lower odds of that happening.

    You have to sign Cousins unless you have something better. We don’t.

  10. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    Keeping it up is not the concern as much as can he get better?

    Let’s looks at where the situations was for Cousins in the beginning of the season. Cousins had turnover numbers at notoriously historic levels. He managed to make huge strides in correcting this issue in the second half of the season. Now some of that may be credited to a more conservative short passing scheme. However, you can’t deny credit to Cousins for improving in this category. He also seems to have matured as a player and I like his open display of passion over his past open displays of despair. Also in the second half of the season I noticed an increase in his propensity to throw in tight windows and most noticeably to Reed. He was regarded as a player who never lead a comeback but proved he could with a comeback win against Tampa Bay. He was regarded as a player who never lead a final winning drive but proved he could against Philadelphia Eagles. Cousins has overcome obstacles and doubt. Overall Cousins still comes with many questions and his numbers of passing yards are due to IMO an inflated number of passing attempts. His QBR is IMO someway inflated by this short west coast passing attack. However, his ability to show improvement and more importantly in the latter half of the season should give any fan some confidence he can get better. My biggest concern is this could be as good as Cousin will get in the NFL. Right now I don’t think he is anything but middle of the road among NFL QBs right now. However, Cousins has done enough this season to earn a long term contract and to earn some confidence from coaches and fans that he can improve enough to grow into a franchise Quarterback here.

    • Trey Gregory - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:22 PM

      I agree with just about everything you said. Good point about him starting to throw into tighter Windows. I noticed that too, it was an obvious sign of his growing confidence, and I think that confidence is what led to his surge.

      But say Cousins is close to his ceiling, like you’re worried about. This could be about as good as he’s going to get. I hope not, and I believe he will improve more, but would it be the worst thing if he doesn’t? With one caveat: he plays the same but more consistent. As in, in a playoff game he doesn’t inexplicably miss throws that he was nailing for the previous 6 weeks. A little more experience should lead to the edges getting smoothed out.

      If that happens, then we probably overpaid him. But we will have an Alex Smith type to steady the team through a rebuild and allow us to take our time drafting the right guy for the future, then allow him to develop, and only play him when he’s actually ready (think what the Jets are doing with Fitz and Brice Petty). Then hopefully have a decade of great QB play. It’s a little wishful, but at his worst, that’s what Cousins represents to me. At worst he will bring an average but steady hand to the position and allow us to build the rest of the team without complete dysfunction and chaos.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:50 PM

        I think Cousins is at worst a competent QB in the NFL who is capable of some great games. The key IMO is building a consistent rushing attack around him. If Matt Jones is as good as I think Matt Jones can be and Thompson is as capable as I think Thompson can be then even a capable Cousins can be a long term solution here. A more potent rushing attack will help open more opportunities up for Cousins.

        I certainly think that would allow an scenario where the Redskins draft Christian Hackenberg and groom him for a couple of seasons as a backup. I’ve watched him play and read up on him. A five star recruit that struggled in college but Hackenberg has a lot of upside. He best in a pro style offense. Great off the play action, good size but can get mobile if need be, and a very strong arm. However, he is erratic and he can look downright awful at times. He is young and a raw talent. The thing I like most about him is that he throws really well on the run. So the kid has a lot of tools but he needs work. I think he’s worth an investment in the 2nd round and a steal at 3rd. He’d be a nice complement

        • babyteal1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:57 PM

          Sounds like a real winner…lets get him and let Kirk go immediately….geeez

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 5:38 PM

          I was discussing a backup QB for Cousins. What part of the below statement I included in the discussion eludes you?

          “…Cousins has done enough this season to earn a long term contract and to earn some confidence from coaches and fans that he can improve enough to grow into a franchise Quarterback here.”

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 19, 2016 at 12:29 AM

          @Redskinsname: I think you nailed it with that post. We’re basically on the same page here.

          The only thing I could add would be to the people who say that would be some sort of insult to Kirk or show the org doesn’t have faith in him. They would be wrong. The contract Cousins is about to get says everything about the confidence we have in him. But making sure there’s a decent backup, or a future plan, is just good business. It’s the reason Kirk was drafted in the first place. Dallas not doing this is why they only won 4 games this year and are scrambling to find a future QB right now knowing that Romo is almost done. What if Kirk plays amazing next year but then has a career ending injury in 2017? We need to be prepared for any scenario.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:52 AM

          Exactly Trey! There are many reason to continue going after talented QBs in the draft even if you have your long term solution at starter. No reason better than an Injury which is always a looming possibility. I would wager many here who are overprotective of Cousins were probably the same criticizing Shannahan when he draft 2 QBs in 2012 that included him. Yes, I recall being one of the few defending the choice in drafting two young promising QBs that year.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:37 PM

      Completely agree with you name. Let’s hope both Cousins AND the team grow moving forward. HTTR!

