May 29, 2014; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball to Redskins wide receiver Aldrick Robinson (15) during organized team activities at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Is Kirk Cousins ready if RGIII goes down?

The Washington Redskins typically are thought of as having one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL in third year man Kirk Cousins.  But is that really the case?  Entering into last season many believed that Kirk Cousins had a future in the NFL as a starting quarterback after his stint with the Redskins ended.

Former Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he thought the Redskins would be able to trade Kirk Cousins for a first round draft pick after Cousins three game audition late last season.  Shanahan claimed he shut down starter Robert Griffin III to protect him.  But instead of getting a first round pick for Cousins, the Redskins weren’t able to trade him at all.

After a solid performance against the Atlanta Falcons in week 15 in which Cousins threw for 381 yards and 3 TD’s, but also 2 interceptions, it was all down hill from there.  As Cousins’ performances the next two games against the Cowboys and Giants to end the season left a lot be desired in terms of completion percentage and turnovers.

But to Cousins credit he wasn’t necessarily presented with the best possible situation to excel in.  As it was clear Mike Shanahan was about to be fired, and it had to be awkward with the starting quarterback being “shutdown”, but not really benched.  So there had to be some divided loyalties, and players looking out for their own best interests.

However, the question still needs to be asked, if RGIII suffers another long-term injury will the Redskins be able to turn to Kirk Cousins to lead the team?  Cousins has a career completion percentage of 56.2%.  He has more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (8), and he has a career quarterback rating of 68.6.

Given Cousins sporadic playing time, it wouldn’t be fair to make a definitive judgment on his potential based on those numbers.  But I think it is fair to conclude that if the Redskins are to rely on Cousins moving forward should the need arise, then he will have to show a lot improvement in weeks and months ahead.


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