In the next edition of fact or fiction, the Breaking Burgundy team addresses the following question: will Kirk Cousins have a career year by throwing for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
We know that Cousins will be without Sean McVay, DeSean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon, but gains another year of experience as well as Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson as new threats on top of Jordan Reed. Cousins has put up back-to-back seasons of 4,000
The 4,000 yards portion of the debate should be fairly easy. Washington's offense is good and they will likely always be in a need to score quickly, moving the ball through the air, rather than melting the clock, running the ball, because of a still suspect defense that lacks great talent. The harder part, of course, is throwing for 30 touchdowns. Two touchdowns a game does not seem like much, but when you consider only four quarterbacks did it last year (Rodgers, Ryan, Brees, and Rivers) and Cousins finished 13th in the NFL in passing touchdowns, 25, relative to his third most passing yards, it is easier said than done. Then again, I think Washington's red zone efficiency will get better thanks to larger targets so Cousins will get to the 30 touchdown mark. Fact.
I firmly believe that the Redskins offense will be more efficient if they can maintain a balanced attack. That’s not just in between the twenties, that needs to be implemented in the red zone as well. While I don’t think 4,000 yards passing for the third straight year won’t be a problem for Cousins, I do think him throwing for 30 or more touchdowns will be due to the ground game being more of a factor in the red zone. The offense received bigger targets this off-season at the receiver position, and that will make the challenge less difficult to complete. I’ll go fact, barely, but fact.
As terrific as Kirk Cousins has been moving the ball downfield over the last two seasons, he still has not surpassed both of these marks in the same year. The play calling in the red zone was not always the most successful under Sean McVay, but perhaps head coach Jay Gruden will change that in 2017. With probably the biggest, most physical set of targets Cousins has had to throw to in his career, he will surpass 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns this season, but with a slight downtick in yards from last season. Fact.
Stay tuned for more discussions from the Breaking Burgundy staff.