With what can only be described as a disappointing end to an underwhelming season, we’re left with a 24-10 loss to the Bears at US Bank stadium, a lackluster 8-7-1 record, and a whole lot of questions about what went wrong in a season where some expected us to go to the Super Bowl.
Our 84 million dollar quarterback was brought here for one reason, and one reason only: to fill in the missing piece of the puzzle that lost us the NFC championship game last year. But now, we’re left with more questions than answers at the end of the 2018 season. If Kirk Cousins didn’t do his job, is he a bust?
After the Bears game, the 84 million dollar man officially became the first quarterback in NFL history to ever throw for 4000+ passing yards, 30+ touchdown passes, a 70% completion rate and 10 or fewer interceptions in a season. Now, whether you want to call a stat like that cherry-picked, the result of 4th quarter stat padding, or the product of an offensive focused NFL, it’s an impressive metric nonetheless. But, there’s still an even more important stat to look at it.
Kirk outperformed our former quarterback, Case Keenum of the Denver Broncos, in almost every metric this year. Throwing for more yards, 12 more TD’s, 5 fewer interceptions, and a better completion percentage. Yet, I can’t help but look at Case Keenum’s record with us last year. Granted he started two fewer games than Kirk, he fumbled only once in his 14 games as the starting quarterback, and Kirk fumbled 9 times. This is a massive blemish on what looks, on paper, to be a good looking switch at the quarterback position.
Now, Kirk was also sacked nearly twice as much as Keenum was last year. Whether you want to take some of the blame off of Kirk and put it on the abysmal offensive line, it’s still incredibly clear that Kirk Cousins has less pocket awareness & mobility than Keenum. Kirk had an obvious fumbling problem this season.
It’s easy to latch onto one gigantic common denominator, and ignore everything else and call Kirk Cousins 84 million dollar trash. But I don’t think that we can scream ‘BRING BACK CASE KEENUM!’, and then proceed to dump our failures on Kirk. It would be irresponsible to ignore the general inconsistency that this team experienced this season.
Before our season even started, our offensive line coach Tony Sparano passed away. Then we dealt with a tie game in week 2 dealt at the hands of our kicker, who was cut immediately after. Our defensive unit took some time to look even remotely like it did during the 2017 season, our offensive line looked horrendous all year, and our offensive coordinator was fired. The team even dealt with a team captain, Everson Griffen, going through some serious personal issues. There is no doubt that this took a toll on the locker room.
Look, I’m not trying to take all of the blame off of Kirk Cousins. I think that his 5-25 career record against winning teams speaks volumes. But I don’t think that we can call Kirk Cousins a bust just yet. No, the trade of Kirk Cousins to this team didn’t do what it was meant to, but there was too many pieces of the puzzle that weren’t in place this year to call Kirk our one and only problem.
We’ve got at least two more years with Kirk as our starting quarterback. Give him two years, and we’ll be able to tell whether or not we signed an 84 million dollar waste of time.