Are Kirk Cousins and the Redskins in Trouble Already?

kirk-cousins-steelersKirk Cousins had a breakout year in 2015, tallying career-high stats and leading the Redskins to the playoffs. His reward was a large one-year deal worth $19.95 million.

The reason for the one-year deal is that Washington wants to make sure that Cousins is set for long-term success, rather than a one-hit wonder. The sample size in 2016 is small, but so far, it hasn’t been good.

Washington was crushed 38-16 in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And now the question is if Cousins and the Washington Redskins are already in trouble.

Cousins has been in the league for five years now, and he’s 28 years old. He’s no longer a “work in progress” as he’d been described in previous years while sitting on Washington’s bench.

Last year, it seemed as if Cousins had finally arrived. His first four years spent in Washington seemed to have prepared him for last season’s success.

But against Pittsburgh, Cousins reverted back to the backup/part-time starter that he’d been in his first few NFL seasons. Sure he threw for 329 yards, but much of this was in garbage time. What’s worse is that he tossed two interceptions and often made poor decisions by throwing into coverage.

The Washington Post covered multiple plays where Cousins missed reads and failed to move the offense. Some plays he just flat-out failed to see what the defense was doing and made the wrong decision with short passes that went for little-to-no yardage.

kirk-cousins-2016To be fair, Pittsburgh has a strong all-around defense that did a good job against Cousins. But if the 5-year veteran had played like he did down the stretch of last season, he could’ve still found holes in the Pittsburgh secondary.

2015 saw Cousins complete 69.8% of his passes while racking up 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a 101.6 QBR.

This shows that he’s capable of being a very strong quarterback who can lead Washington to victory. But he can’t play like he did against Pittsburgh for that to happen.

The good news is that this was just one game on the opening weekend – against a Super Bowl contender no doubt.

More good news is that Washington has the Dallas Cowboys coming up this Sunday. Dallas was burned for 3 touchdown passes by Eli Manning last week. Cousins is capable of playing as well as Manning, and he has solid weapons around him, most notably tight end Jordan Reed.

Our GTBets line for this week has Washington as a -2.5 favorite. The Cowboys not only have rookie Dak Prescott starting at quarterback, but they also feature a below-average defense.

With a slightly stronger team and capable QB, Washington has a solid chance to win this game. But if they can’t beat the Cowboys, then they’ll have a very tough time repeating last season’s success.

After all, the back-end of their schedule features some difficult out-of-division games, including @Cincinnati (Week 8), Minnesota (Week 10), Green Bay (Week 11), @Arizona (Week 13), and Carolina (Week 14). This doesn’t even include the division rivalry games that Washington will have to win to defend their NFC East crown.

Again, the season is only one game old, so Washington has enough time to show that their Week 1 dismantling was a fluke. But it needs to start this Sunday with a victory over the Cowboys.