  11. colmac69 - Jan 18, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Man what a question/topic to start a Monday! ! Think this could end up having largest amount replies ever

    First off he getting paid the going rate either on long term deal or franchise tag…we can argue all day about the value and his worth but that’s just way it is….redskins don’t pay him someone else will

    I’m a fan of cousins and think he can be the guy for nxt few yrs……going into season my main concern was how he would respond to difficult situations…as we saw last yr it wasn’t gd and his body language told it’s own story….he had flashed potential in running the offense so, ints apart, there was stuff there that made u think he could b possible starter

    Lots fans/media/xperts had quite few questions he had to answer….as has been debated all season he answered them all I’m my opinion…..this idea about how he can’t bt teams with winning records is completely overblown….first of u can only bt teams in front of you…..secondly how can reasonable fans expect guy who had only started about 15 games to single handedly bt teams like carolina/new england who were clearly superior to the redskins in all aspects….

    Biggest question he has to answer is can he do it on a consistent basis….he appears to be a guy, when u watch interviews,who realises he still has long way to go….all accounts he does all gd things in correct way and is willing to put hard yrds in to continually improve….he got the backing of his teammates/coaching staff and most importantly the gm…

    U would like to think with a gd offseason…minicamps . camps etc as the main man and also another yr in same system that he would only get better….with improved (fingers crossed ) run game even better….

    Bottom line is the top brass think cousins is the guy…..that’s all that really matters….they believe they have got the answer to the biggest question at start of yr….do we have the guy to lead team forward…..u either believe the team is taking right way forward with cousins or making a big mistake with him

    Arguments on here and other media outlets will continue onto august/sept about how high/low cousins ceiling is….

    Redskins imo are in a good place for team to go forward…..they got qb/they got lots salary cap room/very gd offense potentially in place and gm who has track record of building winning teams who can challenge for superbowls….

    • brucefan1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:41 PM

      Sorry colmac…

      Last week’s “GRIFFIN” blog post generated about a 125 comments here … this week’s “Cousins” entry is at just over 60 (albeit, still early — and STILL counting).

      NOTHING gets out the clicks and the commenters more than an RG3 story! Everybody in the media knows THAT!! LOL

      • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM

        Thank goodness those stories are coming to an end!

      • colmac69 - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:54 PM

        127 so far Bruce! !!!!

  12. jonevans511 - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    I’m hesitant to compare Kirk to anyone, whether all-time greats or free agent busts. Fact of the matter is the scheme/personnel/organizational culture help or hinder a QB’s progress. It’s absolutely true that natural talent is one of the most important factors for a QB’s success, but plenty of players come in to this league with “elite” abilities and fizzle out in a matter of years. It’s not always the player’s fault alone.

    Would Brady have 4 rings and a storybook career if he was drafted by the Lions? If he had 5-9 different head coaches, another 10 offensive coordinators, an impatient owner who meddled in the day to day affairs, and little to no talent on the team, would he be this successful? Kirk deserves to show he can continue to thrive in Gruden/McVay’s system, and if he does it really doesn’t matter how talented he really is; he does his job very well and if the wins continue to pile on no one should care whether he’s getting paid top-10 QB money…..

    I think now that the Skins appear to be stable and headed in the right direction we should see continual improvement from Kirk (or at least not regression). He’s in a system he’s comfortable playing in, with offensive weapons to do a lot of the work (i.e. yards after the catch), and playing for a coach & GM he clearly respects. Because he’s still growing there will be bumps along the way, but why not pay the man a hefty sum with the expectation the return on investment far outweighs the alternative? Isn’t that what elite teams do, pay their homegrown talent what they’re owed and drafting well while refusing to overpay for free agents? To those of you who are not sold on Kirk, what is your recommendation? Draft a QB knowing how many holes we have to fill? Find one in free agency knowing Kirk is hands-down the best FA QB this year? Lowball Kirk in hopes he takes a hometown discount, but knowing he’s unlikely to do so considering this is a business? I’m convinced this is our best option and no one should be upset if we pay Kirk handsomely.

    • babyteal1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 4:04 PM

      Finally someone who gets it…thank you. So tried of listening to all these idiots.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:06 PM

      “to those of you who are not sold on Kirk, what is your recommendation?”

      While I’ve stated even before the season started that Kirk has the ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. I’m not sold he can be the Quarterback we need to become an elite team. Elite teams (i.e organizations) don’t sign top-10 QB money to players with one strong season under his belt Did Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers sign a top-10 QB contract after one strong season; did Big Ben or even Russell Wilson? The fact is that most of those Top-10 QB earners played many strong to great season before such a contract was offered

      So in fairness, Cousins doesn’t have the resume to match past big QB signings provided by Elite Organizations.

      Let’s look at the risk of signing such a Top-10 QB contract: Do you think organizations like San Francisco and Miami will receive the value they expected from Kap and Tannehill after each will receive 19 million dollars in 2016? How about 18 million coming up for Cutler or mid 17 million for Stafford?

      I’d expect any contract signing for Cousins will be cap friendly the first few years and back loaded for the remaining years. Maybe the first few years will come with large performance incentives. However, the organization should NOT play the fool by bankrolling on Cousins to the extent he puts the team in a cap jeopardy and winds up next season playing like Kap did this season. That’s want losing organizations do. That’s what fans here have seen for over two decades now. What some of you want to give Cousins sends us down the same risky path that was made in signing top dollar for overvalued free agents after having a decent season or two.

      • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:46 PM

        Cousins isn’t getting top-ten QB money unless the team franchises him. So the basic presupposition is wrong. If Cousins gets a contract with a cap hit for the 2016 season less than $17M that would put him 16th!. (Probably 17th and Luck is likely to have a long-tern contract.) I don’t think you or ken should have any problem with making Cousins the 16th highest paid QB in the league. Why would you? You’ve stated that he is “middle of the road among NFL QBs right now.” Let’s say that him being right in the middle is fair. He finished the season 7th in Football Outsider’s DYAR, 6th in their DVOA, and 6th in ESPN’s total QBR; but it was for just ONE SEASON. These FO stats factor in competition and the ESPN QBR factors in decision making. So right now he in the middle but clearly shows potential to be top-ten. Then you can factor in the age of the top guys and by the third year of Cousins contract he is likely to be top-ten by default if not by performance.

        The biggest factors that should be considered for Cousins is how did he do it (franchise breaking record season) and what factors will change? Cousins is likely to have the same offense, the same coaches, the same skill players, and the same o-line. He is not going to have the same schedule. But one of the biggest indicators is the QBR of opposing defenses. So let’s look at that stat for his 2015 opponents and his 2015 opponents. Coming soon.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:06 PM

          “If Cousins gets a contract with a cap hit for the 2016 season less than $17M that would put him 16th!.’

          Considering the difference between 16th and 10th is only 2.5 million and 16th and 1st being a difference of 5 million; that ranking is a bit deceiving. If you look at the 15 players you put ahead of him, probably 7 teams that signed those deals wish they could have some of that money back. Also every one of those other QBs have at least 2 full seasons played than Cousins. I get the idea of a market value but the organization does have some leverage on their side to work out a deal that is not under the 17 million dollar range for at least the first few seasons. I could even see a 17 million dollar deal in the early years if it is tied to performance incentives.

          “He finished the season 7th in Football Outsider’s DYAR, 6th in their DVOA, and 6th in ESPN’s total QBR; but it was for just ONE SEASON.”

          You answered a very valid question before I could. It was just one season. It was also a season where the running game was either not the focus of the offense or it just performed poorly in that area. So the offense was pass oriented for most the season. This is something Gruden has not been able to avoid since he was OC. However, Gruden is not the subject here but I feel his propensity to pass far more than most coaches does factor in with those results. If Cousins can repeat those numbers with more wins next season then you most likely won’t have be disagreeing playing him among the top-10 QBs.

          I like where you were going on the last statement. Stability is important here for Cousins to build off of and with the same coaches and system in place it should help him reach his potential.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:08 PM

          ” I get the idea of a market value but the organization does have some leverage on their side to work out a deal that is not under the 17 million dollar range for at least the first few seasons.”


          I get the idea of a market value but the organization does have some leverage on their side to work out a deal that UNDER the 17 million dollar range for at least the first few seasons.

        • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:27 PM

          Look I prefer we keep the conversation in the realm of facts as best we can. Sure the differences between 10th and middle of the road are “relatively” small but still quite significant considering what you can purchase for those amounts – especially when you consider the life of the contract not just the upcoming season. THE REDSKINS HAVEN’T MADE AN OFFER YET. So lets assume INSTEAD that the early years WILL be under $17M. Like I said, the starting point was wrong and therefore conclusions can be made erroneously if you’re starting from 10 instead of starting from zero. Cousins has had ONE GREAT year but even though it was great, it was one. So both of these facts will be weighed in negotiations. No fan wants the team to be on the wrong side of the Cousins deal. At the same time identifying the realm of reasonability is not impossible. I suspect the contract will average $17M/year perhaps a little higher each year the cap hit will grow with the cap and the guaranteed portion of the cap hit will decrease.

          What’s most important though is identifying the risk. I think the risk is relatively low compared to the other one-year wonders. I believe this primarily due to the consistency of who Cousins is working with as opposed to the usual new system with new personnel paradigm that we see with most who have great seasons in their contract years.

        • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:34 PM

          Rank QBR 2015 Opponent
          1 73.5 Carolina
          6 79.0 New York Jets
          7 80.1 Green Bay
          10 83.3 Buffalo
          12 86.9 Atlanta
          13 87.0 New England
          16 90.0 St. Louis
          18 92.8 Philadelphia (x2)
          20 94.2 Dallas (x2)
          21 95.9 New York Giants (x2)
          24 97.4 Miami
          26 99.3 Chicago
          31 102.5 Tampa
          32 116.2 New Orleans

          Rank QBR 2016 Opponent
          1 73.5 Carolina
          5 78.9 Cincinnati
          7 80.1 Green Bay
          8 80.9 Arizona
          15 90.0 Minnesota
          17 90.9 Pittsburgh
          18 92.8 Philadelphia (x2)
          20 94.2 Dallas (x2)
          21 95.9 New York Giants (x2)
          26 99.3 Chicago
          27 99.6 Baltimore
          28 100.9 Detroit
          30 101.8 Cleveland

          This is a similar schedule defensively. But most importantly is that Cousins had a higher QBR the opponents in the last nine games of the season including the playoffs. You can see here:

        • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:55 PM

          We can’t hold it against him for having less experience than Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger, Wilson, etc. Cousins didn’t get to start as a rookie and develope on the same path add those QBs. His value will have to be determined on one full season of starting. It’ll be a big decision for Scott McC to figure out what he’s worth based on that. I could see the franchise tag being useful because both sides would get another year to help determine value.

