Kirk Cousins tape review vs Georgia

This wasn’t Cousins’ finest individual performance, but he also played his part in a big win for Michigan State. There were several sloppy errors in this tape – he can’t afford to try to fake the throw over the middle by staring at the secondary and then coming back to throw blind to the right. It led to a big turnover in this game and he gave Georgia enough bites of the apple to win this one comfortably. Fortunately, the Bulldogs were equally generous.

However, there were also some key highlights – none more so than a superb two-minute drill to tie the game at 27-27 and take it to overtime. Poise, accuracy, the ability to make a play with his legs when offered the opportunity. That was an excellent drive late on to give his team a shot at victory.

The Seahawks may or may not have the opportunity to draft Cousins, depending on the grade they’ve given him and the area he leaves the board. The early second round may be considered too early, but he could easily be off the board before round three. In my mock draft yesterday, I had Cousins going in the late second round to Green Bay. Seattle will have to weigh up the direction they want to go in round two, but they could well decide to keep adding to the front seven and they may want to spend a high pick on a running back. They aren’t likely to force the issue at quarterback and overdraft someone – even in round two – when there are players higher on their board available.

Even so, Pete Carroll seems to like Cousins and he matches what the Seahawks are looking for in terms of a ‘leader’ at quarterback. His stock has risen during the Senior Bowl and while previously he may have been considered a probably round 3/4 pick, that now seems unlikely. I have Cousins graded as the #4 quarterback behind only Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Brock Osweiler. You’ll find the tape above vs Georgia in the Outback Bowl (provided to us by JMPasq) and the review below.

0:06– I’m torn between whether this is just a bad read and play call, or an exceptional play from Brandon Boykin. Credit goes to the corner, he spots this immediately.

0:28 – Great read from Cousins here, spotting the receiver dropping in behind the corner and noticing he’d be passed off to the safety. He leads the wide out nicely and this is just a really good play from the quarterback.

0:42 – Nice completion, off balance thrown to the sideline under pressure. Exciting for two reasons – one, what a fantastic rush by Jarvis Jones who would’ve been a top-ten pick this year. Two – for Cousins to generate that kind of velocity leaning back and with a hit forthcoming is impressive.

1:01 – Jarvis Jones. Again.

1:49 – Not sure what happens on this play. Good play action, good pass protection and the pass (thrown slightly behind, which is what needed to happen in that thick coverage) just seems to go through the receivers hands.

1:55– Dangerous throw down the middle, Cousins needs to avoid lofting passes too much in 2v1 situations. In that read, better to drive the ball and risk the incompletion than risk the interception by taking something off the pass. He tries to throw off the safety by looking to the right, but he can’t trust the fake. Bacarri Rambo doesn’t bite and jumps the pass – it could’ve easily been a pick.

2:24– Doesn’t notice the linebacker ready to jump the dig. Needs to be careful and identify the danger here, this should’ve been an interception.

2:40 – He’s starting to press with the score at 16-0 to Georgia and MSU struggling with five straight 3-and-outs. However bad things are going, it’s never worth risking a pick here and making it worse. Bad read, bad decision to throw into triple coverage. Must do better.

3:27 – It’s a sloppy route from the intended target, but also a bit of a wild throw from Cousins that almost led to an interception.

4:06 – Superb fake on the bubble screen, completely sells it opening up the tight end down the seam. Much better, intelligent quarterback play.

4:41 – Cousins threads the needle down the middle, dissecting three defenders to find the tight end. Nice, accurate throw with the correct level of touch.

5:02– Inaccurate pass, throws too high. Could’ve been costly.

5:58 – First interception, but it had been on the cards. Ill-advised throw to the sideline, not enough punch on the pass and easily cut off and returned. The big problem here is Cousins looks down the middle of the field on the fake, then throws blind to the right sideline. Being deceptive is one thing, but throwing bad picks that are avoidable is another. This was avoidable and if he makes the read before throwing, he avoids a pick.

7:23 – Better. Cousins anticipates the route and just allows that extra split second to let it develop – then throws a strike into the end zone. Ball placement was perfect, allowing the tight end to go up and make the play.

8:09– Play action before a bad read. If you freeze it at 8:11, what do you see? A wall of three red-shirts blocking off the inside route. Cousins forces it anyway, with the ball being tipped by one defender and caught by another. Alec Ogletree is a very good prospect at Georgia but this was all on the quarterback. He cannot make that throw.

