In a sign of how far the Washington Redskins have fallen from local prominence, the team continues to sell season tickets one week into the NFL season.
As bad as the Dallas Cowboys have struggled to regain their identity as a franchise renowned for winning, the Redskins under owner Dan Snyder have been far worse.
Once one of the most distinguished franchises under coach Joe Gibbs and owner Jack Kent Cooke, the last time the Redskins won a Super Bowl was 1991. The team has had a total of eight winning seasons since that last title.
Kirk Cousins is not going to change much of that.
The quarterback who led the Redskins to an NFC East title and the playoffs last season has his team in a far less enviable position than the Cowboys with rookie Dak Prescott.
Cousins has done just enough for the Redskins to think they should invest in him as their Man, yet is not good enough to push them any further than where they have already been.
Cousins is a 10-year NFL player who hit his ceiling. Prescott is an unknown.
On paper, Cousins has the look of a quarterback who has figured it out and should be settling in to DC for a long stay. He went 9-7 as a starter last season, completed just under 70 percent of his passes and threw for 29 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions.
That’s hard to dislike.
Selected in the same draft the Redskins picked Robert Griffin III, Cousins has the “big guy” measurables that normally translate to successful NFL passers.
But there is a reason why the Redskins placed the franchise tag on Cousins this offseason rather than give him a monster, multi-year deal that would lock him in forever. They are not sure yet, either. And this is a team that historically can’t spend enough stupid money.
The last time a quarterback did was just up the way in 2012 in Baltimore when Joe Flacco took the franchise tag and turned it into a Super Bow-winning season. Flacco was outstanding that season, particularly in the playoffs, then the Baltimore Ravens buried him in money.
Unlike those Ravens teams, which had good defenses, these Redskins are not good enough to reach the Super Bowl. They will be lucky to return to the playoffs.
Cousins is not going to make good players look great. He needs great players to make him look good.
This will put the Redskins in an awkward position of being unsure if they want to commit to a guy they are not madly in love with; that’s never fun.
Despite the numbers, there is a rigidness and heaviness to Cousins’ game that does not figure to translate well as he ages. Plus, being the quarterback of the Washington Redskins for the last 20 years has not gone well for anybody.
Since 1994, the Redskins have had 12 different quarterback “lead” them in passing.
As “stable” as Cousins has made the Redskins’ fault line at quarterback, the Cowboys have no idea what they have in Prescott.
Everybody watching the Cowboys needs to remind themselves this guy was the No. 3 quarterback to start training camp, and only because of injuries to Kellen Moore and Tony Romo is the reason he is the starter.
Can Dak play? The Cowboys don’t know, but he’s shown enough in preseason and in the Week 1 loss against the New York Giants to think something is there, and that this season is not a lost cause.
But unlike the Redskins, who are going to need to decide soon if they want to commit to guy they clearly and justifiably are not in love with, the Cowboys can at least wait.
The Cowboys may not win games, but if Dak develops and has the look of a legit NFL starter, the season will be worth it.
Neither situation is ideal, but I’d rather have that than Kirk Cousins.