        • bangkokben - Jan 19, 2016 at 4:43 PM

          Cousins camp shouldn’t want that and neither should Gruden. He proved himself in a prove it year. Do it again because we have a fan base that isn’t sure? That’s the tail wagging the dog. But ONE YEAR is part of the equation. There is a balance between breaking the bank and putting the team at risk and striking a deal that pays Cousins top 12/top half QB money while allowing the team to keep it’s best talent and add more.

        • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 6:58 PM

          You’re right ben and I personally think they should sign him to a multi year deal. I just think the tag is a tool that could be useful here. If the two sides are far enough apart then it makes sense to give it one more year simply because of what name brought up, which is his short track record. The obvious thing to do, and what I think will happen, is offer a contact with early guaranteed money and opt-out clauses after year two/three. I’m also gonna predict we’ll see Cousins’ franchised at first and then signed before the deadline.

      • Trey Gregory - Jan 19, 2016 at 12:43 AM

        @Redskinsname: in reply to your post made at 6:06 pm.

        I think you usually make great posts with good insight. So I’m a little surprised by this one saying the Redskins shouldn’t give Cousins a big contract after one year and then said Brady and Rogers didn’t get big contracts after one year. That top 10 organizations don’t do that. I know you know the circumstances are different, so maybe I am confused about what you were saying, but here’s why I disagree in case that is what you were saying.

        Did Rogers’ and Brady’s first productive years come in the last year of their rookie contract? That’s the rub. McCloughan wouldn’t be backing up the Brink trucks to pay Cousins if he had another choice. We wouldn’t be paying him if he had more time on his current contract.

        But that’s where we are, and that’s the difference. Cousins played well enough that we basically HAVE to keep him around. It’s far more risky to let him walk than to sign him to a big deal. That’s the reality of the QB landscape in the NFL. There’s no guarantee, but it’s the least risky option.

        Tannehill, as you bright up, showed improvement every year he was in the league and had a great (or good depending on your definition) season right before he got paid. Then he fell off. Miami didn’t pay him prematurely. He proved himself. He improved every year and seemed to be on a good trajectory. He may still end up good, this could have just been a down year.

        Jay Cutler played well enough for years and had a great season before the Bears paid him. Then his play declined. Mark Sanchez even looked pretty good and went to two straight AFC Championships before he fell off. My point is that there is no sure thing. These elite guys are special circumstances. Good talent evaluators paid that other QBs because there weren’t any other options. I’m will to bet GB or NE would do the same if they were in McCloughan’s shoes. You can’t let potential talent like this walk; and he will walk if he doesn’t get paid market value.

        Russell Wilson won a SuperBowl with 2 years left in his rookie contract, so that’s not really the same thing. Kap went to the Super Bowl before his big contract. I think SF felt pretty good about that. But I also think his success was attached to the coach they fired (a cautionary tale for those wanting Gruden fired)

        I would say good organizations don’t let Drew Brees walk out of the building. They don’t let Kirt Warner or Steve Young leave. They recognize the talent using their trained eyes, not just wins and losses that are affected by the quality of the team the QB plays with. I think that’s the big risk in letting Cousins walk. We all need more time to see what he’s really made of. But the only way Washington gets that time is to pay him. I think it’s what any organization would do if they believed in him.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:14 AM

          I don’t disagree that the pending free agency gives Cousins tremendous leverage as well and I’m sure his agent will push for a market value similar to QBs with more starting experience. However, and I do realize I’m assuming here, Cousins has a great opportunity and many reasons for wanting to stay here. I think he fits the system the coaches have put in place. Cousins doesn’t seem like a money hungry individual and I think he’ll look at the opportunity here and the work he has done here as a big reason for staying put. I could be wrong and he ends signing a big contract with heavy guarantees that includes early years ranges of 17 to 20 million. However, I’ll be the first to argue its too much based on what has been shown on the field thus far.

        • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:43 PM

          Keep in mind that Kap and Wilson have for most of their time had better talent on their teams. Don’t even try to say this teams defense or running game was up to the level of Seattle or San Fran the last couple of years.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:02 AM

        I want Cousins to get a big contract but I just feel the organization is in a position to insure the early years are easier on the cap and heavy on incentives. There are two reasons I think there is leverage for such a structure.

        1) Many QBs that have huge salaries coming up next season are not going to earn it based on performance. This is based on this season’s performances but I can see at least seven that are more likely going to be way overpaid which will incur major cap hits for many teams. None more than Denver and SF IMO.

        2) Cousins displayed one good season. If you go down the list of the ones that are getting top dollar those QBs have played at least two or more seasons before earning those big contracts.

        I think a structure similar to Foles is ideal under the circumstances. It will be a bit more than that figure but I think in all fairness it shouldn’t be much different.

  13. Trey Gregory - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Dang Rich, you absolutely nailed this post. Best analysis on the subject I’ve seen yet. I couldn’t agree more.

  14. firesnyder - Jan 18, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Of course the Redskins should be confident that Cousins will be able to “keep it up”. The progress is tangible. Plot his completions versus attempts as well as interceptions on an Excel chart. That is mathematical proof the kid has grown leaps and bounds. HE.. IS.. STILL.. IMPROVING. Everyone is talking about beating good teams. Guess what? We aren’t there yet, but based on Cousin’s current trajectory, he will eventually be there. Remember, the current QB stars of today took anywhere from 3 to 5 years to be great. Patience.

