Numbers don't add up for Kirk Cousins believers

Numbers don't add up for Kirk Cousins believers
August 26, 2014, 1:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports)

An old saying demands that statistics not get in the way of a good argument. For the belligerent crowd that agrees, there's rarely anyway to change opinion. For others that look to advanced metrics for guidance, the evidence can paint a clear picture. In the case of the Redskins quarterback, the numbers show Robert Griffin III at a clear advantage over Kirk Cousins.

Many have gotten caught up in Cousins' preseason play, where the third-year QB out of Michigan State has looked better than Griffin. But the preseason is hardly a fair barometer to measure regular season success. Defenses don't game-plan to stop specific players in the preseason, and the best players do not stay on the field the entire game.

Looking at the 2013 season shows Griffin at a clear statistical advantage over Cousins, and reveals Cousins to be a highly erratic quarterback.

Of all the signal callers with at least 150 pass attempts in 2013, Cousins ranked dead last in Passer Rating at 58.4. Behind Cousins came the Jets' Geno Smith at 66.5 and the Raiders' Terrelle Pryor at 69.1. Griffin came in at 82.2, not impressive, yet still significantly better than Cousins.

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For those that don't like the Passer Rating stat, there are other numbers that show Cousins was ineffective in 2013.

Again only ranking quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts, Cousins ranked as the worst for Pass Completion Percentage at 52.2 percent, narrowly edging out Cleveland's Brandon Weeden 52.8. Cousins 52.2 percentage rate ranked lower than players like Case Keenum, Matt McGloin and former Redskins first-round pick Jason Campbell. RG3 completed almost 61 percent of his passes last season.

Yards-per-Pass-Attempt has become a good measure to determine how explosive a quarterback runs his offense. Nick Foles led the NFL in the stat in 2013 at 9.12 yards-per-pass-attempt. Just behind Foles came Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

On the opposite end of the spectrum? Kirk Cousins. He averaged just 5.51 yards-per-pass-attempt, lower than Tampa's Mike Glennon, Campbell and Baltimore's Joe Flacco. RG3 averaged 7.01 yards-per-pass-attempt, a better finish than Tom Brady and Eli Manning, but worse than Tony Romo and Matt Cassel.

Of course it should be noted that Cousins started the final three games of the 2013 season as the team limped to the finish. What impact that had on the team is hard to note.

In Cousins best game of the 2013 season, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions in a 27-26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. That marked Cousins first start of the season after Mike Shanahan decided to shut down Robert Griffin III to keep him healthy for the 2014 season.

The Redskins final game of the 2013 season, a 20-6 loss to the New York Giants, marked Cousins worst outing. He completed just 38 percent of his passes for 169 yards and two interceptions. The weather was a factor that game, with sleet and freezing rain, and Eli Manning was not much better. Manning completed 41 percent of his passes for 152 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Thanks to Pro Football Reference and @SportInfo247 for help with the statistics.