Kirk Cousins will start for the Redskins over Robert Griffin III Sunday in Atlanta, the team will likely announce today, according to multiple media reports. The decision is mostly devolving into a Mike Shanahan vs. Daniel Snyder discussion, which is accurate and terribly fun.
I’ll take the QB decision in another direction: Starting Cousins is a smart move. Here’s why:
1) The Redskins don’t have a 1st round draft pick in 2014 due to the RGIII deal. The Rams get it. That’ll be a top five pick. That’s going to sting.
2) Starting Cousins in the final three weeks against terrible pass defenses ranked in the bottom third of the league – Atlanta (allowing the highest passer rating in the NFL – 104.3), Dallas (have given up the most passing yards, 3,880, could set a record) and the New York Giants (25 sacks, 2nd lowest total in the NFL) – gives him the opportunity to shine.
4) Let’s say Cousins plays well in the final three weeks. Is 800 yards, 63% completions, eight touchdowns, and one interception going to get people excited? Then the Redskins have a tasty QB to dangle to teams, possibly for a 1st round pick, or more likely for two picks (say, 2nd and 5th).
Why toss RGIII out there for one more weekend so he can continue to get hammered behind an ineffective offensive line when you can showcase Cousins, and then possibly trade him?
Let’s say you’re Houston. You don’t want to give up the No. 1 pick, but if you can get a ready-made starter in Cousins for two later-round picks, and add Clowney with the first pick, how much of a victory is that offseason? Houston is a QB away from getting back to the playoffs.
Let’s say you’re Cleveland. You have seven of the Top 120-ish picks in the draft. You obviously need a QB. Sure, there are options in the draft, but is Cousins ready to step in and do what Nick Foles has done in Philadelphia? The Browns have a strong defense, and are basically a QB and reliable RB away from being an AFC team knocking on the playoff door. I guess the question becomes: What type of QB do Norv Turner, Rob Chudzinski and Mike Lombardi want?
Among the teams that worked out Cousins prior to the 2012 draft: Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and the … Cleveland Browns. Of course, all those teams have had massive turnover – front office or coach – so don’t read too much into that.
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Related: Report: Mike Shanahan Was Ready to Quit in January Over Dan Snyder’s Relationship with Robert Griffin III