How Bad Is Atlanta's Pass Defense? Rookies Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel, and Mike Glennon Have Put Up Pro Bowl Numbers Against Them

Can Kirk Cousins be as good as Geno against Atlanta?

Kirk Cousins gets to play against the Atlanta Falcons this week, in his first start of 2013. Jason McIntyre already wrote about why it could be a good move to showcase him now (and Daniel Snyder gets to let Mike Shanahan take the fall for that decision).

Just how good does Cousins need to do in order to move past “anybody can do that against the Falcons” to special territory? Let’s put this in perspective.

Atlanta is allowing opposing quarterbacks to average a 104.3 passer rating.

It’s not like they’ve played a murderer’s row of quarterbacks, either. Three of the games have come against Drew Brees and Tom Brady. They have also played Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. That makes up 5 of the 13 starts. After that, the next best quarterback they have faced is Carson Palmer.

Then, you get Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, and Matt Flynn, along with four games against rookies Mike Glennon, E.J. Manuel, and Geno Smith.

Those three (in four games) have put up the following numbers: 80 of 119 (67.2%), 896 yards (7.5 ypa), 8 td, 0 int.

Against the rest of the league, they are completing 56.5% of passes, 6.6 yards per attempt, and have thrown 24 tds to 33 interceptions. Basically, playing like rookies. Against Atlanta, they fall somewhere between what Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers have done on the season, on the efficiency scale.

Washington better hope that teams don’t realize just how bad Atlanta has been when they compare Kirk Cousins and try to evaluate his three starts.

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