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Redskins need Kirk Cousins to be great, but that's their problem

From ESPN - November 15, 2017

The debate over Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins -- his every throw results in questions of his worth -- obscures one reality. And, a problem. It's not whether Cousins is great or not; it's that the Redskins too often need him to be great in order win.

There have been exceptions since Cousins became the full-time starter in 2015. But too often, it holds true. If Cousins does not play well, the Redskins struggle.

If he throws an interception -- just one -- they usually lose. He's thrown a pick in five games this season; the Redskins have lost four. Carson Wentz has thrown a pick in five games; the Eagles have won four.

Quarterback is the most important position. Cousins' contract is always a focal point, so a lot of the debate centers around whether he's worth a certain amount. That's not going to change.

More often than not -- thanks to a poor run game and inconsistent defense -- they need him to be something he is not. He's not going to the Hall of Fame. Most are not. If you think that means he's not worth a certain amount per year, that's fine. Pretty soon there will be a number of quarterbacks in the $25 million range who wo not be in Canton, either.

The bottom line, though, is Washington has a defense that's ranked 20th in yards per game and 26th in points allowed. The Redskins have a good, young talent base, but losing Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis has not helped. The coaching staff is also solid. There's reason for optimism, but when will that turn into consistent results?

It has not helped that they have played seven of the NFL's top 11 scoring offenses -- and eight of the top 10 when it comes to yards per play. That's a brutal schedule. Look for second-half improvement as the schedule eventually eases.

Still, if the Redskins want to be anything other than ordinary those numbers must improve. That's true of these too: The Redskins are 23rd in rushing yards per game and 25th in yards per carry.

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