WASHINGTON — Days after the Redskins 38-16 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football, many are still struggling to determine quarterback Kirk Cousins’ culpability for the defeat.
Cousins, who threw two interceptions in the game, still completed 69.7 percent of his passes — for 329 yards — nearly identical to his league-leading 69.8 completion percentage through all of last season.
Washington’s running game — which amounted to 24 yards on seven Matt Jones carries, and 23 yards on four Chris Thompson carries — was virtually non-existent. And, to boot, the Redskins defense was getting torched.
On Wednesday, former Giants receiver Amani Toomer — who’s now with NBC Sports Radio — said the Redskins “might have made a huge mistake with Kirk Cousins,” and offered this gut reaction:
“I think you might have the wrong quarterback. You might need a guy that can get the ball downfield consistently, you might need a guy that’s gonna take some chances and not be afraid to make mistakes. Because when I see Kirk Cousins … I just think he’s one of these guys that just doesn’t want to make mistakes.”
Those thoughts were relayed to former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn during an interview with The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. Quinn was then asked what he sees in Cousins as a passer.
“I think for the majority of his career he’s been a pretty solid, accurate passer,” the CBS Sports NFL analyst said Thursday. “There’s some times when you kind of look at his decision-making and say, ‘What do you think?’ And I think the pick to [Ryan Shazier] was one of those last week.”
“But when you’re playing from behind it’s kind of hard to second guess a guy because he’s got to throw his way back into the game,” Quinn added. “There wasn’t much of a running attack, there wasn’t much balance there on offense, so it’s all on his shoulders. And that’s a little bit unfair. It’s kind of like the situation Andrew Luck’s been in with the Indianapolis Colts.
“For Kirk Cousins, I had the opportunity to do a game that he was playing out versus the Cardinals a couple years ago. He had a great game, up until the fourth quarter where he just threw one interception that essentially kind of lost the game. It was one really bad decision, and that’s kind of what I saw him almost reverting back to in Week 1.”
The Arizona game to which Brady’s referring came back in Week 6 of 2014. Cousins passed for 354 yards and two touchdowns, but threw three interceptions, all three coming in critical fourth-quarter minutes. The Redskins lost 30-20. Cousins’ next start would be his last that season.
“Now I don’t want to make too big of a deal about it,” Quinn said. “I think he’s going to go on and have a good season and I think the Steelers defense is probably underrated, and then also, again, you’re talking about a Steelers offense that put up a ton of points, a ton of yards and really kind of had their way with the Redskins defense.
“I think the Redskins play better and Kirk Cousins plays better when the team’s playing better complimentary football on both sides, really all three phases of football. To me, Kirk Cousins is going to play well this season if their defense starts to step up as well.”