8:33 – 10:02 – I wanted to highlight the entire drive which tied the game and took it to overtime. This is just an excellent two-minute drill, Cousins marching the team down the field with a combination of accuracy throwing the ball, good decision making and when given the chance to make a play with his legs – he took it. A clutch drive that deserves to be highlighted in it’s entirety.

10:15 – Jarvis Jones. Did we ever mention he’s pretty good?

10:23 – Another bad decision here and another pick. He’s throwing into a zone with two defensive backs and one receiver, and hoping for the best. That’s not a good read or decision and he was fortunate to get another opportunity to win this game.


  1. AlexHawk

    Wow forgot how good Jarvis Jones was. All right performance threw some balls he really shouldn’t have done like the first pass in the game but showed poise and touch on numerous plays. Looks like a good player, good leader from the other info I have seen would be a good pick-up and could start quick. Probably does have a lower ceiling than Osweiller but less of a project.

  2. williambryan

    My first thoughts while watching this were comparing him to Tarvaris Jackson. Not sure if thats how I should be thinking about it or not. But in that context I think he is a clear upgrade and would likely win the starting job in training camp in my opinion.
    I think I know why Carroll seems to like him so much (Cousins). He reminds me a lot of Matt Barkley. In fact, I think if you put Cousins on the USC team with the talent they have (Woods and Lee(?) ) and the terrific offensive coaching of Lane Kiffin (say what you want about him but he can coach offense) and I think you get really similar results. Cousins is obviously smart, gutsy (when it comes to the throws he makes, unlike Tjack), athletic enough to run the Hawks offense, and the type of leader that would do well as a rookie starting QB. I personally would have no problem with Cousins in the first round ala Ponder being picked last year. It would be nice to perhaps trade down a few picks first though 😉

  3. Vin

    I’ve been high on Cousins and this tape did nothing to change my mind. And I’ll have to agree with williambryan, he does remind me of Barkley, but with a bigger arm. That arm throwing to Rice, Tate & Baldwin…..I see some potentially great things. Thanks Rob!

  4. John

    He’s not a player that I think will come out and put up amazing numbers but he is a solid QB with the LEADERSHIP that our team has lacked. And he’s not perfect, but what that video shows me, is he can be a starter, and above all else…he can be CLUTCH. We lost the Atlanta game, because PC had more faith that our kicker could make a 60+ yard field goal, than TJ throwing a quick sideline throw. We lost to SF late in the season because TJ fumbled on our final drive. We lost to Cleveland because Whitehurst couldn’t complete a pass (and the refs calling back every significant play *ahem* a Leon Washington punt return). That’s 3 games. Suddenly we’re 10-6. say we win in Arizona, suddenly we’re 11-5. Seattle is a better team than our record shows, and though its not fair to blame TJ for everything, his lack of clutch play, aggressive throws, and lack of leadership were more than apparent this season. PC wants clutch, Cousins can be clutch.

    Sorry, if I got some of the games wrong, its just off the top of my head.

  5. Rob

    Thanks guys but I will disagree slightly with the Barkley comparisons. For me, Matt Barkley is possibly the most technically astute quarterback I’ve scouted. He plays at a level in college I haven’t seen from even Andrew Luck. I think it’s a shame he doesn’t get anywhere near as much credit – but then he’s not the ideal height, frame, arm strength type of QB. But I would rank Barkley as high as any QB I’ve watched.

  6. Rob

    John – you are completely correct on the QB situation. And as you say, it’s not completely fair to lay the blame solely at Tarvaris Jackson, but when this team needed a game winning drive in a few different situations, he never delivered. In some games, he’d have two opportunities to deliver and still couldn’t. Quarterbacks sometimes have to get you over the line, you can’t carry a QB making enough plays to keep it tight and then rely on defense and a running game. Every now and again there’s a minute to go, you need 50 yards or so to get into FG range – the QB has to step up. It wasn’t just that Jackson failed every time, it was the way in which it happened. Throwing out of bounds on 4th down, wasting a timeout by throwing short underneath or down the middle, taking an unnecessary sack. Seattle is at least three wins better last season with superior QB play.

  7. williambryan

    Rob, there is no question about Barkley’s level of play. I too think he was the best QB in the NCAA last year. I know you just stick to the tape and I respect that obviously but I am curious how you feel (I know that’s not analysis on the facts but…) Cousins would have performed in USC? And if Barkley was at MSU? And hypothetically speaking, if PC/JS were to feel the same way about Cousins, that he could be there MAtt Barkley, wouldn’t it be prudent to take him in RD 1 knowing they kind of go to there own beat? You’ve made the case that if Ponder can go at pick 12 then Oswieler can too. I ask, couldn’t Cousins go this high too?

