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Kirk Cousins Receives Unusual Love from Pro Football Focus

At the end of the 2020 season, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was placed at the No. 11 spot of Pro Football Focus’ year-end quarterback grades. It’s the same territory where passers like Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr lived. For context, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson were the highest-graded signal-callers during the pandemic season. Dwayne Haskins, Jalen Hurts, and Nick Mullens were among the worst for starting quarterbacks.

Cousins routinely accrues upper-echelon PFF scores, normally hovering around #10 – sometimes tipping the scales toward the top in the month of November. Thanksgiving month is a famously good one for Cousins throughout his nine-year career.

However, when Cousins hops into the Top 10 of anything, folks get flustered. A camp of fans lasers in on “quarterback record” as an end-all stat for performance, just as a person might incessantly point at Mike Trout in baseball as the sole proprietor of the Los Angeles Angels win-loss record. That doesn’t happen to Trout, though. Why? Because baseball is a team sport, dependent on the collective output of the team on offense and defense. On quarterbacks in the NFL, they are accountable for everything – for some reason.

And that’s what follows Cousins. In the minds of the QB Record crowd, he does not do enough to carry the Vikings (or Washington Football team before 2018) on his shoulder blades. His personal, nevermind-the-team-aspect QB record is exactly average: 51-51-2 (.500). That’s the same percentage that Eli Manning possessed when he called it quits a couple of seasons ago. Cousins has started in 104 games since 2012, winding up exactly at average. Another quarterback in the annals of Vikings history, Fran Tarkenton, through 104 starts was significantly lower than Cousins via win percentage. Tarkenton was 41-59-4 (.413) in his first 104 starts. Few Vikings enthusiasts realize this – or just blatantly ignore it because it vehemently pumps the brakes on anti-Kirk fodder.

This is why a pair of 2021 QB Rankings, authored by PFF personalities, was so perplexing this week.

Here is the first batch:

 

George Chahrouri placed the Vikings quarterback at #10, notably higher Justin Herbert and Ryan Tannehill – two men that usually outpace Cousins on lists like these.

Then, Eric Eager – who is not overly optimistic about the Vikings on any given day – ranked Cousins even loftier than that.

 

This one caused online riots because Cousins is further up the pecking order than Lamar Jackson. You will be hard-pressed to find any list or set of rankings anywhere on earth in which Cousins supersedes Jackson.

To be clear – these are not fantasy football rankings or a weird outlier criteria. Sometimes, power rankings can be misconstrued as fantasy criteria and overall ability do not exactly coagulate. But the Chahrouri and Eager illustrations above are honest-to-goodness “2021 Forecast” quarterback power rankings.

If only for a period of days, the enthusiasm surrounding Cousins is curiously high. Other lists toss Cousins down in the twenties. Chris Simms, often lauded for quarterback analysis (especially draft prognostication), situated Cousins at #16 a couple of weeks ago.

We’re about two months away from determining if Cousins is a Top 10 passer in 2021 or a mediocre one. Somebody’s gotta be wrong.

Dustin Baker

Writer. Host of Bleav in Vikings Podcast w/B-Mac & Baker.

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cka2nd
cka2nd
29 days ago

Interesting that neither of them seem to be projecting that Deshaun Watson will play in 2021, otherwise he’d be in their top 10 QB’s forecast for the season, no?

They might both believe that Justin Herbert is due for a sophomore slump, especially with the change in coaching staff. That’s reasonable.

Interesting that Eager sees a big comeback for Matt Ryan this year with Atlanta’s new coaching staff. Does he also think the dreaded “They’ve figured him out!” moment will arrive for Jackson this year?

That Cousins is on both lists doesn’t surprise me all that much. Both the offense and the defense should be in the top 10 of the league in points scored and points allowed, respectively, maybe the top 5 if the injury bug is mild this year and the OL gels sooner than later. Cousins should therefore be on his best team as a pro, assuming the OL and the OC are both better than their 2018 counterparts, and they should be, so he has a legit chance at being his best.

