Kirk Cousins time to throw numbers raises question for 2024

Pro Football Focus (PFF) has been on a ranking spree this offseason, evaluating every position and all starting lineups. Now, they’ve zoomed in even further, ranking quarterbacks based on their performance in specific scenarios. Their latest venture involves analyzing quarterbacks’ effectiveness relative to their time to throw, using 2.5 seconds as the key threshold.

The study splits quarterbacks’ passing grades into two categories: throws released under 2.5 seconds and those held for longer. Surprisingly, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins thrives with more time, tying for the second-best PFF grade (89.3) when he holds the ball for over 2.5 seconds.

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Interestingly, Cousins shares this spot with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, the very player who helped guide current Falcons offensive coordinator Zac Robinson and head coach Raheem Morris to a Super Bowl victory in 2021. So, while quick throws are crucial, it seems that patience in the pocket can yield impressive results for some quarterbacks.

Rank Player Team Passing Grade
1 Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens 91.2
T-2 Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings 89.3
T-2 Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams 89.3
4 Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers 88.1
5 Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys 86.9
6 Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks 86.5
7 Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins 85.5
8 Josh Allen Buffalo Bills 84.9
9 Joe Flacco Cleveland Browns 82.8
10 Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers 82.0

It’s no shock that Stafford and Cousins perform similarly well when they have a clean pocket. Both quarterbacks are precision artists, each with their unique strengths. Stafford’s aggressive approach and arm strength allow him to make nearly any throw, while Cousins excels at processing information rapidly and consistently delivering accurate passes on time.

However, one concern about Cousins stands out when considering his time to throw. Last season, he demonstrated a newfound pocket mobility, extending plays by maneuvering within the pocket and finding windows to release the ball. This improvement was evident as he grew comfortable in his second season under Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s system.

The big question is whether Cousins can maintain this pocket presence and maneuverability following his Achilles injury. This injury raises doubts about whether he can replicate the same level of performance and comfort in the pocket that we saw in 2023.

While we hope the Achilles issue is minor and that Cousins can perform as he did last year, it’s something to watch closely if he struggles at the start of the 2024 season. His ability to adapt and overcome this setback will be crucial for his continued success.