  8. Darnell

    Cousins seems to have “It”. As tough as it is to describe or put a finger on.

  9. David

    According to Espn Peyton Manning is Cleared to play by doctors, now i wonder how this will shake up the draft after the rumors of him retiring or the chance of him not playing again.

  10. Ely

    I have to agree with Rob on his analysis of Barkley. Watching him play that game against Oregon vs. watching Luck play Oregon, Barkley just looked like the more polished decision maker. Hate to speculate on what would have happened if Barkley would have come out this year but it sure would have given the Hawks a better chance @ 11/12 with one more upper level QB in the draft AND Peyton moving teams…. Also PC sure was high on Portis last year. I wonder if he is high enough on him to make a run at starter after a year and a full off season under his belt. He seemed to have the most poise of any of our current QB’s in the pre season.

  11. Derek

    I’m really interested in how they value Portis. Did you ever look at game tape for him
    Rob? If Cousins is available in the third I would take him in a heart beat. I also agree with you Rob that we aren’t necessarily looking for a change of pace back like a Pead, but more of a similar style to Lynch like Polk or Martin.

  12. Rob

    williambryan – It’s a tough one to judge. I think he would’ve succeeded at USC simply because it’s the mark of the man – he’s made himself into a potential NFL prospect and a succesful college quarterback. Give him a roster filled with talent and he’s likely to enjoy success. I suspect he would’ve still flashed certain technical weaknesses that we don’t see from Barkley, but perhaps his reputation would’ve been enhanced under the spotlight of the Trojans? As for Cousins in round one, I think it’s very unlikely. I though Minnesota taking Ponder that early was a travesty in fairness and a mistake they’ll live to regret if they now feel obliged to avoid RGIII (although I understand there’s a very good chance they could still draft him). When you make big reaches like that, you leave yourself wide open to fail. Osweiler has a lot more upside and raw physical talent which is why I think he can go in R1, but Cousins is a different story. I think Seattle maybe viewed Kirk as their opportunity to get the ‘steal’ later on, so we’ll see if they’re prepared to take him as early in R2-3 if that’s the range he’ll only be available.

    David – I would make Arizona favorites for Manning. This in turn could make Kolb available for a team like Cleveland.

    Derek – Because Portis played at Cal. Pa. finding game tape was nearly impossible. I wasn’t able to collect anything meaningful but for a few highlights. Shame.

  13. David

    im wondering if Portis is just a player Carrol has that shows potential and in turn bring his motto “competition”, I wonder if Pete even thinks he can be a starter or if his gushing over him last year was just a PR stunt to increase the competition with Charlie, which in turn would increase the play of Tjack.
    Portis i dont think was that bad when he played, he made some bad throws but did pretty well overall, he showed nice mobility which is what Pete looks for, i think the hawks take whomever in the 2nd (hope Osweiler is there) and then have the competition in training camp.

    I was thinking, if the hawks take Upshaw with their first pick, i wonder if they trade their 2nd and 3rd to move up in the 2nd or late first to nab Osweiler and try to trade back in the later rounds gobbling up later picks.

    as we’ve talked i think we’ve pretty much said that the mid rounds are full of D-line talent, and i think the hawks might see that too. maybe, depends on how the view their “guys” in this draft and who else they grab in FA.

    Free agency starts in march right? or is it February?

  14. Rob

    Free agency starts two weeks into March, David. Honestly, I doubt we’ll see the Seahawks move up the board in the early round this year, if at all.

  15. Matt

    Being a huge MSU fan, if Cousins can work on the fundamentals, and polish his game to the last 2 minutes of the outback bowl game, he would be considered an elite quarter back. Did you how he adjusts the blockers on his 27 or something run.

  16. FWBrodie

    Am I the only one who sees a little Drew Brees here? 4-year Big Ten QB’s, similarish size, decent arms, decisive, underwhelming athletically but get by with plus feel in the pocket, point guard type QB’s who let the game come to them, near identical statistically, stellar leadership, and ultra competitive.

