Kirk Cousins is just not going to be the following Matthew Stafford
The Los Angeles Rams had a plan. Collect an elite roster after which commerce all the things away for a quarterback who can take that roster to the promised land. It labored. Now, each staff with a half-respectable roster and a few draft capital is seeking to observe of their footsteps. However who’s the quarterback that may convey them over the sting? It might in all probability be somebody who has spent years on a mediocre staff and by no means actually had a possibility to steer an entire roster on a deep postseason run.
I’m unsure who precisely most individuals are speaking about. Possibly Derek Carr. That’s the primary man that involves thoughts of all of the QBs rumored to maneuver this offseason. One factor I do know for certain although, is that they’re not speaking about Kirk Cousins, or no less than they shouldn’t be.
Sorry, I’m going to wish you to take an infinite step again from the pedestal. Cousins is an effective quarterback with some very stable traits, however he isn’t going to win anyone a Tremendous Bowl.
It’s fairly clear that Cousins is just not as nice a quarterback as Matthew Stafford. He isn’t now, and he wasn’t when Stafford was on the Lions. Stafford went to a staff with an elite receiving corps, a stable O-line, nice protection, and excellent head coach. Even with all of that at his disposal, the Rams had been the 4-seed within the NFC and received three of their 4 postseason video games by simply three factors. Even when Cousins headed to a staff with a equally sturdy roster all-around (perhaps Tampa Bay or Indianapolis), we’ve already established that he’s not so good as Stafford, so would he actually be capable to pull off these shut postseason victories that Stafford did?
Cousins is a stats goblin. Tons of individuals like to level out his excessive passer rating (seventh-highest all-time) and spectacular TD:INT ratio and faux that he’s an elite quarterback. I don’t want to speak about how flawed passer score is as a statistic. Jared Goff has the next profession passer score than Stafford, and look how the Rams handled him. Clearly, they made an infinite mistake buying and selling away Goff. Clearly, Goff is superior. Let’s see. Hmm… Marcus Mariota, Baker Mayfield, Teddy Bridgewater, Chad Pennington, and Alex Smith have larger profession passer scores than Brett Favre. It’s a superb baseline stat to find out a quarterback’s skill to finish passes and keep away from turnovers, however that’s all. It’s not a metric that evaluates the extent of quarterback play.
TD:INT ratio can be a superb stat, however not indicative of nice quarterback play. Positive, Cousins is eighth all-time in that division, however numbers six via 10 are, so as, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, Cousins, Colin Kaepernick, and Tyrod Taylor. These are/had been all wonderful quarterbacks, every of whom has/had playoff expertise and moments of greatness, however none, except for 2017 Wentz and Kaepernick earlier than groups discovered to counter his play-style, are/had been Tremendous Bowl-caliber quarterbacks. Come at me, Dak followers. He ain’t profitable you one anytime quickly. Cousins has by no means displayed the kind of elite explosiveness that 2017 Wentz or early-career Kaepernick did although. He doesn’t have the arm power or skill to diagnose a protection on the line and audible into an incredible matchup. Cousins does have nice accuracy, however that’s the naked minimal for a quarterback these days.
Even quarterbacks with nice accuracy metrics, like Tua Tagovailoa, might be subpar quarterbacks total. I’m not saying that Cousins is, however he’s not a Stafford-type like some would have you ever consider.
The place Stafford received a Tremendous Bowl in his first yr with a reliable staff, Cousins couldn’t even return to the postseason his first yr with a staff recent off an NFC Championship Recreation look. That’s a primary scenario for any quarterback to search out themselves in. This was a staff that was one Nick Foles away from a Tremendous Bowl look. Cousins was presupposed to take them over the sting. As a substitute, he’s by no means led that staff to the identical heights. After all, there are some caveats. That Case Keenum-led staff that went 13-3 was handed two wins towards the Packers, who had been enjoying with out Aaron Rodgers. Nonetheless although, Cousins’ finest file because the Vikings’ starter is simply 10-5, half a sport behind the place Keenum’s Vikings would’ve been had Rodgers been wholesome.
There’s additionally the entire Mike Zimmer scenario. Zimmer was not a superb coach. He clearly didn’t like Cousins in 2021, however was compelled to begin him as a result of Kellen Mond wasn’t prepared. Nevertheless, are we actually going to sit down right here and consider that Zimmer was sabotaging Cousins’ profession with the Vikings from the get-go? You’re telling me that from Day 1, when Cousins was introduced on, Zimmer was dragging him down deliberately? I don’t purchase it. Except their identify is City Meyer, I don’t assume any coach has actively tried to convey down a franchise, which is basically what Zimmer could be doing by sabotaging Cousins’ profession. The Vikings provided him a totally assured contract to be their franchise man. Deliberately destroying his skill to make performs wouldn’t solely be apparent, however a detestable, petty act that possible would’ve gotten Zimmer fired years in the past.
Do I feel Kevin O’Connell goes to be a greater coach? Properly, I can’t say for sure, however I like many of the concepts he’s introduced up up to now, particularly the one about utilizing Justin Jefferson in a Cooper Kupp-type position subsequent yr. I’ve even written about how doing so would possible give Jefferson Kupp-level numbers. Nevertheless, we’ve additionally heard different coaches say related issues about different gamers just for them to do the precise reverse (i.e.: WFT saying they’d use Antonio Gibson in a “Christian McCaffrey role”).
The ultimate protection I at all times hear for Cousins is the… lack of protection on his groups. That’s simply not true although. In Cousins’ first yr with the Vikings, the staff completed fourth in complete yards per game allowed and ninth in factors per sport allowed. Positive, they might’ve compelled extra turnovers — they solely compelled 20 on the season — however you possibly can’t have completely all the things go your manner. The Vikings completed 8-7-1 that yr.
Let’s give Cousins the advantage of the doubt although. Possibly he wanted a yr to regulate to the brand new system. It was his first yr away from Washington. He was simply two years faraway from having Sean McVay as his offensive coordinator. Possibly he simply wanted a while. In 2019, the protection wasn’t as nice, however nonetheless very stable. They completed 14th in yards per game allowed, fifth in factors per sport allowed, and fourth in turnovers forced. The Vikings did make the playoffs, and even received a sport, however had been trounced within the divisional spherical by San Francisco.
That was Cousins’ finest yr with the Vikings. The protection and offensive line have slowly deteriorated since then, and the staff hasn’t returned to the playoffs since. You is perhaps pondering, “Properly clearly, when he’s received a succesful protection, he can lead a staff to the playoffs and even win.” Positive, no matter. Any quarterback can win when put within the excellent scenario. Look no additional than Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s not a superb quarterback. At his finest, he’s common. He reached a Tremendous Bowl and an NFC Championship in three years (and he’s the one lively quarterback with a number of Tremendous Bowl rings, however in fact, these got here as a backup in New England). Garoppolo was in an ideal scenario and did what he needed to to win video games. Props to him for that, however there’s a purpose the 49ers wish to step away from him. He wasn’t profitable them video games. Cousins could be a step up from Garoppolo, however very similar to Garoppolo, Cousins wants an elite supporting forged to be able to win video games, and even with that elite supporting forged, Cousins doesn’t possess the explosiveness wanted to win a Tremendous Bowl.
If the Vikings select to retain Cousins and the Packers half methods with Aaron Rodgers, I absolutely count on the Vikings to win the NFC North. Make no mistake although, they aren’t a Tremendous Bowl-caliber staff. They had been when Cousins first arrived in Minneapolis, however Cousins and Zimmer squandered that chance. Cousins is just not a “Stafford-in-waiting.” He already had his probability and didn’t do something with it.