My dark horse candidate for a Top 10 QB this season is Matthew Stafford, who’s stats may not be all that much above his career norm, but if he does what he’s historically done with 4th Quarter Comebacks and Game-Winning Drives for a contender in a stacked division – the reason they traded for him, in my opinion – the Rams might not just win the division, but make a deep playoff run.

Matt
Matt
29 days ago

George has Tannehill two spots above Cousins. You wrote he had Cousins higher.

Todd
Todd
Reply to  Matt
29 days ago

Saw that too…there’s always errors and misspelled words in these articles. They could use an editor.

cka2nd
cka2nd
29 days ago

Huh? Where’d my first comment go, or is it in moderation? Hmm.

Super dark horse candidate for a Top 10 QB in 2021: Teddy Bridgewater. Before last year, his combined 4th Quarter Comeback and Game-Winning Drive rate was 19.44%, having pulled one or the other off in 7 of 36 possible regular season games (as a starter or a replacement with time to win) from 2014 through 2019. That’s better than the career regular season 4QC/GWD rates of Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Mahomes, Cousins and Flacco, and Matt Ryan’s rate since 2013. It’s behind the career rates of Stafford, Wilson, Prescott and Ryan. If Teddy gets a chance to start this year (in Denver or, say, Green Bay) and can get back to his late-in-the-game winning ways after he failed in, what, nine attempts with a rebuilding Panthers team last year, he could lead his team to the playoffs and revive his career as a NFL starter.

JAG
JAG
29 days ago

Keep sucking him off Dustin, and he’ll keep going 8-8/7-9/9-7!!!! Sure he’s awesome against the LOLions, Jets and other clown teams like that, but he still hasn’t beaten the Bears and he’s ALMOST NEVER the best QB in any given game or head to head matchup that they have throughout the year. We’ve seen his ceiling, and it was a fluky wildcard win followed by an embarrassing de-pantsing in the divisional round

Bob
Bob
Reply to  JAG
29 days ago

Actually, Cousins and the Vikings beat the Bears on a Monday night game on Nov. 16, 2020. The score was 19 – 13. Check it out here: https://www.denverpost.com/2020/11/16/kirk-cousins-vikings-overcome-patterson-chicago-bears/

Craig
Craig
Reply to  JAG
29 days ago

You’re wrong about Cousins not beating the Bears. He and the Vikings did it last year in a Monday night game on Nov. 16.

BidenCheated
BidenCheated
Reply to  JAG
29 days ago

He beat the Bears LAST YEAR DUMBASS. Cousins outperforms Rodgers and Wilson EVERY game!!!

Paula
Paula
Reply to  JAG
29 days ago

Cousins and the Vikings defeated the Bears AT Soldier Field AND beat the Packers AT Lambeau last year.

Greg singleton
29 days ago

Prediction :Kirk cousins 2021 mvp!!!

qckappa
qckappa
29 days ago

I also think KC is a 7th or 8th place qb.

Finfineman
Finfineman
28 days ago

Cousins is a pocket quarterback. Stop asking him to be something he isnt. He is also very accurate while many of the run around quarterbacks arent. If you give him a clean pocket, he is very very good. The Vikings havent done that. That is on Spielman and Zimmer. They knew what they were getting when they went after him. Seattle hasnt asked Wilson to be primarily pocket passer. They are too smart for that. Same with the Cardinals, Ravens etc. Give Cousins a clean pocket and he will give you what you ask for. Keep getting a thousand cornerbacks and and play chess pieces with the offensive and line and you will get what you get.

Bree Loriau
28 days ago

Well said, Kirk Cousins are making their position very good. No doubt, their record for pro football form the last last couple month is rocking. Now they are receives Unusual Love from Pro Football Focus. That is a good thing for their confident. And now it Heavy duty darts mat to follow them. Thanks for sharing, no doubt this is one of the best site is putting quality content over sports updates and news. It is more likely to follow you. 

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