  17. Doug


    This young man exudes leadership, and that alone is a great building block to add to his decent physical skills. A cool head turns a decent QB into a really good one in the NFL

    A lot of time has been spent in this topic talking about how TJack blew games at the last minute, and how we “could” have been 11=5 with a few late game heroics. While some of the things he did were semi-unexplainable, and can only be described as gaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!11,
    He is not solely to blame, as the line didn’t hold, WR’s didn’t get open, blah blah blah. Sure it’s easy to blam TJ, but if he wasn’t running scared, perhasp he might have made a play. Also, not many QB’s make every clutch play every game. So, let’s not all think a shiney new QB will solve every woe we have… but, even if it’s a 15% improvement, I’ll be good.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Tjack wasn’t the total problem, it takes all 11 guys to make a play work. He still drives me crazy and I wan’t a new QB, but I fully expect him to be our starter next season, unless we pull a good trade and get a FA qb.

    Anyone that thinks Cousins can come in and beat TJ for the starting spot next year might be disappointed, this league can eat rookie QB’s for breakfast…

  18. Carl Ebbighausen

    I’d love to see Cousins taken in the 2nd. The more I watch, the more I like. I love his leadership qualities and effort. He seems like the kind of guy who will just get significantly better every year. Up til recently, I had felt that going defense in the 1st was the way to go, then going after Cousins in the 2nd. However, now I’m thinking maybe DeCastro in the 1st, Cousins in the 2nd, and then Pete will find specific defensive pieces in the later rounds, as he has done, and done well, in the past.

  19. williambryan

    Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, TJ yates, did not get eaten for breakfast.

  20. Rob

    Carl – I don’t think the Seahawks are going to take an offensive lineman in R1 this year. They know they need to address other areas after spending high picks on Okung, Carpenter and Moffitt. I think we saw at the end of the year that Seattle actually has some good depth on the OL too.

  21. Jim Q.

    T-Jack, in my mind isn’t a lousy QB, he’s just not very good and needs to be replaced. I think the physical tools necessary to be a good (not great) QB are there, he just doesn’t have “it” in the brain department.

    He appears to physically play the game well enough most of the time, it just takes him 5 seconds to add up 2 + 2, and that isn’t a good quality in a QB who MUST be quick and decisive in his thought processes. I don’t think, without a brain transplant, that this will ever change.

    So, a new QB from the draft or FA is a major need now after the last 3 seasons of wait until next year for a QB……..and now it’s time!

  22. andy

    What about lunch? Seriously, if they are willing to invest the 2nd round pick in a QB, who has the greatest potential to be in the top half of NFL QBs? Cousins or Osweiler? I am hoping Osweiler is available and we nab him and if necessary make a slight move up the board……

  23. Meat

    I agree, no reason to waste the 11/12th pick on another offensive Lineman this year. On other sites this appears to be discussed much by fans, and I don’t understand why. Well the sporadic Tannehill and Moore is mentioned way to frequently.
    I feel certain the Hawks will not trade up in the first and if anything will trade back in at least 2 rounds, including the first. The additional picks will provide ample opportunity to pick up a QB such as Osweiler or Cousins, or even Harnish later. Trade back get a DE/LB and a stud WR or the QB.
    I like Cousins in the sense of leadership and if picked up he wouldn’t start this season. TJACK is given the job, it is obvious to me we won’t see new QB play until 2013

  24. Jarhead

    Seriously, Barkley is the one QB who I would truly get stoked over. I was really disappointed when he chose to return to school. I don’t think we have the slightest chance to get him next year. But I would be happy with trading almost an entire draft for him. That said, I do not think it’s a good idea to plan for next year’s draft. You have to look at who’s available now. Cousins is a 4th round jersey to me. Nothing more. He has shown that he is average. Capable of a few nice throws and managing a 2 minute drill. There is not much upside and I think he is the Andy Dalton of this draft- inasmuch as he can come in and perhaps start for a team that has no other viable option at QB but what you see is what you get. He will not be an all-pro not will he ever be elite in the league. Average. Seattle has a unique opportunity to get a few special players. Since our only glaring need is QB (Kip has highlighted why even the pass rush is a nominal need at most), that we can take shots on a few BPA’s. Which is a nice thing to have. We can groom Osweiler for a year, there is no pressure to have him start early. We can be patient. I feel if Osweiler and Cousins are both available you go with the potential to be elite, not the existence of average skills with the potential to be above average. FA is absolutely not an option for us (Quite frankly Flynn will require 4-6 years and AT LEAST $60 million, and how many of us would be okay with a 7th rounder who’s played all of two games taking up that many years and cap dollars, which ALSO means NO QB this OR the next), so I think we strike fast on QB this year. Leadership and smarts are good qualities, but there are other more highly skilled players who share those same traits. I hope we don’t settle on Jersey #8

  25. Doug

    “Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, TJ yates, did not get eaten for breakfast.”

