WASHINGTON — There’s a case to be made that, even after the Redskins’ loss to the Lions to fall to 4-3 on the season, the sky is not falling.
If anyone is capable of finding the silver lining in such a soul-crushing defeat, surely it’s Joe Theismann.
“I’ve got to be honest with you. Kirk’s playing as good of football as anybody in football,” Theismann told The Sports Junkies on Monday. “You take away half a dozen plays, half a dozen throws through seven football games, and there isn’t anybody playing better football.”
In terms of raw numbers, Cousins is sixth in the NFL in passing yards (1,996), seventh in yards per game (285), ninth in yards per attempt (7.53), 11th in passing touchdowns (10) and is tied for seventh with six other quarterbacks in interceptions (6). His 92.3 passer rating ranks 17th.
But what about the deep ball evaporating from the Redskins’ offense? What about the fact that DeSean Jackson, one of the premier deep threats in football, has only caught 13 balls for 130 yards — none for longer than 35 yards — over the past four games?
“You have the speed, you have that ability, but then again, you say I’d like to be able to throw the ball down the field,” Theismann said. “Now keep in mind, just to give you a little, the way offenses are constructed and the passing game, in every pass play, you look for opportunities to push the ball down the field. I know that’s what Sean [McVay] does.”
“But what Kirk is doing, is Kirk is reading the defense and getting the ball to the guy who’s supposed to be in a position to be open, so it’s more what the defenses want to dictate,” he said. “Defenses know that DeSean’s a tremendous deep threat. They know he’s a deep threat.
“And if you look at our offense, you understand that Vernon Davis has done a pretty darn good job, and that’s why he was brought in, in case something happened to Jordan Reed, to fill in in that position. You’ve got Vernon Davis, Jamison Crowder, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon — unless you want to throw it 60 times a game, it’s very difficult to be able find that right moment to get the guy open, and when you do, you have to him ’em.”
“Those moments come far and few between,” he continued. “But you have to be able to utilize the opportunity that’s there, but a lot of times defenses, most of the time defenses will dictate where you should go with the football. And that’s where I think Kirk has done an exceptional job of reading the defenses, going where he’s supposed to.”
“I mean, really. We win that football game [Sunday], we’re having an entirely different conversation, the city feels different, you’re talking about different elements of the game,” he said. “We’d probably say, you know, Matt Jones is struggling, yeah he put the ball on the ground, but we won. We overcame that. He’s going to have to do better. But all of a sudden you fumble down inside the 10-yard line and it’s like… you can’t do that.
“Not on the road. Not against a team that you basically are even with. There isn’t anybody that we have payed, even Pittsburgh, that I think is appreciably better than who we are. We are not the Cleveland Browns, okay? We are not the San Francisco 49ers.”
What do you do with Matt Jones, whose critical fumble near the goal line cost the Redskins at least three points in a game decided by three points?
“As far as the running back situation goes, I think you stay with Matt at least another couple weeks and then maybe you lean on Robert [Kelley] as you start to go that way,” Theismann said. “But you can’t keep making more mistakes than somebody and expect to win football games. We’re not built that way. We’re not going to overpower people that way and it’s a football team that has to keep mistakes down.”
“You look at every aspect. Kirk has an unbelievable day throwing the football, and then all of a sudden you lose two fumbles and it’s over,” he said. “It’s not just mistakes, guys, it’s where mistakes are made that kill you. That fumble going in kills you. It’s a minimum of three [points], you’re looking at seven probably on the board early in the game. And then, again, it’s in Detroit territory where you make another mistake.
“You just can’t do that and expect to win football games, because we’re going to be a team that’s going to be a 60-minute football team.”
Moral of the story? I don’t know. Calm down, or something.