Cowboys Extra: Spotlight on Redskins QB Kirk Cousins

12/17/2013 8:14 PM

11/12/2014 3:30 PM

Height: 6-3  Weight: 209

Season: 2nd  College: Michigan State

Strengths: Cousins was a three-year starter at Michigan State, the winningest quarterback in school history. He took advantage of the talent around him, though he did not play his best against the best opponents he faced in his career. He is intelligent and makes good decisions. Cousins, a three-time captain in college, has the leadership skills that scouts look for in a quarterback. He is a team player and a hard worker. Cousins’ accuracy is good. He isn’t a quarterback to take big risks, but he is rarely going to get his team beat.

Weaknesses: Cousins has little NFL experience, with only six games and two starts in two NFL seasons. He sometimes lacks pocket awareness, having fumbled three times, losing one, in limited action. He is not accurate with the deep ball, and his arm strength is only adequate. He has yet to show the consistency necessary to win consistently in the NFL. Cousins likely will hang around the NFL for years as a backup, but he hasn’t done enough to show he can be an every-Sunday starter in the league.

Last week: He completed 29 of 45 passes for 381 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the Redskins’ 27-26 loss to Atlanta. He also lost a fumble.

Who has to stop him? The Cowboys rank 32nd overall in total defense, having already set the team’s single-season mark for most yards allowed. They rank 32nd in pass defense and are challenging the 2011 Packers’ defense for the NFL record for most passing yards allowed in a season. Backup quarterbacks have eight touchdowns and one interception against the Cowboys over the past two weeks combined.

Notable: Cousins threw for 329 yards in his first career start, a 37-26 victory over the Browns in Week 15 in 2012. … He threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns in his second start, which came Sunday against the Falcons. … Cousins is the franchise’s first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw for 300 yards in each of his first two starts. … He needs 417 passing yards to match Jay Schroeder for the most passing yards by a Redskins quarterback in a two-game span in the Super Bowl era. Schroeder passed for 798 yards in Weeks 7-8 in 1986. … Cousins wrote a book in the off-season titled Game Changer: Faith, Football & Finding Your Way. … The Redskins rank ninth in total offense, including third in rushing.

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