Two years ago, I decided that Kirk Cousins was the answer for the Redskins. I watched him in the preseason and decided he had that very rare skill to find and hit an open receiver in a game that was going at 110 miles per hour.
This is a rare skill that is limited to the likes of Tom Brady, Payton Manning and Kurt Warner. Hard to believe skills. But then last year, when Kirk got his chance, it just didn’t work. He didn’t look like the QB I had seen in preseason. Hey, I’ve been wrong before.
Then, again, in preseason, I saw the same spark that I saw the previous year. I know, I know, it’s preseason, but still I saw something. Of course, Robert Griffin III, who is a great athlete is not a great pocket quarterback. He would get back in the pocket and if something didn’t click in the first two seconds it was over. He would take off or just freeze. I would hear others say, “His line doesn’t give him any protection.” Well, if you stand there long enough, no line is going to protect you. People would say, “You have got to respect his willingness to hang in there and take all that punishment.” I would prefer he did something smart and avoided the punishment.
I can’t tell you how proud I was when Coach Jay Gruden announced that Kirk Cousins was his quarterback for this season. What impressed me most was that Gruden made the decision well knowing that if it didn’t work, the owner, Dan Snyder, would fire him. But what really startled me was Gruden asserting that he had the authority to decide who was to be his QB. That may sound silly to you, but after watching Snyder run the Redskins for the last 15 years, I wasn’t sure how much authority our coach had.
I predicted the Redskins would go eight and eight. At the time I made it that was a very optimistic prediction. Some commentators had ranked the Skins 32nd out of 32 teams. But from what I had observed, I thought they would win some games.
Going into week seven, the Redskins had two wins and four losses. Then they fell behind the Buccaneers 24-0. But the Skins came back and won the game 31-30. It was clearly the turning point in the season and after the game, Kirk screamed at the assembled media, “You like that?” The expression has taken on a life of its own. I don’t think it will take us to the Super Bowl like “Who Dat!” did for the Saints, but it sure guaranteed my eight and eight prediction and a trip to the playoffs.
The Washington Post sport writers who had been finding fault with Cousins were probably what lead to Cousins’ outburst – “You like that?” Anyway, they have all acknowledged they were wrong and have done their mea culpas. Me? I’m doing fine. I’m a little smug, but suffering with the Redskins for so long, I think I am entitled to be. Go Skins!
Written by PJ Rice at www.ricequips.com