Cousins an­swers quar­ter­back ques­tion — again

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - THOM LOVERRO

More than four years ago in Chicago, Kirk Cousins told ev­ery­one that he would be the Wash­ing­ton Redskins start­ing quar­ter­back.

In a pre­sea­son game against the Bears nearly four months af­ter Mike Shana­han ru­ined Cousins’ day by calling him and telling him the Redskins had drafted him in the fourth round — be­hind star rookie quar­ter­back Robert Grif­fin III — Cousins put on a per­for­mance that should have told ev­ery­one he was more than just a fourthround pick.

He com­pleted

18 of 23 passes for

264 yards and three touch­downs in a 33-31 pre­sea­son loss to the Bears.

Few peo­ple were pay­ing at­ten­tion, though. They were in the ini­tial stages of RGIII blind­ness.

Not Bears an­a­lyst and for­mer quar­ter­back (and fel­low Michi­gan State alum)

Jim Miller, who told ev­ery­one, “Kirk Cousins, let’s put it this way. I hate quar­ter­back con­tro­ver­sies, but af­ter how (Cousins has) played so far, peo­ple are go­ing to say that.”

Not ev­ery­one said that. I did, though, when I wrote, “Don’t be­lieve the hype. There’s a quar­ter­back con­tro­versy in Wash­ing­ton.”

Did I see the demise of RGIII com­ing? No, but you saw that day that Cousins was an NFL start­ing quar­ter­back. And you saw it again Satur­day in Wash­ing­ton’s 41-21 win over the Bears in Chicago.

He com­pleted 18 of 29 passes for 270 yards, one touch­down and no in­ter­cep­tions, plus he rushed for 30 yards and two touch­downs.

Nearly every time he touched the ball, Cousins broke or tied a Redskins pass­ing record — some of his own that he had set last year.

He is now at a record 4,630 pass­ing yards for the sea­son. He threw a touch­down in his 18th con­sec­u­tive road game,

ty­ing Joe Theis­mann for the long­est streak of road games with a pass­ing touch­down.

These are records that have been in ex­is­tence for decades. Jay Schroeder had the Redskins sin­gle sea­son pass­ing record since 1986 un­til Cousins broke it last year. Theis­mann set the road game touch­down record from 1982 to 1985.

Do you know how many start­ing quar­ter­backs between then and now have gone un­der cen­ter wear­ing a Wash­ing­ton Redskins uni­form? The num­ber is 27 who have come and gone since those records were set.

Yet here we are, more than four years af­ter Cousins put ev­ery­one on no­tice about his abil­ity, and we are still, as Jim Miller and my­self said, in a quar­ter­back con­tro­versy in Wash­ing­ton, ex­cept now it is between Kirk Cousins and, I don’t know, let’s say Joe Mon­tana. Or Tom Brady. Or any other nearly im­pos­si­ble stan­dard to mea­sure him against.

I know why Jim Miller said he didn’t like quar­ter­back con­tro­ver­sies. They can get messy. Most of them are far re­moved from the fond mem­ory of the com­pe­ti­tion between friends like Sonny Jur­gensen and Billy Kilmer. Some are very ugly, like the Jay Schroeder-Doug Wil­liams de­bate from 30 years ago.

This one — Cousins vs. Su­perquar­ter­back — reeks of some ug­li­ness among the Redskins fan base, a com­bi­na­tion of RGIII re­sent­ment and worse agenda-driven claims. Those claims should stick in the throats of the Cousins bash­ers — like these words prob­a­bly did for Cousins more than four years ago af­ter he went out there in Chicago and made the case that he was more than a fourth-round backup.

“I think that this is Robert’s team,” Cousins told re­porters af­ter his pre­sea­son Chicago per­for­mance in 2012. “The coaches have made that very clear. It’s my job to do the best I can in my sit­u­a­tion and in my op­por­tu­ni­ties. And that’s what I’m try­ing to do.”

This is Robert’s team. How many times would he have to par­rot that party line for the next three sea­sons? How sick do you think it made Cousins to say that over and over again? Sick enough that those words still stick in his throat, if and/or when he would have the op­tion of leav­ing this fran­chise?

It’s pos­si­ble that Sun­day’s sea­son fi­nale against the New York Giants could be the last time Wash­ing­ton (8-6-1) fans see Cousins at FedEx Field in a Redskins uni­form — not likely, but pos­si­ble.

As the whole world, free and oth­er­wise, knows, he is play­ing un­der a $20 mil­lion fran­chise tag this sea­son with no team com­mit­ment be­yond that. It’s likely that, if the Redskins and Cousins fail to make a long-term con­tract deal this off sea­son, he will play un­der the fran­chise tag again next sea­son, this time for $24 mil­lion (no one is go­ing to have to hold any bake sales for Cousins years from now).

But it is pos­si­ble Wash­ing­ton (owner Daniel Sny­der, pres­i­dent Bruce Allen, gen­eral man­ager Scot McCloughan) could balk at that and get out of the Cousins busi­ness, as in­sane as that sounds.

It’s crazy to think that Cousins, af­ter what he’s done the past cou­ple of sea­sons, isn’t the Redskins’ start­ing quar­ter­back for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Then again, it seemed just as in­sane on that Au­gust day in Chicago in 2012 to think that he was.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wash­ing­ton Redskins quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins was 18-for-29 pass­ing for 270 yards, one touch­down and two rush­ing touch­downs Satur­day.

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