just got off phone w/ Mike Shanahan. Loves cousins. "Kirk Cousins is a franchise QB he will be a top 10 QB in this league no doubt about it"— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) August 31, 2015
If you’ll recall, this is a big jump from what Shanahan said to 106.7 The Fan two weeks ago. “I think Kirk Cousins has got a big-time future,” he said, as Dan Steinberg noted. “He’s a starter in the National Football League, and that’ll be proven out in time.”
Of course, Mike Shanahan was not exactly the most erudite of talent evaluators when it came to the quarterback position. Don’t forget that in 2010, he benched Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman. The next year, Shanahan very literally went on to put his reputation on the line for Grossman and John Beck.
“You talk about a guy not being experienced, I believe in the guys. I believe in them,” Shanahan said back in 2011. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I put my reputation on these guys that they can play.” Needless to say, that didn’t work out, and Shanahan hasn’t returned to coaching in the NFL since he was fired after a 3-13 year.
Which leads you to question why Shanahan is still so high on Cousins. This afternoon, Cian Fahey of PreSnap Reads broke down some of Cousins’ throws last year. Of course, these are all very specific examples with their own circumstances around each one, but still worth remembering nonetheless. Among them:
RE the first gif. Yeah, it's Q4 00:29 down by a field goal. He'd get a pass there if he pushed ball downfield, but he didn't.— Cian (@Cianaf) August 31, 2015
When you remember what Cousins actually played like, it becomes a tad more understandable why Dan Snyder might have wanted to consider keeping Robert Griffin III as long as he has. With a backup that is not appreciably better, the owner has every right to push back on his so-called quarterback guru of a head coach to work with what he’s got. Instead, now you’ve got a situation where your star player is a laughing stock, and another former player is openly wondering if even this last move wasn’t the right one.
RG3 is kinda like the guy whose been divorced multiple times. okay, maybe it's not you, but...— Brian Billick (@CoachBillick) August 31, 2015
QOD- so with everything going on in Washington, how long till we see Colt McCoy entering as the starting Qb cause of bad play?— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) August 31, 2015
It’s a fair question. At the beginning of training camp, when Bob was the presumed starter, Jay Gruden had an elaborate plan to get both guys both second and third team reps in an even-handed manner. To this point in the preseason, neither has been particularly stellar or poor. Gruden cited the need to eliminate all distractions for the season as his reasoning for saying “It’s Kirk’s team,” rather than say, just naming him as the Week 1 starter.
Kirk Cousins might be the guy in the driver’s seat now, but if Colt McCoy looks stellar in a starter-free tilt against the Jacksonsville Jaguars, we’ll all continue to wonder what it’ll take to get him in for a game that actually does count.