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Kirk Cousins and the Atlanta falcons QB situation.


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  Let me start off by saying that I don't have anything against Cousins and actually kind of like the guy.  That being said I think that the Falcons have overpaid for Cousins.  Now yes the Falcons needed to do something on the QB end.  Ridder wasn't it and Heinicke is not it either. 

  I think that Cousins was the guy for the Falcons to bring in however, I would have brought him in for 2 years and for (just throwing a number out there) $75M.  I get the argument of "He is a pro bowl QB, He can take us to the play offs."  and so on.  My argument is this: Cousins has been in the league for 12 seasons now and has not gotten a team to the superbowl let alone within reach. He has one playoff win.

  I get it that doesn't mean that he is a horrible QB and I agree.  I think Cousins is one heck of a QB.  For the sake of this post we won't worry about his 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons as he was a back up to RG3 but instead we will look at only the seasons he was a starter. In 2015 he took them to the playoffs by winning the NFC East with a 9-7 record and a longest win streak of 4.

  This was done with names like Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Jamison Crowder. In the end Washington lost to the Packers in the wild card round.  (I know it takes both offense and defense to win games.) Here are his stats that season: 379/543 for 4,166 yards, 29 tds, 11 int, and 26 rushes for 48 yards and 5 tds. These are some solid stats.

  The only stat one might argue he needed to fix was his ints.  But 11 in a whole season isn't god awful.  2016   they missed the playoffs with a 8-7 record.  The Giants and Cowboys outdid Washington that year.  They went 8-7 with weapons like Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Vernon Davis, and Jamison Crowder.  With this roster of weapons his stats were 406/606 for 4,917 yards, 25 tds, 12 int, and 34 rushes for 96 yards and 4 tds.  This year we saw a decrease in his rushing tds by one.  This isn't a concern as it means he had to rush less when in the red zone.

  The issue was with the increase in incompletions from 164 incompletions in 2015 to 200 in 2016 but again this isn't all horrible as it means they trusted him to throw the ball more. He did have an increase in int but by only one so I won't spend too much time here.  So between 2015 and 2016 he had to id say consistent seasons.  This is where the concern starts.  2017 Washington went 7-9. With weapons like Samaje Perine, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Vernon Davis.  With the sight change in main weapons Cousins' stats were 347/540 for 4,093 yards, 27 tds, 13 int, and 49 rushes for 179 yards and 4 tds.  This year he did keep his incompletions under 200.  He did however have a significant drop in yards this paired with another int added and the fact that he was forced to rush 35 times (benefit of the doubt and saying some were planned.) I only gave 14 as planned Cousins rushes as he isn't and never was exactly the speediest guy.   2018 he makes the big switch from Washington to Minnesota.  This was a somewhat better year for him.  The Vikings went 8-7 ending 2nd in the NFC North with only the Bears ahead of them.

  Cousins had weapons like Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Kyle Rudolph, and Tyler Conklin.  With the change to Minnesota and having these weapons as well as a change in coaching staff and location,  Cousins' stats were 425/606 for 4,298, 30 tds, 10 ints, and 44 rushes for 123 yards and 1 td.  The takeaways this year are a drop in incompletions which is good.  This is so far the lowest we have seen Cousins' ints to this point in his career.  The amount of rushes could be argued as a bit high i could take this either direction so I won't focus on this.  The fact that he only had 1 rushing touchdown either means he had to run less in the redzone or he got stopped more, or option three  which is a mix of both.  Here is our first concerning season while with the Vikings.  The Vikings did however make the playoffs.  The Vikings finished second in the NFC North with a record of 10-6 only the Packers beating them.  They won in the wildcard round beating the saints 26-20.  Then lost in the divisional round to the 49ers 27-10.  They made it to that point with weapons such as Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Conklin, and Alexander Mattison.  This year Cousins stats were depending on how you look at it a concern or not I would say they were hanging out.  307/444 for 3,603 yards and 26 tds, 6 int, and 31 rushes for 63 yards and 1 td.  We have another big drop in incompletions which we love to see.  We have a drop in yards which tells us either he wasn't able/couldn't make bigger plays.  We still have a good number of touchdowns which you love to see from Cousins.  Another drop in ints.  A drop in rushes which in a QB of Cousins style doesn't bother me at all.  I'd say rushing stats aren't concerning here.

 

  In 2020 we have the Vikings ending in third place in the NFC North with a record of 7-9.  Their weapons this season consisted of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Conklin, Alexander Mattison, K.J Osborn, and Tajae Sharpe.  With the departure of Diggs no one was sure what to expect.  Then we see Jefferson and from the jump this man is showing why he is here and what he is after.  With this great group of guys Cousins' stats were 349/516 for 4,265 yards, 35 tds, 13 ints, and 32 rushes for 156 yards and 1 td.  This season we see Cousins hit 167 incompletions again a concern but not the most he has had to this point.  I would have loved to have seen him have more pass yards.  Who knows maybe if they kept Diggs and had him and Jefferson that would have been the case.  This year we see him have the most tds of his career.  The ints however jumped back up to double digits which no one likes to see not even Kirko himself.  His rush stats we won't touch on much anymore as they aren't that concerning or that big of a factor.

