Latest Kirk Cousins Criticism: Weak Arm

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Kirk Cousins is one of the most criticized quarterbacks in the National Football League. We’ve seen the Minnesota Vikings quarterback take shots for his lack of leadership in a locker room and lack of creativity on the field. They talk about his propensity to checkdown instead of making “game-winning” plays. Even his health choices and musical talent have been targets for fans and media members.

Kirk Cousins’ Lack of Arm Strength?

But on Tuesday, if you open up the new quarterback rankings and rating system at The Ringer, you’ll see a new criticism. Kirk Cousins, who they rank 15th overall among QB’s, has a right arm that lacks requisite throw power, says Steven Ruiz.

Look, Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback. As painful as it is to admit, it’s time we all agree on that. But the typical criticisms of him are still valid. He doesn’t create much offense of his own; his dutiful adherence to the system will lead to maddeningly conservative checkdowns; and his arm maxes out at about 50 air yards in a climate-controlled stadium. Still, Kirk knows how to get through a progression, he is mostly accurate, and he handles pressure a lot better than he used to. Steven Ruiz (The Ringer)

Look Steven, Kirk Cousins and his worth in football dollars are a regular topic of conversation in the Minnesota sports world. Yet, not once have I heard or seen anyone complain about his arm strength. Still, I thought I would give Mr. Ruiz the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Kirk does struggle to throw beyond 50 yards.

Survey Says…

So, I started on Twitter and ran a video search with “Kirk Cousins deep” as my search criteria. Turns out, that’s all the research needed to prove The Ringer’s falsehoods about his arm strength.

Does Kirk have the biggest howitzer in the league? No, but it has the throw power to hit open receivers deep and to target mid-range windows that others wouldn’t. He may not be Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen but there isn’t a throw on the NFL route tree that Cousins can’t make.

Just the few videos above show that Kirk Cousins can throw 50 yards while on his back foot with pressure in his face. When he steps into it and gives it loft, he can touch 65-70. Would he stretch himself that far in a game, probably not very often. But that has more to do with more reasonable criticisms about #8.

Kirk’s Drawbacks aren’t Physical

There’s nothing physical that holds Kirk back. And he certainly has enough throw power. Cousins’ issues have been mostly mental. He doesn’t like to throw interceptions so he doesn’t take chances. He has a tendency to panic when trying to make a play, so he often throws the ball away instead.

Risk management is on Kirk’s mind more often than most other QB’s. But part of that is coaching, too. Kevin O’Connell will be the first coach he has had who fully supports him. The elder Shanahan wanted RGIII in Washington and Zimmer wanted anyone else during his first four seasons in Minnesota.

Does more organizational support make Kirk Cousins into a hall of fame quarterback? No, but it should allow him to show off his arm more often. Hopefully that will be enough to keep “experts” like Steven from trying to create more problem areas in his game.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan