In the past few days several NFL analysts have been forthright with their opinion that Washington Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins has outplayed RG III and is more deserving of the starter’s role. Joe Theisman said this in the Washington Post:
“Let’s stop beating around the bush. Kirk Cousins has played much better at the Quarterback position than RG III has….Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, there wouldn’t be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to.”
During an ESPN radio segment on Sunday morning, Herm Edwards reinforced Theisman’s sentiment, saying “Kirk Cousins is playing quarterback more efficiently than Robert Griffin is. Kirk Cousins to me has a little bit more pocket presence, he has outstanding instincts, he [slides] under pressure, he has nice compact throws, and he’s always in balance it seems to me when pressure occurs.”
Cousins was 14-20 for 122 passing yards and 2 touchdowns during Saturday night’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Cousins’ ability to move the Redskins offense is not something that is new to this preseason. During Griffin and Cousins’ rookie season, they were in the midst of an improbable run to the playoffs when Griffin went down with a knee injury. Cousins was able to step in and win a start as well as successfully spell Griffin in crucial moments late in the 2012 regular season.
Cousins has a grasp for Kyle Shanahan’s offense and has spent his first two years of his NFL career operating in it. When given the opportunity to play he has been efficient and very accurate. Now, in 2014 with Shanahan in Cleveland, people have taken further notice of Cousins’ abilities, to the point that RG III may have to begin to look over his shoulder.
This begs the question, with Kyle Shanahan hired as the Browns’ new Offensive Coordinator, and Cousins an expendable commodity. Should the Browns have made a run at Cousins instead of drafting Johnny Manziel? Surely, this is not a popular idea considering the buzz that Manziel’s mere presence alone has created. As a strictly football decision, the argument can be made that the Browns would be much better off with Cousins on the roster instead.
Cousins is 6-3 and 205 lbs. while Manziel is under 6-0 tall and about the same weight. Manziel is fresh out of a college offense in which they didn’t huddle and he commonly ran around until a receiver became open. Cousins has spent the last two years learning and playing in the offense the Browns are running. No one really knows what to expect from Manziel and is assuredly a precarious venture for the Browns. While Cousins has a working relationship with Shanahan and has proven that he can perform admirably in pressure situations.
I am nearly certain the Kirk Cousins could be had for a second round pick in the 2014 draft and absolutely certain he could have been acquired with the 22nd overall pick in the draft. So the question is would the Browns have been better off trading for Cousins than drafting Manziel? The answer won’t be satisfied for some time considering we don’t know what lies ahead for Johnny Football. Wouldn’t you as a Browns fan though, be happy if Johnny’s IQ as a quarterback is where Cousins’ is in two years? Wouldn’t we all be so vindicated if Johnny looks as polished as Cousins does in two years?
It makes me contemplate if there wasn’t a move that made more sense. You get the guy you want your rookie to be, but without the excruciating growing pains. You get your franchise quarterback that’s ready to play day one. You get a leader and a quality person without all the “inflated swans” and “money phones”. Maybe we could have made a better move for this organization by trading for a guy that’s is has proven he can play and is ready made to run this offense. Kirk Cousin’s turned 26 in August, so essentially age isn’t a factor. He still has his whole career ahead of him. It’s such an enchanting question, because it makes so much sense.
By: Brad Ward
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