June 22, 2018

Washington Redskins should lock up Kirk Cousins long-term

(Photo by Brian Murphy)

(Photo by Brian Murphy)

Kirk Cousins has the Washington Redskins precariously close to qualifying for the playoffs this season. It’s an idea that might have seemed preposterous early in the year, but with the problems across the NFC East, if the Redskins win next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, they’ll stake a claim to first place in the division and host a playoff game.

Cousins’ play is a big reason for this. As the season has progressed, he’s gotten over several hurdles on his way to leading this team — and proving himself. It might come as a surprise to some Redskins fans, and maybe NFL fans at large, but Cousins is not only establishing himself as a starting quarterback in the league, but he’s setting several team records as he goes.

On Sunday, Cousins completed 22 of 28 passes for 319 yards and tied his career high with four passing touchdowns. He also added a 13-yard rushing touchdown. He finished the game with a passer rating of 153.7, one-tenth of a point shy of recording a perfect passer rating for the second time this season.

Here’s a list of some more superlatives that Cousins has achieved this season:

  • The 300-yard passing game was Cousins’ sixth of the season, breaking the Redskins’ previous team record of five (Sonny Jurgensen in 1967, Jay Schroeder in 1986, Mark Rypien in 1989).
  • Cousins now has 10 career 300-yard passing games, tied with Rypien for third-most in team history.
  • With his 14th completion of the day, Cousins broke the Redskins’ franchise record for pass completions in a single season (327, Jason Campbell in 2009). Cousins finished Week 15 with 336 completions this season.
  • Cousins extended his career-long streak of games with a touchdown pass to 14. He is the first Redskins quarterback to open a season with a touchdown in 14 consecutive games since Jurgensen in 1967.
  • Cousins (14) is now one game shy of tying Joe Theismann (15 in 1984-85) for the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass in team history.
  • Cousins pushed his passing yardage total this season to 3,625, which ranks sixth in a single season in team history — with two games to play.

That’s pretty heady stuff.

It’s fairly clear, at this point, that the Redskins should sign Cousins, 27, to a long-term deal and continue to develop and build around him rather than let him depart via free agency and start all over.

Critics will point to the interceptions (11), sacks (24) and fumbles (eight, with three lost), but most of the turnovers came early in the season while the Redskins were still settling into the offense. Cousins has thrown two picks in his last six games, and the Redskins — not surprisingly — have gone 4-2 over that span.

In fact, since losing to the Jets in Week 6 (2-4), Cousins has three picks in the subsequent eight games.

Something else to look at: Cousins has five rushing touchdowns on the campaign, tied with Jameis Winston for second-most among quarterbacks this season, and second-most in a single season by a Redskins QB.

Ever since his “You like that” moment, after guiding the Redskins to a comeback 31-30 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 25, Cousins has been a different player and this has been a different team. It’s been his team. They’ve gone 5-3 over the span, with two of the three losses coming against league juggernauts New England and Carolina — the top seeds in the two conferences.

Of course, the other loss was to cellar-dwelling Dallas on Monday night two weeks ago, a reminder that though things are looking up for the burgundy and gold, there’s still work to do.

Part of that work, however, shouldn’t be looking for a new quarterback. As the talent around him gets better and develops, Cousins is proving adept — if not downright good — at leading this offense. GM Scot McCloughan would be wise to get Cousins signed to a fair deal before Cousins can solicit offers from other teams.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

Trackbacks

  1. […] for the Washington Redskins who have matched their win total of the past two seasons combined. Kirk Cousins looks like the quarterback of the future, Jay Gruden has shown great improvement as a head coach, and Scot McCloughan looks like the […]

  2. […] article, Washington Redskins should lock up Kirk Cousins long-term, first appeared on District Sports […]

  3. […] or even near halftime of today’s game, but in the end Kirk Cousins is showing why he is a starter in the National Football League. Behind 365 yards passing, four touchdowns, and poise after making […]

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