Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw four interceptions in the 45-14 loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 25, must improve on third down situations. According to CSN Washington, his passer rating of 44.4 on third down is the worst among starting NFL quarterbacks this season.
If there's one aspect Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins must improve on, it's third down situations.
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According to CSN Washington's Rich Tandler, Cousins' 44.1 passer rating on third down is the worst among current NFL starting quarterbacks:
"If Kirk Cousins wants to lay a solid claim to the starting quarterback job for the Washington Redskins -- or of any NFL team, for that matter -- he is going to have to improve his performance on third down.
"That's the money down for an offense and, by extension, for a quarterback. But after nearly three full games Kirk Cousins is not cashing in. His passer rating of 44.1 on third down is the worst of any of the regular QBs in the NFL.
"Cousins has completed 15 of 27 third-down passes (55.6 completion percentage) for 172 yards (6.4 yards/attempt) with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has been sacked three times on third down.
"To compare, in what was widely panned as a mediocre to poor 2013 season for Robert Griffin III, he completed 60.4 percent of his third-down passes with seven touchdowns, he was able to pad his passer rating some with completions that were meaningless.
"Cousins had 15 third-down pass attempts and three completions that did not result in a first down so his rating is not made to look artificially better with meaningless completions. But the rating is still dismal even after a good start.
"After he came in for Griffin in the first quarter of the Jaguars game, Cousins went eight for eight on third downs. Six of the completions were good for first downs and his passer rating was a stellar 114.6. Against the (Philadelphia) Eagles, Cousins dropped to five completions in 12 attempts, and a rating of 59.7. The bottom fell out against the Giants when he went two for seven for 14 yards with two interceptions, a rating of zero.
"It should be noted that Cousins was set up for success against the (Jacksonville) Jaguars and, particularly, against the Eagles to a much greater extent than he was against New York. Against Jacksonville, Cousins had an average of 6.3 yards to go for the first when he passed on third down. In Philadelphia it was 5.3. But against the Giants he needed nine yards on average.
"It's fair to say here that this is a small sample size, a total of 27 pass attempts over the course of three games. And Cousins had at least several more games under center to try to improve on third downs.
"But improve it he must, or his big chance to establish himself as a bona fide NFL quarterback will end up passing him by."
The Washington Times' Todd Dybas summarizes how Cousins' 2014 NFL season has gone so far:
"When (Robert) Griffin (III) dislocated his left ankle in Week 2, Cousins stepped in with aplomb. He completed 67 percent of his passes against the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars.
"The upbeat work continued early against Philadelphia. Cousins started 12-for-13 at the home of brotherly grumpiness. At that point, combined with his first game against Jacksonville, Cousins was completing 73.9 percent of his passes.
"A rapid and harsh shift followed. He was just 18-for-35 the rest of the day in Philadelphia. Last Thursday, he finished 19-for-33. That 54.4 percent completion rate would put him 31st in the league among qualified passers. Overall, he's tied with Detroit's Matthew Stafford for 23rd in the NFL. He's also tied for the league lead in interceptions after throwing the eighth-most attempts.
"This isn't new. Cousins played 45 games at Michigan State and threw 30 interceptions. He's played 11 games in the NFL and thrown 15 interceptions. He's also fumbled five times.
"Though, considering he's played only 11 games and will be starting just his third this season, the perpetual tussle between optimism and cynicism is underway. Cousins, 26, has a small body of work where he has put together potent games. Last season he threw for 381 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in an end-of-year start. Against the Eagles, Cousins picked up 427 passing yards, which was fourth-most for a regular-season game in Redskins history.
"But, he's countered those high-end numbers with abysmal days that make him appear incapable of being a long-term quarterback in the NFL."
Cousins has thrown for 2,254 yards, 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 11 career regular-season games with the Redskins through Oct. 1, per ESPN stats.
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