By Chris Lingebach

Kirk Cousins may be likable enough, but he also showed a tendency to protect his stats over his team, Sean Salisbury says.

“I’ll tell you a thing that I’ve been saying since about Week 7 or 8 of the football season that’s bothered me about Cousins,” Salisbury told Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan. “He’ll put up good stats. I’m bothered at the fact that it seems to me at times — and you know I like Cousins, I’m a fan, but I’ll also lose credibility if I don’t give you my honest opinion — he won’t throw the ball away in order to save a stat.”

“For instance, I’ve seen him take sacks when three-count — three, four, one-thousand-five — take a sack instead of throwing it out of bounds, because it doesn’t look good on your completion percentage,” he said. “I’ve seen him back off taking shots when they’re behind in games, because it may not look good, if he throws a pick, on his completion percentage or on his statistics.

“That bothers me. And that’s real. And not enough people talk about it.”

“There’s times — I don’t think he’s a selfish guy,” Salisbury said, “but I do believe there’s a part of him that ‘nah, can’t. I’m not gonna do it.’ So, excellent leader, but one last thing. How many guys have you heard — and I’m just curious, maybe there it’s different — how many guys have you heard come out and say they can’t believe Cousins is not gonna be there? They’re bummed? Teammates?”

“Oh, teammates? None,” said Dukes. “It’s all been about Kendall Fuller.”

“Okay, right,” Salisbury said. “And how many guys you who said, ‘Welcome, Alex Smith.’ There’s been a couple of, ‘Welcome, Alex Smith. We’ve got business to take care of.’ So, and then [Travis] Kelce’s bummed that Smith’s leaving. Does that tell you anything about the player?

“Maybe Kirk Cousins never wanted to get a deal done. Because he’s, quite frankly, gonna be the most — for a guy who hasn’t been to a Super Bowl — I mean, we’re talking about he and [Matthew] Stafford. That’s a lot of money that he’s gonna get. And good for him. God bless him. But for a guy who hasn’t got you to a championship game, a Super Bowl, he’s gonna make that kind of money?”

“And, had he been franchised, he’d have made $34.5 million bucks,” Salisbury noted. “I do have a problem with it. You’ve got to be able to throw the ball away and make the team first. So, you know what? I’m not so sure that, when it comes to the love affair there, I think it was time for everybody to move on. And I couldn’t be happier for Alex Smith after, everywhere he goes, they replace him and he just keeps on playing.

“Love the guy and I think Washington’s gonna love him, too.”

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter

Comments (6)
  1. This is complete B.S. Padding stats? No way. He stays in the pocket and tries to make something happen. With the line he played behind this year, he should have thrown the ball away 100 times. Why didn’t he? Trying to make things happen. And not taking shots downfield because of how it may affect his stats? Maybe it’s more like some of the receivers he had this year kinda dropped alot of balls? I didn’t hear complaints of this when Desean anf Pierre were here. We all saw what happened to Desean’s stats this year with a different QB didn’t we? As far as teammates go, they are probably as burned out on the Cousins signing drama as you and me. Or, maybe they aren’t a real cohesive team that likes one another. They disliked RG3, now Cousins? Is it the QB money? The drama? I think this says more about the team than Cousins. Maybe why they imploded in some games? I think Alex Smith will learn all of this himself. Probably the hard way.

  2. So he willingly gets hit by NFL linebackers and defensive ends, because he doesn’t want the incompletion? That sounds believable. How many times did this happen, out of the 41 times he was sacked? Ten? He is going to risk a season ending injury to increase his completion percentage by 2%? Last year he was sacked less and had a higher completion percentage.

  3. Joe Sayers says:

    Cousins can’t be blamed for his impending free-agency. By forcing the tag on him (twice!), the team let him bet on himself…and he won. The team mismanaged negotiations with him to the point that not only can they now not afford to keep him but had to give up a draft pick and a rising star to replace him.

    It’s sad to read Salisbury throw Cousins under the bus the way he did. I imagine a lot of QBs would take a sack rather than throw an interception but does Sean believe Cousins would intentionally take a sack in order to avoid an incomplete pass? Really?

    I have some bad news for you, Sean. Alex Smith won’t take many tight-window throws and he won’t throw his receivers open, so he might not be much different than Cousins. You’re getting a smart, capable guy in Smith but he is the very definition of risk-adverse.

    If you want to meet your latest QB, Graham Bensinger put together a really good series of interviews Alex Smith before this last season. They’re on youtube. One of them is here:

    Good luck, Redskins

  4. Dumb article and blathering by Salisbury. If Cousins had forced more low percentage plays and thrown more picks, he would have been lambasted. You would think a below average QB at the pro level like Salisbury would appreciate Cousins’ play and leadership a little more. Cousins had very little help. O-line beat up and unable to protect or run block(no run game), receivers dropping balls all over the field(Pryor and Doctson), 3rd down back Thomson(best playmaker this year) and Jordan Reed out, horrible defense, etc… and still he made them competitive. He’s gotten better every year. Snyder and Allen were foolish to blow this. Could have signed him early and built around him. And Salisbury blew it with these, as Bryce Harper might say, “Clown comments.”

  5. RA Nelson says:

    Sean Salisbury is an idiot. He does no research and talks like he does. He does commentary/analysis work on the Vikings and I often hear things that make it very apparent he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
    He also seems to be very jealous of QBs that sign big contracts. I’ve heard him numerous times talk about QBs being overpaid. He’s right, they are, except Brady, Rodgers and Brees, but his comments seem to be based on envy and not analysis.
    And to think a QB is taking sacks to pad stats is ridiculous. If he said Cousins checks down to pad his stats, I might have believed him. But to say he takes deliberately takes hits when he’s going to be signing a huge free-agent contract in the near future is so &@#%ing stupid.
    Salisbury needs to find a new career. His skills as an NFL writer/commentator are lacking!

  6. Colin Whitby says:

    Ive seen him throw the ball away plenty of times. I certainly do not think we would risk himself injury to pad his stats….this article is pure BS

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