 

 

  2021 honestly not a whole lot was different this season from last season.  Vikings finished 8-9 with only the Packers ahead of them in the NFC North.  Cousins' stats were scarily similar to the previous season with them being 372/561 for 4,221 yards, 33 tds, 7 ints, and 29 rushes for 115 yards and 1 td.  Really the biggest changes would be the drop in ints and the drop in amount of rushes. 

 

  2022 again not much different here but lets touch on it a little and then move on.  Vikings finish with a 13-4 record putting them on top of the NFC North with the closest being the Lions with a record of 9-8.  The only changes to weapons was the departure of Conklin and Rudolph,  then the arrival of Johnny Mundt and TJ Hockenson.  They did however lose in the wild card round to the Giants.  Cousins stats again very similar to what we are used to seeing from Cousins.  424/643 for 4,547 yards, 29 tds, 14 ints, and 31 rushes for 97 yards and 2 tds.  You never like seeing the increase in ints like I said before.  I do like seeing his yards increase though.

 

2023 the Vikings ended 7-10.  This is mainly due to Cousins tearing his achilles,  the Justin Jefferson injury definitely did not help.  Before the injury to Cousins the Vikings were on track to make the playoffs.  They were doing so well.  Lets take a look at his stats for the 8 games he did play.  216/311 for 2,331 yards, 18 tds, 5 int, and 14 rushes for 25 yards and 0 td.  Not only were the Vikings on track to make the playoffs but Cousins was on track to have the best season of his career if you ask me. 

  That brings us to now with him signing to the Falcons on a 4 year $180M deal.  He is almost 36 and coming off of an achilles tear.  You just don't know if he is going to be up to par come the start of the season.  You also don't know what to expect with age sneaking up on him.  Then the Falcons trade away Ridder but keep Heinicke.  I think that they should have kept Ridder and got rid of Heinicke.  Ridder has a similar style to Cousins and could learn alot from him.  Not to mention Ridder has the potential.  I know we are all tired of blame being put on the coaches because of all the crap with Fields but Arthur Smith was NOT a good coach the years he was with the Falcons.  Before that Dan Quinn did not utilize Kyle Pitts properly after drafting him.  Smith takes over and we see all the changes and he still doesn't utilize Kyle Pitts to the fullest.  He drafts Drake London but doesn't pair good receivers with him.  They get Cordarrell Patterson and go out and draft Avery Williams, and Tyler Allgeier.  Our running back room looked good then he goes and drafts Bijan Robinson.  Now I think that was the move after seeing him play.  However,  If he was going to do that and barely use Cordarrell Patterson he should have tried to trade him off for an extra pick whether it was for last draft or this draft.

Now Cousins is the guy to help the Falcons start their rebuilding process.  I don't think he is the guy to be their long term solution just looking at all the information.  What do you guys think?

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Kirk is a pretty good QB, he should do well here.

Am I happy about paying him 45M per year? No, definitely not. I would much rather have either Russell Wilson or Fields at their price tag along with Danielle Hunter to solidify our pass rush, then take a corner or receiver at 8.

But I ain’t the GM, the head coach, or the OC. They all got together and decided that Kirk gave us the best chance to win games this season, so we just have to go with that honestly.

He’s not a long-term solution, but his deal is structured in a way where we should be able to cut him after year 2 if we absolutely have to. The goal should be to go as far as Kirko can possibly take us and continue to build the roster for the next young QB to have success here when the time does come.

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I would agree with Justin Fields.  I felt as though he would be pretty solid on our offense.  The price wasn't bad either.  I do agree that Kirk is a good QB and is a solid choice but the price was wrong.  Now I feel that we should draft a receiver at 8 and go defense and OL after that.  Maybe at some point take a QB to learn behind Kirk.  What would you think about either of these two scenarios?  Scenario one: RD 1 Pick 8 Bo Nix to learn from Kirk then go after Defense and OL.

Scenario 2: RD 1 Pick 8 take Rome Odunze and then focus on Defense and OL.

Thoughts?

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I would hate Bo Nix at 8. Outside of the top 3 (Williams, Daniels, Maye), the only QB I would be cool with at 8 is McCarthy (if the staff fell in love with him).

Verse, Laitu, Turner, Odunze, Nabers, Arnold, and Mitchell would be my preferences at 8

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On 3/20/2024 at 1:10 PM, FalconFanRemy said:

   

  That brings us to now with him signing to the Falcons on a 4 year $180M deal.  He is almost 36 and coming off of an achilles tear.   What do you guys think?

That is all you really needed to say.  This was a bad idea.  