  15. Shonndon - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    One year franchise tag, to see how he performs next year aginst these defenses: Carolina, Arizona Cardinals, bengals, vikings, steelers and packers…if he shines then he gets the long term deal…
    P.S. by then gruden will be @ the end of his 3rd year of a 5 year deal…then scott can make a better decision on both…

    • bangkokben - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:08 PM

      You presuppose that the GM cares what Gruden did or said before he got there. I doubt he giveGs it one bit of thought. He cares about winning games and building a team and if Gruden continues to do what he did this year, he will get an extension – not just finish out his contract.

    • Trey Gregory - Jan 19, 2016 at 12:48 AM

      @Shonndon: Your presumption is that Cousins will want to sign with Washington in 2017 if they franchise him and he plays well in 2016. He could take that as an insult and let another org pay him his big contract. It’s a huge risk to calculate him, and it will still cost us plenty.

      Why overpay for one year instead of paying market value locking him up for the long term? Treating him right? These contracts aren’t all guaranteed. They can structure it to make it so he still has to perform in the long run to really break our bank.

  16. kenlinkins - Jan 18, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    Trying to figure what a QB will do after his start full year starting in the NFL is much like trying to “know” what a two year old race horse will do after their first three starts. IMO you have to be a “horseman” (i.e. trainer) to have a real understanding of what you are looking at. Secretariat was 2-1-0 (1972) and Fair Royale was 3-0-0 (1987) after each had run in about the same class type races. Secretariat went on to be the greatest race horse ever (IMO) and Fair Royale ended up racing in $5K claiming races by the end of his 2nd year racing. Right now I am sure that the Redskins GM has placed both a top end & bottom floor on just where Cousins is in his development as a NFL Starting QB. He understands just how much was skill, his team mates, other teams talent levels and just plane old dumb luck. IMO most Redskins fans have over estimated Cousins development level after watching him in 2015. That is not to say that Cousins will bomb in 2016, the truth is that we fans just do not have the understanding of just what makes a great QB and to spot it. IMO it is a “sellers” market for QB’s and any QB showing a upward trend can cash in for extra dollars. It is the GM’s job to understand “return on investment” and the risk involved. That is why it would not shock me to see the Redskins tag Cousins at $19 million to limit the over all risk involved in order to gain more data (i.e. Secretariat win Belmont by 31 lengths vs. Fair Royale gives owners a fun run before becoming foot note in racing). There are still problems with Cousins that we fans like to over look but the GM can’t and I wonder just what grade he places on Cousins but my best guess is that it is somewhere lower than most fans on here place it. IMO Cousins will flatten out in 2016 as teams find his problem areas and attack there. IMO the data points are just too small to go all in this early. This GM was willing to pay RG3 $16.2 million for one year, so why not risk $19 million to gain a better read on Cousins.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:42 PM

      I think a 19 million dollar franchise tag also means a 19 million dollar salary cap hit. I would expect a long term contract to be much more cap friendly. The structure of the contract is key. I’m not one of the overly bullish fans about Cousins but I think he has shown enough to have an extended contract that has voidable years if he bottoms out.

      • kenlinkins - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:10 PM

        Yes, The Tag means a $19 million, one time cap hit for 2016, but if the Redskins were able to commit $16 million if RG3 panned out, then they are only adding $3 million more as compared to committing about $60 million guaranteed over 4 years for a long term contract. If Cousins comes close to proving he is worth the $19 million in 2016 you can go ahead and sign him to a long term deal starting in 2017 which would end when he is 32 years old. So, in my mind it is $3 million risk for one year vs. $60 million for 4 years and after one good year I like the lower risk of the Tag in 2016. For me it is just a numbers game due to the very sellers market at QB. I do not think the Redskins talent level as a whole is ready to take on a $60 million guaranteed commitment with the small body of work Cousins has had to date.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:49 PM

          I think what’s critical is how much of any contract is guaranteed. An example is a long term contract for say 13 million next season with no guaranteed money the following years. If Cousins doesn’t perform well then they release him the following season. The organization saves themselves 6 million when compared to a franchise tag. That type of money can get us a really good FA or sign another player to a long term deal. Even 3 million can be the difference in signing a needed free agent that can come here an upgrade a position.

        • kenlinkins - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:58 PM

          OK< I will give you that $3 million is not chicken feed, even in the NFL, but there is no way in the world that Cousins is going to sign a contract with only $13 million guaranteed. All is has to do is nothing to force the Redskins to TAG him for $19 million guaranteed for 2016. So it would be pretty dumb to sign for anything under $20 million guaranteed. IMO anyone offering him a contract would have to double the $19 million guaranteed to even have a shot at signing him. My best guess is that the Redskins will have to offer him a 5 year deal at about $17.5 million per year ($87.5 million total) with about $54 million guaranteed. That would keep him under contract until he was 32. So IMO it is $19 million one year risk vs. a $54 million 3.5 year risk. With what I have seen I would do the one year risk with the Tag as a control point.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:16 PM

          “So it would be pretty dumb to sign for anything under $20 million guaranteed”

          For the 1st year of the contract? I disagree here. I understand the CAP is increasing in the NFL but Scot is not known to capitulate to lofty contracts for players with a single season to show for it. If Cousins has another season that mirrors this performance then I can see moving towards the 20 million but not for one good season. Foles signed a similar 13 million contract only last season. Move that to maybe 15 million guaranteed and that’s very possible and more than fair market value for what we know about Cousins.

