One of the easier, and timeless, questions when talking sports…merely asking if an athlete is good…isn’t so easy in this case.
A couple weeks ago I was listening to my favorite sports talk radio show. They brought in NFL analyst Aaron Schatz and asked him rapid fire questions. He answered them all quickly and confidently. If he had to elaborate, he’d support his answers with statistics and facts, without wavering.
He was very matter-of-fact and never hesitated.
Then came the $64,000 question…
Is Kirk Cousins good?
Schotts, paused for a moment, took a breath, and told the guys he can’t answer that.
It was too tough of a question, he said.
I just laughed and thought to myself, what a great question.
He went on to say its because it’s the only question where all the analytics and statistics point you one way, while the scouts, coaches, front office, and fans often point you the other.
I love that.
I love how a quarterback can be in the league for damn near a decade and no one knows for sure whether he’s good or not.
And with Kirk, it seems like you can ask the question every week and get a different answer.
I decided to do my own research on the subject, just for comic relief.
So I sporadically throughout the last couple days texted friends and family in my contact list simply: Is Kirk Cousins good?
The responses I received did not disappoint.
Here are some of the those answers:
—“I think he’s good. I don’t think he’s great, certainly not consistently.”
—“Average, I wouldn’t say good or bad. I’d take Tannehill over him. Tannehill has good pocket awareness. One thing I notice when I watch the Vikings is he [Cousins] has no pocket awareness. Well, I guess he does sometimes when he’s playing good.”
—“All depends on the day. Great qb’s are consistently great. Kirk isn’t consistent. Fitzmagic falls under the same category.”
—“Not in the clutch that’s for sure.”
—“Historically I haven’t thought Kirk Cousins was worth his money. But this year I’ve seen him finish a couple games really well and seem to make a lotta good passes. His problem this year was no defense to help him out…my humble opinion…also he needs to work on being more fierce. Like I said before, no one seems to be really afraid of him.”
—“Only in Fantasy.”
—“Well here’s my unprofessional opinion. He’s good enough, obviously not a great NFL QB though that will ever just put teams on his back and pull off miracle wins. He’s good enough to win but needs some stars around him, most notably on defense it appears. I’d take him over Foles, Flacco, Dilfer, and probably Eli.”
—“Ehh, I’d say he’s in the top half, whatever that means. Definitely throws too many picks.”
—“That’s a tough question. I think his skills are good. I don’t know that he sees his second, third, or fourth option very well. But maybe that’s because he’s afraid of getting sacked, which is probably a real thing.”
—“I think he is serviceable. Other teams have won a super bowl with less. Zimmer on the other hand…”
—“No.” (For the record, this is one of my jackass friends who clearly wasn’t in the mood and was just trying to make me angry. He’s the one outlier of the group. And if I would’ve hit him up at another random time I most likely would have received a different answer.)
—“Better than [Andy] Dalton.”
—“If I think [Derek] Carr is good, I gotta think Cousins is good. Kinda the same player. I always wonder if Aaron Rodgers would be the Aaron Rodgers we know if he’d been drafted by the Raiders. Would Carr be a household name if he played for the Patriots?”
—“Man, he’s inconsistent.”
—“I think he is kinda good. Seems to be a pretty accurate passer. In the top 15 in my opinion. I haven’t watched him enough to give too much more of a detailed breakdown. It seems when he plays the Bears and is pressured he gets rattled a bit. I would assume that may be a weakness.”
—“It depends how healthy Dalvin Cook is.”
(That last answer is my favorite.)
The best part of this whole thing was my mother’s response. I won’t say which one of the above is hers, but it’s one of the more detailed and well thought-out answers I received. I wasn’t expecting that.
The bottom line here is how comedic this question actually is. How is there only one person merely saying yes or no? No one even answered the question. Everyone just veered off into space.
For the record, if someone texted this question to me, randomly and completely out of the blue, I would have done the same thing. I would have written them a book…without ever directly answering the question.
I’m surprised I didn’t get the “well he’s played quarterback in the NFL for years, so he must be pretty good at it…” or “If you’re one of the top 32 in the world at something you do, you must good,” type of answer thrown in there somewhere.
But beyond that, when we are talking seriously about the elite of the elite…32 starting quarterback positions…’Is Kirk Cousins one of the good ones?’ might be the most intriguing question in the NFL.
I think I’ve indirectly answered the question in several different ways throughout the season when writing about him and the team. It’s just funny to me that there is basically no definitive answer.
There’s a saying amongst baseball people, when you ask them if someone is a hall-of-famer. If you have to think about it, the answer is no.
Maybe that’s exactly what we have here with Kirk Cousins. Maybe the answer is an easy ‘no’ but the universe has us clamoring for excuses for him, while still holding out hope.
Or maybe the public sees a guy making 35-40 million dollars a year and figures he has to be good at what he does…doesn’t he?
Whatever the case may be, since he joined the Vikings he’s had the best three statistical seasons of his career. And no Vikings quarterback in history has been anywhere near as productive as he has, numbers-wise, over a three year span.
Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, and Brett Favre all had one season in a Vikings uniform where they were closely comparable.
All three of those guys made their teams better during those years. Two of them carried the Vikings deep into the playoffs.
In 2017 the Vikings finished 13-3.
Since signing Kirk Cousins in 2018 Minnesota has missed the playoffs two out of three years.
During that time he’s completed 69% of his passes and thrown 88 touchdown passes against 29 interceptions.
Here are Tom Brady’s numbers the last 3 seasons: 64% completion percentage, 89 touchdown passes, 29 interceptions. 1 Super Bowl victory, with a chance for another this year.
Basically the exact same, minus the super bowl(s).
Hmmm,…So is Kirk Cousins good?
Well, here’s the thing…