I will be surprised if he makes it all the way through season.  He is good at his best, but he has had a few stacked teams in MN in his prime and couldn’t get it done.  He isn’t in his prime anymore.  Not everyone keeps playing at same level into late 30s.  Brady was an exception not a new rule.  

I think your ceiling with this move is a playoff win, some high scoring exciting games in regular season and two years of decent play.  

You should have taken Fields for peanuts and seen if you could fix him.  Or build an offense around his strengths for a year. 

It is a longer shot, but has an unlimited ceiling.  If it doesn’t work out figure out another plan.  Cousins plan has a limited upside. 

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2 hours ago, dll2000 said:

That is all you really needed to say.  This was a bad idea.  

I will be surprised if he makes it all the way through season.  He is good at his best, but he has had a few stacked teams in MN in his prime and couldn’t get it done.  He isn’t in his prime anymore.  Not everyone keeps playing at same level into late 30s.  Brady was an exception not a new rule.  

I think your ceiling with this move is a playoff win, some high scoring exciting games in regular season and two years of decent play.  

You should have taken Fields for peanuts and seen if you could fix him.  Or build an offense around his strengths for a year. 

It is a longer shot, but has an unlimited ceiling.  If it doesn’t work out figure out another plan.  Cousins plan has a limited upside. 

You're right that is all I had to say.  I also feel like even if he wasn't coming off the tear I don't think he is it.  He is a good quarterback don't get me wrong.  He just isn't it.  I do agree with you that we should have gotten Fields for peanuts.  I feel like he was the best move because I feel in our offense and with Raheem Morris we could not only fix him but I think he would thrive.  Fields is the type of QB that needs a specific style offense and I think with our offense moving forward and with the new coaching staff that he would be maybe not the greatest quarterback but he would be 1000 times better than he ever was with the Bears.

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22 minutes ago, FalconFanRemy said:

You're right that is all I had to say.  I also feel like even if he wasn't coming off the tear I don't think he is it.  He is a good quarterback don't get me wrong.  He just isn't it.  I do agree with you that we should have gotten Fields for peanuts.  I feel like he was the best move because I feel in our offense and with Raheem Morris we could not only fix him but I think he would thrive.  Fields is the type of QB that needs a specific style offense and I think with our offense moving forward and with the new coaching staff that he would be maybe not the greatest quarterback but he would be 1000 times better than he ever was with the Bears.

People say Fields needs a specific type of offense.  I think (know) if you asked him he would really bristle at that. 

It is because he is such an exceptional athlete that he can make these elite runs.

His problem is he doesn't pull the trigger and then ends up running around.  It could be processing problem.  It could be fear.  It could be both.  But that is why he is no longer on Bears (that and Caleb Williams looks pretty darn good).  

He has arm, he has accuracy.  He just won't throw the football on time.  He has couple other little things.  He drops a little slow and has long windup at times (he mostly has fixed that - but falls back into his baseball throw sometimes under pressure).  

If someone can get him to drop back process and throw football in under 3 seconds, you have an elite QB on your hands.

Or you could simply go Baltimore and build in a bunch more designed QB runs that open up throws for him.  Make passing game easier as everyone has to play run first all time to stop it.  Atl could have done that.  They have great personnel for it.   Most OCs hate it and want to run what they know though.  They don't like being outside box or creative.

 

 

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Just now, dll2000 said:

 

Or you could simply go Baltimore and build in a bunch more designed QB runs that open up throws for him.  Make passing game easier as everyone has to play run first all time to stop it.  Atl could have done that.  They have great personnel for it.   Most OCs hate it and want to run what they know though.  They don't like being outside box or creative.

 

 

Note:   Bears did just that with worse personnel and worst defense in football for a handful of games in '22 and led league in scoring for that time.

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40 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

People say Fields needs a specific type of offense.  I think (know) if you asked him he would really bristle at that. 

It is because he is such an exceptional athlete that he can make these elite runs.

His problem is he doesn't pull the trigger and then ends up running around.  It could be processing problem.  It could be fear.  It could be both.  But that is why he is no longer on Bears (that and Caleb Williams looks pretty darn good).  

He has arm, he has accuracy.  He just won't throw the football on time.  He has couple other little things.  He drops a little slow and has long windup at times (he mostly has fixed that - but falls back into his baseball throw sometimes under pressure).  

If someone can get him to drop back process and throw football in under 3 seconds, you have an elite QB on your hands.

Or you could simply go Baltimore and build in a bunch more designed QB runs that open up throws for him.  Make passing game easier as everyone has to play run first all time to stop it.  Atl could have done that.  They have great personnel for it.   Most OCs hate it and want to run what they know though.  They don't like being outside box or creative.

 

 

You have a lot of valid points. I think that Morris possibly could have given Fields the confidence and tweaks he needed.

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6 minutes ago, FalconFanRemy said:

You have a lot of valid points. I think that Morris possibly could have given Fields the confidence and tweaks he needed.

We will never know now.  Oh well. 

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