  17. Skinzfan - Jan 18, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    I need to save the link to this article. I’ve been saying this for weeks. All those other QBs had a catch to their performances. Of course, Cousins’s was his easy schedule, but let’s not forget some teams we faced early in the year (Falcons, Eagles for example) had top notch defenses and just collapsed later. Early season schedule was rough and some teams decided to fall off and make us look worse. The teams the Redskins faced at least were in playpff contention to the end in this wacky season. Most teams at least got to face a disaster situation like the Titans, Browns or Chargers. Redskins were an above average team playing mediocre teams all year.

  18. brucefan1 - Jan 18, 2016 at 6:32 PM

    “past performance does not guarantee future results”

    Who wrote this blog post; Rich Tandler or Charles A. Schwab?? ;^}

    (Guess that’s all I hafta say about today’s’ topic!)

    • mozart6023 - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM

      I’m not sold on Cousins but he is the best option going forward. I would give him a deal with plenty of escape clauses. His failure to win against quality teams is concerning regardless of what people here are saying. The Green Bay game was very troubling. Although there were many sacks, Cousins actually had decent protection on many dropbacks but didn’t get the ball out on several of them. There were also some throws that were atrocious. One was so terrible that two Packers should’ve intercepted it but collided with each other. Once the pressure came he appeared to revert to the old Kirk. Only time will tell.

  19. jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    Babyteal1, bite me. Did I spell that correctly, buster????

  20. jay pee - Jan 18, 2016 at 8:00 PM

    Feeling a little outed Richie, does the facts about u and ur hack reporting touch a nerve?? Ban away or get it right, HACK

    • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 7:48 PM

      Eff off troll!

  21. Baha - Jan 18, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    Also none of them played against a record 13 losing teams going 9-4 and getting blown out against the few winning teams he played ….. Wake up from the coma

  22. John - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:17 PM

    Its important to see the situation when Kirk has had his shot and the results.

    2012: Rookie backup, 1 complete game, 2 other games (Baltimore and Seattle) but not much else. Was not expected to do much that year.

    2013: Robert was shut down and Kirk played in 4 games with mixed results after the team was all ready out of it.

    2014: Robert goes down in game 1. Kirk fills in with big numbers in the first 2 games (Jacksonville and Philly) a decent game against Seattle, so so games at Arizona and Tennessee and a disaster against NY. People remember him sulking (if that’s the right term) but then he probably saw that as his big opportunity and saw it slipping away, like if he had a bad game that was it.

    2015: 1st year as starter. Broke team records. Lead league in passing %. NFC Player of Week 2 times and NFC Player for the Month December. All of this with a poor defense and poor running game.

    For this that wish to belittle Kirk’s numbers, very few QBs out there threw for more yards. Very few QBs threw fewer INTs than Kirk. Kirk threw the same number as Palmer. Palmer threw for 600 more yards and won more games but has a better team around him.

    For those that like to say well Kirks passing Schroeder is no big deal, when have the Skins been a pass first team? ThexNFC East has never been a pass happy division. Dallas tries to do that when they should try to run more like 2014. The year that the Skins really blew everyone away 1983, they scored an NFL record 541 points, Theisman threw for 3,700 yards and Riggins ran for 1,347 and 24 TDs. That team had balance on offense, had a +47 turnover ratio and #1 rush defense and #28 pass defense (though those numbers are misleading as other teams had to abandon the run to try to catch up).

    The reason the Skins lost to better teams is because they lost to better teams. Its that simple.

    One could argue that they could have been 12-4 had they beaten Miami, Dallas and Atlanta. In that case the Skins would have been lucky enough to have their tails handed to them by Seattle. It would have been no different than San Diego being 14-2 and losing to New England or Dallas losing to NY when Romo was TO’s QB or when Tennessee was 13-3 and fell to Pittsburgh.

  23. John - Jan 18, 2016 at 11:35 PM

    It should be noted that a guy who probably did not play much in college and never played in the pros but was a racquetball champion ended up being the winningest coach of the 1980s and took his team to 4 Super Bowls and won 3 of them.

    The great coaches were generally not great players (Gibbs, Shula, Landry, to name a few). I can think of one who was a very good player and coached a Super Bowl winning team but few would call him a great coach (Ditka).

    Rarely do great players make for good coaches. They can’t see how guys can’t make the plays that were so easy for them when they played. They can’t relate to their players and lack patience. Ditka used to lose it on the sidelines when his teams lost…

  24. Matt Holm - Jan 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM

    The fact is that it is exceedingly rare for a pocket QB to have a great first season as a starter, and then regress. Rich documented the struggles of Kolb and Cassel (neither of whom had nearly as good a season as Kirk had this year) after signing their big contracts. The Foles argument is the most valid, but as stated above, he benefited immensely from Chip Kelley’s offense being brand new to the NFL. The only other case of a pocket QB being a one season wonder in the past few years, that I can recall, is Derek Anderson having a pro bowl year in 2007, and he has suffered mostly from injuries keeping him off the field since then (and now he’s stuck firmly behind Cam Newton). Nothing Kirk did this year is unsustainable; there were no gimmicks, and he did it in the complete absence of a run game for the majority of the season. I made a spreadsheet compiling the first season stats of several top qbs in the league right now (cam newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees) and Kirk’s season was as good or better than all of theirs. I’m not going to predict that Kirk Cousins is the next Tom Brady, but what I am saying is that, as of right now there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Kirk can’t be an elite quarterback. I want him signed long term, and I’m ok with the possibility that it might backfire.

