Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

A forum for the hard core Minnesota Vikings fan. Discuss upcoming games, opponents, trades, draft or what ever is on the minds of Viking fans!

Moderator: Moderators

Pondering Her Percy
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7913
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:38 am
Location: Watertown, NY
x 642

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:46 am

VikingLord wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:43 pm
StumpHunter wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:26 am
Every decision made by the team has an impact on wins-losses, none more than who they choose to put out there at QB. This roster, and the decision to go young and not extend players in their prime (Mac and Waynes) as well as trade Diggs is mostly because the QB is making 15% of the cap. Other player's contracts play into that too, but none come close to what Cousins is making.
The reason the Vikes didn't extend Waynes was because they couldn't afford to do that, or because Waynes wasn't worth extending?

Also, Cousins cap number is large, true, but IIRC Spielman splurged quite a bit on several defensive extensions as well as on Rudolph's extension. If the QB's cap hit is 15% that is a lot, but there is still 85% of cap to go around. That should be enough to keep key players provided the team has identified who those key players are and isn't trying to keep everyone.

Put another way, does it make sense to designate a safety as a franchise player and thus ensure he's paid among the top 5 players at his position on a team where the other starting safety is one of those top five players? That on a defense that wasn't exactly great against the pass the prior season, and that for a player who prior to that season was notable more for his lack of production than anything else?

Anyway, I think the problem is more complex than what you are making it out to be. Waynes sucked last year. He was average against the run and consistently bad against the pass, especially the deep pass. He seemed disinterested in fixing things, either. I rarely saw him exhibit any emotion, good or bad. Mac wasn't bad, but I'd argue if he was good he'd have seen more time outside spelling one of Rhodes or Waynes, especially given how poorly both performed. The fact that he was only a slot cover guy made him expendable more than him coming up for a new contract. I could be wrong on that, but I can't say I noticed Alexander much either when it came to making plays. Most of the notable plays made by the Vikings CBs last year were against them.
Yeah I liked Waynes, but he sure isn’t worth $14 million a year. And whether we offered him a contract or not, if we paid him more than that and say we didn’t have a highly paid QB, I’d be ticked. So again, you’re blaming cousins for not resigning Waynes but in the end, we weren’t giving him $14 million if cousins was the QB or if Sean Mannion was. It didn’t matter. Trae Waynes just simply isn’t worth that amount of money
0 x
The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices you make will shape your life forever.
-Chazz Palminteri

Pondering Her Percy
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7913
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:38 am
Location: Watertown, NY
x 642

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 am

StumpHunter wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:20 pm
VikingLord wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:32 pm


Do you have the defensive stats you listed for the 2019 defense?

The reason I ask is because I agree with your point about what changed between 2017 and 2018 in Cousins' first year as the starting QB. I wouldn't go as far as to blame Cousins for those offensive declines, at least not solely. IIRC, Cook got hurt early in 2018 and was out for the rest of that year, plus the offensive line was pretty dinged up and the Vikings ended up starting a 2nd round draft pick at RT who prior to that season many agreed needed some time to acclimate and develop. O'Neill surprised well to the upside that year, but it wasn't a great year for stability at RB or along the OL. And yeah, Cousins did suffer from an inordinate number of turnovers, some of which were clearly him, but others were bad bounces. The ultimate effect of all of that was a big dropoff in production, but I can't directly connect that to the arrival of Cousins alone.

But...

That defensive continuity you pointed out between 2017 and 2018 and the resulting moves the Vikings made to keep that defense largely intact heading into 2019 was very significant to the outcome of the 2019 season. The Vikings didn't just invest a lot of $$$ into Cousins - they also invested a lot into keeping that defense intact, and one could argue they overpaid for that as well heading into 2019. While I don't have the stats at hand to support the claim that the 2019 defense dramatically regressed, my guess is they will show that it did, and that more than anything is why I think the 2019 team was a one-and-done in the playoffs.

