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Why Kirk Cousins is Great Example of What Happens When You Have FULL Support

Kirk Cousins RG3

This was never about RG3 vs. Kirk Cousins.

It was never about (or it shouldn’t have been about) wanting one to succeed over the other one. This was simply about creating an atmosphere where one could succeed and the other couldn’t.

The day Jay Gruden was hired, RG3 was never going to succeed, because his coach never believed in him. He didn’t draft him, he didn’t fit his style of offense and he just didn’t like how RG3 carried himself.

RG3 always felt Kirk Cousins’ presence from the day they drafted him. There is a reason you don’t draft two young quarterbacks, because they both are young, hungry and want to start. Any time you draft a quarterback in the first couple of rounds it can cause a division on a team.

Most highly drafted quarterbacks don’t have to deal with that. Andrew Luck’s backup is 100 years old. Can you name Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston and etc backups?

They are no threats to them and it allows those quarterbacks to make mistakes and learn without fear.

RG3 came back too soon from knee injury because he was afraid Kirk Cousins would take his job, if his backup was some unknown QB, that wouldn’t have happened. Every mistake RG3 made it was magnified because Cousins was waiting in the wings.

The old saying goes when you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any.

Jay Gruden never gave his full backing to RG3 and he wanted Kirk Cousins to take the job last year, but Kirk faltered because he simply didn’t have the experience, but it was obvious who the coach wanted to succeed.

There was a divide in the Redskins locker room, some players even prefer Colt McCoy. Media leaks from players, coaches, GMs and management just escalated the divide. It was a toxic situation that neither RG3, McCoy or Cousins could succeed in.

They should have traded or released RG3 in the offseason, but they kept him around and things were still really really bad.

That is when Jay Gruden did two things.

1- He went back on his word.
2- He finally did what he had wanted to do from the beginning.

He lied when he said RG3 was his guy and would get his full support for the season. While not admitting his lie, he did the next best thing by installing Cousins as the starter when RG3 was perfectly fine to start after suffering a concussion.

Gruden finally had his guy and if he was going to get fired he was going to go out making the decision he wanted to make a long time ago.

He didn’t just name Cousins the starter, he made him DA MAN. He emphasized this by demoted RG3 to 3rd string so even if Cousins struggled, he wouldn’t be looking over shoulder. If he did look over his shoulder he would just see a braided guy in a sweatsuit.

Cousins did indeed struggle.

In his first 8 games he threw for 10 TDs, 9 INTs and the Redskins were 3-5.

In 2014, Cousins started 5 games went 1-4 while throwing 10 TDs and 9 INTs.

So, essentially he was on the same path in 2015, but the HUGE difference is there was no drama, no looking over his shoulder, no splitting reps and his head coach was shielding him by taking a lot of the blame for his mistakes.

Knowing that he had an opportunity to work through his mistakes and it was his team win, lose or draw, Cousins started to figure some things out.

Also the team who was so use to drama didn’t fall apart, because there was a CLEAR DIRECTION. Cousins was the guy and they needed to support him because if he failed, they failed. What you saw in the next 7 games was a team united and free of the stress, the lies and drama that had plagued them the years before.

Specifically, Gruden didn’t have to lie RG3 anymore, because he had his QB. When a QB and head coach are in synch that is when good things happened. The coach has to be FULLY committed to that quarterback or it won’t work.

In the last 7 games, Cousins has thrown for 16 TDs, 2 INTs and the Redskins have went 5-2. Is Cousins Tom Brady, of course not, but he has stabilized the position and played better as the season went on. This is what happened when everyone is on the same page.

I am fairly confident that a healthy RG3 is capable of taking a team to an 9-7 or 8-8 record, but he was never going to do that with the Redskins. You put a healthy RG3 on the Cowboys (after Romo gets hurt), Texans, Browns or Eagles, I believe their records are better than they are now.

So once again this has nothing to do with Kirk Cousins and RG3 individually, because I think both their career paths are yet to be clearly defined. RG3 should take this season as a blessing and a lesson.

I don’t think RG3 ever fully recovered from his initial knee injury. I think his knee was sound, but he just never got his body right. I think physically and mentally he needed a break and he got it this year. RG3 turns 26 in February, by comparison Kirk Cousins will be 28 by the start of next season. RG3 has a lot of football left in him.

Hopefully, he learned from some of the mistakes he made. I am not talking about trademarks and Subway commercials, but how the media can manipulate certain things and to be very careful how honest you are with them. Sometimes it is better to tell the pretty lie over the ugly truth.  He has done a great job of keeping his mouth closed and not doing anything that would disrupt the team’s success.

The second thing RG3 has to do is make sure he goes to a team that is 100000000% behind him sink or swim. He has to be the undisputed starter (or have a clear understanding of backup role if he chooses that route) and the coach has to believe in him. I don’t care if the team starts 0-4, he has to be given a real shot to show he wasn’t a one-year wonder. I think the Texans would be a great landing spot for him. A solid defense, an A+ WR and a loyal coach (if he wants him). The Texans have looked for a franchise QB for a while and I think going back to Texas where RG3 is beloved would be great for him. I have no clue if RG3 will be a good QB in the league, but he should get the opportunity to prove people wrong or right, without looking over his shoulder.

As far as Kirk Cousins, he is going to get paid in the offseason either by the Redskins or someone else. But, with great power (or money) comes great responsibility. The RG3 crutch will be gone and he will have to stand on his own.

A good season has gotten a lot of players a nice contract only to see them fall off the map quickly.

The media and fans are a fickle bunch especially in the social media age, so Kirk needs to be aware, they build you up to just tear you down. Stay focused, keep improving and take advantage of the great opportunity in front of you.

Jay Gruden bet his job on this decision and in the end it was best for all that was involved.