Let me get this out of the way immediately. Kirk Cousins has played terribly. His decision-making, his confidence and most of all, his accuracy have been atrocious. Cousins is struggling and everyone knows it. Management, the locker room, media and fans have gone from “You Like That!” to “Why did you throw that?” Most of all, Cousins knows it himself. A player, who in the past has waded in a pool of self-doubt, is currently drowning.
While it would be easy to point the finger directly at No. 8 and you wouldn’t be wrong to do so, there is someone on the coaching staff that should be in the crosshairs of blame before the quarterback. No, I am not talking about defensive coordinator Joe Barry, but rather his offensive counterpart, Sean McVay.
McVay has treated the running game as if it has Zika. After two games, the Redskins offensive coordinator has called more passing plays then every team in football. The Redskins have thrown the ball 76% of the time (91 passes on 120 plays) and run the ball 24% of the time (29 of 120). Where is the balance? Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who for years has been accused of ignoring the running game has called 31 more running plays than McVay, who makes Red Jesus look like former Rams head coach Ground Chuck (Knox).
To put this in perspective, during the final six games of last season, when Cousins was playing at his highest level, McVay’s run/pass ratio was 48.7% run to 51.3% pass. It’s called balance and it worked. No balance means no play action. No play action means Cousins is throwing into seven and eight man coverage. That is a recipe for disaster.
One of the criticisms of Cousins, before late last season, was his propensity for throwing interceptions. After two games and three picks, it looks like the same ole Kirk. But when you take into account the number of passes he has thrown, his numbers aren’t as terrible as they appear. Cousins has thrown three picks in 89 official attempts for an interception percentage of 3.4%. While that number seems way below average, it better than Roethlisberger (4.1%), Winston (6.0%) and Osweiler (4.4%) this season and is on par with the career numbers of Eli Manning (3.2%) and John Elway (3.1%).
When Sean is putting together his weekly game plan, I am sure he sees all of the weapons in the passing game and gets more excited than a 15 year old boy seeing his first pair of breasts but part of being a coach or manager is doctoring up a plan to help a struggling player gain confidence. With McVay’s current level of doctoring, Cousins could sue him for malpractice. Sean McVay, after two weeks is the Conrad Murray of play callers. He needs to beat it with this lack of run calls because right now he is killing Kirk Cousins.
Chuck Sapienza is the executive producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP of Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network's executive producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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