Kirk Cousins Isn’t Elite (and that’s OK)

Another week.

Another debate with Kirk Cousins again serving as lightening rod.

Mike Freemen rope-a-doped Viking fans into engagement with this well-timed  and well executed tweet.

As this tweet harmlessly made it’s way around Vikings Twitter, Freeman had a hay-maker cocked in the chamber.

As any fan base would, we immediately circled the wagons around our #QB1.

As Eric Eager stated on this episode of the  podcast, the problem with the Kirk Cousins conversation is that it requires nuance because “he can be both good and overpaid”. Max Kellerman makes a similar argument in the clip below.

Season to date, Kirk Cousins ranks 2nd in Yards (2521), 9th in passer rating (102.5), 12th in QBR (65.2), 12th in PFF grade (82.8), 19th in TD rate (4.7%), 20th in Yards per Attempt (7.6), and 11th in Yards per Attempt (7.7) while being one of the most pressured quarterbacks in the league.

In my article (Re)Defining Franchise Quarterback, I explored how the following four factors impact quarterback performance:

  • Receiving Weapons Quality (PFF grade weighted by % of team yards)
  • QB Pressure Rate
  • Team Points Allowed Per Game
  • Team Yards per Carry

What I found is that the quality of a quarterbacks’s receiving targets is by far the most important factor to consider when looking at his surroundings’ impact on performance.  While Kirk Cousins has been pressured at a ridiculously high rate, the fact that he’s throwing to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs has allowed him to perform at a high level even while facing more pressure than he did in previous seasons (much like Sam Bradford and Case Keenum before him).

From 2013-2017, Kirk ranked 8th for his performance relative to his supporting casts in Washington. Season to date, Kirk remains in Tier 3 ranked 10th overall which puts him comfortably ahead of Alex Smith, Case Keenum, and Sam Bradford’s 2018 performances.

Kyle Segall probably summed this whole Kirk Cousins fiasco up perfectly

No Kirk Cousins isn’t in the elite QB tier with Brady, Brees, or Rodgers.

Kirk isn’t playing better than Mahomes, Rivers, Goff, Wilson, or Luck.

Kirk Cousins is a (slightly) overpaid, top 10 NFL QB and that is a-OK.

 

QB Performance Relative to Expectation (2018):

Rank Team QB Performance Relative to Expectation
1 NE 1.305
2 GB 1.267
3 NO 1.187
4 LAC 1.025
5 KC 1.004
6 IND 0.917
7 SEA 0.700
8 LAR 0.659
9 TB 0.551
10 MIN 0.541
11 DET 0.507
12 DAL 0.427
13 CLV 0.389
14 OAK 0.300
15 CAR 0.274
16 CIN 0.219
17 PHI 0.141
18 ATL 0.133
19 HST -0.039
20 BLT -0.150
21 JAX -0.348
22 TEN -0.385
23 WAS -0.534
24 SF -0.753
25 DEN -0.897
26 PIT -1.028
27 NYG -1.030
28 ARZ -1.033
29 NYJ -1.085
30 MIA -1.133
31 CHI -1.533
32 BUF -1.598

 

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