The jury was out on Kirk Cousins for the first three years of his career. Some people saw him as a capable starting quarterback in the NFL, while others saw him as an above average backup. Nothing more, nothing less.
Frankly, it was easy to see both sides.
In the first three years of his career, from 2012-2014, Cousins accounted for 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 14 games. Overall, those numbers aren’t great, but delve a little deeper. He had a 329-yard day at Cleveland in 2012, a 381-yard day at Atlanta in 2013 and a 427-yard day at Philadelphia in 2014. In short, Cousins showed flashes.
Then he finally got the full-time gig this past season. Results were encouraging.
Cousins completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 4,166 yards and had 34 touchdowns (29 pass, five rush) to 11 interceptions. He also led the Redskins (9-7) to the NFC East title.
Yes, it appears that Cousins, 27, is the future of the franchise.
“He’s a hell of a player, he’s a hell of a leader for our team and the sky is the limit for him,” Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Last year, he was thrown into the starting position pretty much a week before the season started, so he didn’t really have a whole offseason to gel with his starting receivers and his offensive line. Each week was basically like a preseason game for him – like the first six weeks as he started to get acclimated with everyone. Once he started to get rolling and get familiar with the offense, he was unstoppable.”
The Redskins started the year 3-5 and 4-6 but won five of their last six games, including four straight. In those final four games, Cousins completed 74.1 percent of his passes for an average of 290 yards per game and had 14 touchdowns (12 pass, two rush) to just one interception.
Those are MVP-type numbers.
“If he has a whole offseason to really train and be with his no 1 receivers and his no. 1 offensive line and get clicking,” Baker said, “our offense will be pretty hard to stop.”