    Cousins is not in Cam Newtrons league. Andy did ok, but still chokes with pressure as did TJ. How about Ponder, Clausen, Gabbert, Locker, Sanchez and McCoy?

    Unless the rookie is a top 5 pick, not to many have fared well as a rookie. I don’t see Cousins coming in and kickin arse right off the bat. We don’t need to throw him (or any QB we draft) into the ring of fire right away. It is only my humble opinion that whatever QB we get, is allowed at least 1/2 a season just to absorb what’s going on. It doesn’t appear a year or two on the bench hurt guys like Aaron Rogers or maybe Steve young any…
    Ask David Carr, (or numerous guys that got destroyed by starting too soon) what it’s like as a rookie QB…

  26. williambryan

    Andy dalton had 4, FOUR!, 4th quarter comebacks. TJ Yates had two 4th quarter comebacks. They both made it to the playoffs. Jake Locker is generally percieved to have played very well in his opportunities this year. Sanchez played in two AFC championship games already. Like Pete Carroll has said, rookie quarterbacks can have a positive impact on a teams success. I fully expect that If Cousins is the guy the Seahawks get, no matter what the round, I think he would win the starting job in training camp.

  27. Michael (CLT)

    Really like Cousins. Good zip, decent feet. Gets jittery with the rush sometimes, but seemed to handle the constant harassment from Jones well. A difference maker in my eyes.

    Sidenote: Jarvis Jones is what Seattle wants in Upshaw. The comparison isn’t even close… but I digress.

  28. Doug

    Andy Dalton completed 27-of-42 passes for 257 yards and three interceptions in the Bengals’ Wild Card round loss at Houston.Dalton got off to a hot start with OC Jay Gruden dialing up winning combinations in a quick-strike passing game. The wheels came off just before halftime when Dalton, the NFL’s leader in passes batted, was pick-sixed on a highlight-reel play by J.J. Watt at the line of scrimmage. Dalton was also sacked four times, including one that took Mike Nugent out of easy field goal range early on. Although he and A.J. Green became the first rookie combo in history with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, Dalton’s late-season fade is a fantasy concern for 2012

    News: Yates completed 17 of 35 passes for 184 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Ravens. (Mon Jan 16)

    Spin: Yates played like a rookie in the loss, locking in on Andre Johnson and forcing some balls that shouldn’t have been thrown. It looked like the Texans were the better team Sunday, but they didn’t get good quarterback play and that was the story. He’ll return next season, presumably a better quarterback from his experiences during his rookie 2011 season. Matt Schaub will be the starter, but Yates, Sunday’s performance aside, did show some poise and should get a chance to move up the depth chart next season.

    Sanchez? really?

    I’m only saying it’s not an easy road for a rookie QB Bro, JMHO. I highly doubt many people in here would want to hang the Seahawks future on any of these guys.
    Is all good…

  29. D

    I don’t know. I mean he seems good enough but as a QB in our system? I don’t see it. Seems like a west coast QB to me.

  30. Joe Miller

    Watching the video, Cousins doesn’t seem to be afraid to throw the ball to receivers that don’t make a lot of separation. That mentality would definitely help the reception totals for slower, bigger receiving targets such as Zach Miller and Mike Williams (Maybe John Carlson if he is kept), and make the Seahawks receiving core a lot more versatile.

  31. JJ Jones

    The Hawks need to take Cousins in round two.

  32. Hawkfin

    I tend to agree with this review…. Maybe even a bit more harsh on my part.

    I see him as no better then a 3rd rounder, and I’m not even sure I want him at all.
    Like a lot of these QB’s starting with Tannehill, Foles, Harnish, Weeden, etc.
    I’m not a fan of any of these guy’s.
    I think after the top 2, there is a HUGE drop off.

    I love our Flynn move. I’m very happy with that. No picks given. I think he’ll turn out to be something real special for us.

    I would like to add a QB late though. Maybe later then the 3rd even.

    I would love to see you do reviews on my most preferred and Favorite QB’s.
    -Darron Thomas from Oregon
    -Kellen Moore from Boise State
    -Case Keenum

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