Making the Case Why Cousins Should Start
- Updated: May 31, 2012
Even before the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III, all eyes were set on him, as they are now. However, there’s another QB fans should be keeping an eye on for the starting job, and that’s Kirk Cousins.
Mike Shanahan might have already named Robert Griffin III the starter, but that doesn’t mean the job can’t be taken. After-all this is football and Mike Shanahan LOVES competition.
When it comes to Robert Griffin III vs. Kirk Cousins, fans tend to lend more towards RGIII, simply because of what he did at Baylor. He turned a Baylor football team into a well-known and respected team in the Nation. Not to mention he won the Heisman.
Kirk Cousins on the other hand wasn’t nearly as flashy, but does that mean Cousins isn’t just as good or impressive? Absolutely not.
When breaking down the numbers, there’s not much of a difference, but there’s one thing you have to remember. Baylor ran a spread system, which is known for inflating numbers, while Kirk Cousins played in a Pro-Style offense at Michigan State.
Kirk Cousins: 3,316 yards, 25 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 63.7% completion rate.
Robert Griffin III: 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns, six interceptions, 72.4% completion rate.
Both quarterbacks also had 3-2 records against top 25 ranked schools.
Kirk Cousins faced five, top 25 rated defenses in 2011, while Robert Griffin III faced zero. In fact, the average ranking of defenses Cousins faced came in at 52, 19 spots below of Griffins 71.
Here you have a quarterback in a pro-style offense (Cousins) putting up impressive numbers against five top 25 rated defenses. While another (Griffin) in a spread system putting up highly impressive numbers, against not one top 25 rated defenses.
Cousins also threw the ball roughly 49 times a game, while Griffin threw for 53 times. It’s important to note that Cousins played in one more game (14) than Griffin did in 2011 (13).
Just for the sake of things, let me point out some other Big 12 QB’s who had terrific careers in college, yet went on to either fail or never start in the NFL.
Chase Daniel (remember him?), Graham Harrell (never taken a snap in the NFL), Vince Young, Chris Simms, Sage Rosenfels, Brad Smith (now WR), Scott Frost (spent his NFL days on defense). Here’s an interesting one. Eric Crouch and Jason White both won the Heisman Trophy, yet neither one ever took a snap in the NFL.
Josh Freeman looked impressive during the 2010 NFL season, but last season he fell apart. Sam Bradford looked promising, but he continues to have interception and injury concerns. Remember how upset fans were that Shanahan didn’t draft Blaine Gabbert last season?
How many Big 12 quarterbacks can you name that won the Super Bowl? The answer is zero. How many can you name from the Big 10? Seven (most notably Tom Brady).
Now I went out on a limb with that, I’m not going to deny it, but who’s to say Robert Griffin III is magically going to fix all of that? We thought Vince Young would, Colt McCoy, and definitely Sam Bradford, but they haven’t.
They say the “sky is the limit” for Robert Griffin III, and I hope it is for what we gave up for him, but the stats show that Cousins has played better in an NFL pro-style offense, and argue he should be the starter if Robert Griffin III shows any signs of struggle.
I’m not referring to rookie hiccups, but rather that he just isn’t ready to be an NFL quarterback at this moment in time.