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Bill Barnwell: Kirk Cousins' Season Was 'Unprecedented'


Imagine, for a moment, turning your greatest weakness into your greatest strength. Just ponder what that might be like. How would your life be different? How would that impact you in your daily routine? Would you even have a daily routine any more?

Quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn't have to imagine, because that's exactly what he did this season. In about a month, when he officially becomes a restricted free agent, and the Redskins likely sign him for a lucrative deal, Cousins' life will certainly change – maybe starting with the vehicle he drives into work every day.

It wasn't a question that Cousins struggled when it came to throwing interceptions. Over his first 407 pass attempts, he threw 19 interceptions, good for a 4.7 percent interception rate. And some of that carried over this season, when he posted four two-interception games in the first six contests of the season.

Then onto Tampa Bay, then onto posting the incredible record-breaking comeback and spurring on the team with a his famous shout. During the final 10 games, Cousins threw 315 passes and was picked off just three times, posting the league's second-best interception rate from Week 7 to the season's conclusion.

He finished his season with a team-record 4,166 passing yards and led the league in completion percentage (69.8 percent), too. writer Bill Barnwell laid out this dramatic turnaround and considered this season – whether Cousins is closer to that player he was in the second half of 2015, or closer to the first half.

"The truth is somewhere in the middle, but that's a huge swath of middle," Barnwell writes. "If it's closer to the older model, Cousins is a borderline starter with a turnover problem, a poor man's Jay Cutler or Eli Manning. And if it's closer to the more recent edition, Cousins is a franchise quarterback hitting unrestricted free agency at 27, which hasn't happened since Drew Brees hit the market in 2006."

Barnwell argues that regardless of how much money Cousins eventually hauls in, the perception of him as a quarterback has drastically changed in just four months.  

"He took his biggest weakness -- a historically-significant hole in his game -- and turned it into a relative strength. That's stunning and virtually unprecedented," Barnwell concluded.

In the rest of his column, which you can read here, he projects what might happen if several other players had Cousins-like seasons next year, and what that might do to their stock in the NFL.




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