You couldn’t cover a Redskins game in 2016 without commenting on Kirk Cousins’s future, and so it was for Fox analyst John Lynch. The former safety, who helped broadcast a handful of Redskins games last season, offered some extended thoughts on Cousins during the last one he worked, the December win in Philadelphia. It wasn’t one of Cousins’s best showings, but it was a come-from-behind road victory, spurred by a second-half offense, against an NFC East rival.
And before all that happened, Lynch weighed in on the hottest of hot topics.
“You know, there’s a lot of talk in Washington, should this be our guy moving forward, is he really [worth] a $20 million contract?” Lynch began. “You’ve got to take your head off the figure, off the number. I think that scares people. That’s the going rate, folks. You may not like it, but it’s the going rate for good quarterbacks. This guy is a really good quarterback. He’s earned the right, in my mind, to be the Redskins’ quarterback moving forward.”
Almost immediately, Cousins completed a pass to Pierre Garcon.
“I mean, look at this throw,” Lynch went on. “I remember when they had Robert Griffin humming. [A team official] said, ‘John, you ought to see this kid, Kirk Cousins, throw the football. He can throw it with anyone in this league.’ I mean, that’s a confident throw in a tight window. Big-time quarterbacking by Kirk Cousins.”
Kind words from a Fox analyst. Except Lynch is no longer a Fox analyst. He’s now the new general manager for the San Francisco 49ers, a quarterback-starved, downtrodden team ready for a major reboot. Oh, and a team that is expected to hire Kyle Shanahan as its head coach next month. Which suddenly makes you wonder an awful lot what Lynch thinks of Cousins. So here’s more.
On Washington’s red-zone struggles
“It doesn’t really make sense because they run the ball very effectively, and typically that translates,” Lynch said. “I think Kirk Cousins, he struggled early [in the season], had a couple turnovers. I think it spooked him and his coaches all year long.”
Even more on that topic
“I really do, I think Kirk Cousins is a very conscientious guy,” Lynch said. “He likes being perfect. He threw a couple picks down here early. I think it’s got him a little gun-shy. You’ve got to let it go in the red zone to be successful.”
On an early pass to Garcon
“That’s a big-time throw,” Lynch said, “all the way from the middle of the field to outside, puts it to where only Garcon can get it.”
On a touchdown fade to Garcon
“Absolutely beautiful,” Lynch said. “That’s been a much-criticized play, the fade. People in Washington feel like they go to it a little too much down in this area. … What touch by Kirk Cousins. He continues to make his case that he’s the quarterback moving forward.”
On a throw across the field
“He throws a lot of balls like that that are really difficult, all the way across the field,” Lynch said. “What it makes you do, it makes you defend the entire field. You can’t just say he’s not throwing here. An impressive quarterback, in my mind.”
On a late fourth-down completion to Garcon
“Credit to Kirk Cousins for throwing a dart,” Lynch said. “That’s clutch stuff by Kirk Cousins and Pierre Garcon.”
Of course, that wasn’t the only Redskins game Lynch saw. He also saw the tie with Cincinnati in London.
And the win over the Eagles in October.
(“This oozes confidence,” Lynch said after one throw in that win. “That’s what it is. He’s getting back, hitting and letting it go, and you can see how he’s expressing the ball. When you throw on time in this league, you aren’t going to get in trouble. He’s been struggling to do that, but he’s letting it go today. Kirk Cousins, having himself a heck of a game.”)
And, hey, even a Patriots game last season.
So anyhow…I don’t know that Cousins’s bargaining position necessarily took a hit with this latest NFL front-office hire.