  25. dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    As long as the OL can keep Cousins upright then hewill continue to be successful. Gruden and McVay’s game plans are tailored to his strengths and it is hard to see him not to continue to be successful. Adding a couple of pieces to the OL and building a top 10 defense are what is needed for the Redskins to return to their glory days. HTTR!

  26. berniebernard666 - Jan 19, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    signing Cousins isn’t optional but at the same time McCoy will be just as effective if the Skins don’t upgrade their Left Guard and Center spots because the Packers exposed the Redskins poor offensive line. Spencer Long is worthless because he is not strong and gets pushed back and out of the way on running plays as well as pass plays. Kory has been too light as a center and now he is starting to get injured as well. How many years have we put up with the Redskins offensive line being Offensive. QB fumbles being hit from the blind side and forced back in the pocket, etc. The number 1 draft pick must again go to finding a PRO BOWL interior lineman or else go out into free agency and get somebody who knows what PRO BOWL means.

    • wildbill1952 - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:25 PM

      If there was a “like” button, I would have pushed it. It may not be as desperate as last year, when a first round pick anywhere on the OL was an absolute must, but I wholeheartedly agree that the Skins need a better option at center and left guard. Perhaps Kouandijo will show something next year the way Moses did this year. If Alex Mack is a cap casualty out of Cleveland, I’d opt for him at center in a heartbeat, even if he’s 30.. But if he isn’t there are only two centers worthy of being mentioned in the late part of the second and third rounds where the Skins pick. Alabama and the guy from Michigan State top my list of centers in the draft.

  27. John - Jan 19, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    People remember it takes about 3 seasons of steady playing time for a young quarterback to eventually be all that. That applies to even the great ones like John Elway. Elway had been great in college at Stanford. He looked lost in 1983 and sat behind Craig Morton. He would eventually get the Broncos to Super Bowls on undermanned teams in 1986, 1987 and 1989 and finally win in 1997 and 1998. It can easily be argued that Elway was the best ever as he achieved the most with the least.

    • Matt Holm - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      I think Elway is a prime example of why QB is the most important position, but also why even the greats need a supporting cast. He got the Broncos almost there so many times almost single handed, but it took having Terrell Davis to shoulder some of the load , and a more mature approach to the game for Elway to reach the pinnacle.

      • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:06 PM

        Elway had balanced teams when they won the Super Bowls under Shanahan.

        He had an excellent back in Davis but also had good receivers, not to mention Sharpe at TE and Gary Zimmerman and Mark Schlereth among others blocking for him.

        The Broncos also had a strong defense with size back then, something that was lacking when Joe Collier was the D coordinator in the 80s. They got pushed around a lot by the Hogs.

  28. wildbill1952 - Jan 19, 2016 at 1:46 PM

    I hate the term franchise QB. It’s not like finding an Armani tag on a suit at the GoodWill store. It’s awful hard to say a guy is a franchise QB based on one really, really good season. So is Cousins a “franchise QB”? I think it’s too early to tell. Having said that, the exact same question could be asked of literally any QB you might find in the draft. To let the known qualities of Kirk Cousins leave without trying to hold on to the QB you know you have to test the waters of any new QB coming out of college would be foolish. Even if you’re the greatest RG III fan and still bitter about his demise in Washington, you know that getting rid of Kirk after this season would be foolish. You have to make the offer. signing Cousins is not an option. You don’t want to find out he was the franchise QB you’ve been looking for for almost 3 decades while testing the waters with someone out of college.

    I like the three season test as well. You pretty well know what you have at the three season mark. If next season is the same as the second half of this season, then we all know. If next season’s start is the same as the first half, then we know then too.

    • John - Jan 19, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      Like Gruden said, he’s young in terms of games played and will have his ups and downs. Its all part of the learning process. The good thing is he learns from his mistakes and keeps improving.

      Last year to this year.

      Fewer turnovers
      More TD passes
      More consistent play
      Fewer stalled drives
      Broken records
      Highest completion % in NFL.
      Lead the team on clock killing drives for scores, choking out opponents.

      For those that can only nitpick and say he only beat bad teams, that’s the schedule. You play the hand your dealt and your supposed to beat bad teams.

      For the Robert fans, Robert as great as a rookie. We all loved that. Teams adjusted to the read option and Robert never changed his game and went downhill the last 2 years. Can you really say he showed any improvement during the last 3 years?
      Folks say the OLine was better this year. Sure, don’t you think Kirks getting rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds on average had something to do with that. That and Kirk stepping into the pocket and sliding to help blockers had something to do with that? Robert did not do those things. He made one read and took off, often running into defensive players. Kirk also makes multiple reads. Robbery did not. I wish Robert well but don’t see him stating anywhere in the near future.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM

        “For those that can only nitpick and say he only beat bad teams, that’s the schedule. You play the hand your dealt and your supposed to beat bad teams.”

        No that is not nitpicking; it’s accounting for all the facts about Cousins and laying out on the table. Instead of the alternative for many that only cherry pick facts because you are so desperately in need of defending him.

        That’s the big issue on this site with many posters: You can’t have a discussion about where Cousins needs to improve and what he still has yet to prove as a QB without it becoming some childish debate full of accusations. It’s so frustrating commenting on this site because you have to weed through the children to find a few adult response on the particular subject. Trey Gregory has been a refreshing change of pace here. Read some of his comments and see the difference. He actually READS a person posts fully and responds in kind.

        • ajbus1 - Jan 19, 2016 at 6:34 PM

          It gets nit-picky when you hear the same things over and over from the commenter(s), especially the type you mention. It’s discussion/debate when it’s posed as a question or part of a list of cons, if you will. All depends on how the comment is typed and what the intention of the comment seems to be.

        • John - Jan 20, 2016 at 1:19 PM


          I’m with you on the comments, etc. I guess some have a hard time putting things into context, not seeing the forest for the trees or the bigger picture.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:01 PM

      I think you make some very valid points and the signing is just a formality at this point. It’s going to happen! However I doubt Armani’s even come with tags. So buyer beware!!!!

  29. mstowle - Jan 19, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    Nice Rich.

  30. rcjur - Jan 21, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    GM, Synder and the Redskins organization will be really stupid to pay Cousins anything over 12mil next season. Cousins at least deserves that and no more of financial commitment than a 2 year deal and if he performs well in 2016 and team playoffs, he then deserves his multi year end of story. However I doubt it with a tougher schedule coming and probably team ending up 5-11, Gruden will be finally fired thank god because of that and that Dallas has RG III for free and ready to take qb position over in 2017 with Romo retiring. Believe it…that’s the plan Mr. Jones has for Redskins team. Synder will be furious because Cousins has regressed in 2016 and every team in the NFC East even before 2016 season is now happy Redskins has made the dumbest mistake and settled for Cousins. Better get ready in 2016 to start looking for franchise qb once again because Cousins is a fluke.

    • mstowle - Jan 21, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      LOL! You obviously would know “stupid.”

  31. Skulb - Jan 26, 2016 at 9:09 AM

    Considering what Cousins missed last year in terms of preparation I’d say it’s a good bet that he can keep it up. If you presume that offseason and preseason preparation helps a QB and his offense find rhythm then he should get better in 2016 if all else stays the same, which it probably won’t. And either way you have to pay him here. If he improves then you can’t overpay. If he stays the same then he was better in 2015 than top dollar QBs like Tannehill and Cutler have ever been so you almost can’t overpay him. if he regresses then he won’t be the worst QB bust this team has made recently.

    I consider the defense by far the biggest reason for the Redskins not being able to get further than a WC round. They gave up scores on SIX consecutive drives against Green Bay. Who are you gonna beat with defending like that? The offense was good enough to go all the way if it had a little more help getting the ball back against good teams. Based on this I simply can’t see a scenario where paying Cousins long term is a bad thing. You want the 2015 offense to stay in place; improved if possible; and work on the defense. So obviously you need Cousins there to do that.

    • Skulb - Jan 26, 2016 at 9:31 AM

      What I meant to say was that in a worst case scenario with Cousins blowing next year, you wouldn’t be killed by a three year, incentivized deal. As long as you can cut him loose reasonable after 2017 it would be worth the (in my opinion) small risk of regression.

      A: 5 year deal: too long at the moment.
      B: 3 year deal. Probably safe enough, although a two year deal would be better for the Redskins. Once burned twice shy and all that.
      C: Franchise tag. If management is really unsure about Cousins then this is the best bet.

      I say it’ll be B all day long. Gruden needs the dude and now trusts him and I would be amazed if Scot, Bruce and Dan aren’t in agreement after this season.

      • Rich Tandler - Jan 26, 2016 at 9:56 AM

        But will Cousins take a three-year deal? I’m dubious.

        • Skulb - Jan 26, 2016 at 10:57 AM

          Don’t you think he would? The reason I like a three year deal is that it’s the duration of Gruden’s contract. It might make sense to either extend or get rid of both of them after 2018, provided Gruden survives that long of course.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

          It would depend on the guaranteed money, of course, and other factors. What we may end up seeing is a deal that is three years in reality but five years on paper to spread out the guarantees.

          I don’t think that the length of Gruden’s deal has much to do with it. He could still be fired at any time.

        • Skulb - Jan 26, 2016 at 2:00 PM

          I guess you’re right about that. I thought before the season that Gruden needed a minimum of six wins to stay on for a third year. I think we can add two more to it for 2016 and anything can happen.
          He seems to have the locker room though and he has come a long way since the chaotic days of 2014. I’m gonna hope for eight wins or better and a fourth year myself. Coaching turnovers are no fun.
          One of the best aspects of the current situation with the Redskins is that it looks stable, which is a novelty here. Of course it still remains to be seen whether that stability will lead to sustained mediocrity or sustained success.
          I’m gonna stay optimistic until it’s no longer possible. Archives

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