If you look at it that way, its pretty hard to fault Cousins. The offense in 2019 wasn't really the problem per se. Yes, I think the offense failed to step up to the moment in some regular season games and Cousins was part of that failure, but they managed to do it against the Saints in the playoffs and Cousins was a big part of that success. The 2019 defense, OTOH, consistently failed to step up to the moment in key situations, and overall performed worse than what the braintrust had a reason to expect based on the 2017 and 2018 results.

I would argue that while the Vikings paid a lot to get Cousins, the underlying strategy behind how the team was designed was based on having a top defense and a competent offense. If the offense played competently and didn't suffer from a raft of key injuries or historically poor number of turnovers, and the defense played well enough, that could be a winning approach and take the team deep into the playoffs.

It is hard to argue with that approach, especially given the cards the Vikings were dealt. They had the core of a great defense. They had drafted well on defense and made some solid moves in FA on defense. The defense was proven, veteran and had continuity. Offensively, things were more dicey, not just in terms of how drafts had turned out, but also in terms of free agency, injury and overall continuity. Adding Cousins added a proven veteran to run that show. I think the theory was he was capable of making all the throws and big plays, but at the very least he'd be a steady hand in key situations and wouldn't blow it, which in turn meant the defense, if it played as expected, could be counted on to essentially win games.

That is the part of the strategy that failed in 2019. The defense didn't perform as expected, notably at CB but also against the run.
The 2019 defense was 8th in points, and 18th in yards but was 3rd in turnovers. Worse than 2017 and 2018, but better than 2015 (14th in points) when they won 11 games. About the same as 2016.

Still a top 8 D, which is better than 7 of the 12 playoff teams this past season, including 3 of the 4 teams in the conference championships and better than the eventual SB winner.

2018 was a disaster on offense and Cousins was only a part of that disaster. Whether he was a big part or small part doesn't really matter, he was still a disappointment at QB. The guy had pretty small shoes to fill and had the perfect opportunity to make Vikings fans say "Case who?" and instead just came up small in way too many big spots.
And the #1 culprit when it came to 2018 was Flip. Everyone had their own play in it, but Flip was what crumbled that offense. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Of course cousins will take the heat but when you’re so clueless that you can’t find a way to efficiently use dalvin cook (which isn’t hard to do), you have no business coordinating an offense. Period
0 x
The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices you make will shape your life forever.
-Chazz Palminteri

User avatar
RandyMoss84
Pro Bowl Elite Player
Posts: 811
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:12 pm
x 290

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by RandyMoss84 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:57 am

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:46 am
VikingLord wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:43 pm


The reason the Vikes didn't extend Waynes was because they couldn't afford to do that, or because Waynes wasn't worth extending?

Also, Cousins cap number is large, true, but IIRC Spielman splurged quite a bit on several defensive extensions as well as on Rudolph's extension. If the QB's cap hit is 15% that is a lot, but there is still 85% of cap to go around. That should be enough to keep key players provided the team has identified who those key players are and isn't trying to keep everyone.

Put another way, does it make sense to designate a safety as a franchise player and thus ensure he's paid among the top 5 players at his position on a team where the other starting safety is one of those top five players? That on a defense that wasn't exactly great against the pass the prior season, and that for a player who prior to that season was notable more for his lack of production than anything else?

Anyway, I think the problem is more complex than what you are making it out to be. Waynes sucked last year. He was average against the run and consistently bad against the pass, especially the deep pass. He seemed disinterested in fixing things, either. I rarely saw him exhibit any emotion, good or bad. Mac wasn't bad, but I'd argue if he was good he'd have seen more time outside spelling one of Rhodes or Waynes, especially given how poorly both performed. The fact that he was only a slot cover guy made him expendable more than him coming up for a new contract. I could be wrong on that, but I can't say I noticed Alexander much either when it came to making plays. Most of the notable plays made by the Vikings CBs last year were against them.
Yeah I liked Waynes, but he sure isn’t worth $14 million a year. And whether we offered him a contract or not, if we paid him more than that and say we didn’t have a highly paid QB, I’d be ticked. So again, you’re blaming cousins for not resigning Waynes but in the end, we weren’t giving him $14 million if cousins was the QB or if Sean Mannion was. It didn’t matter. Trae Waynes just simply isn’t worth that amount of money
Waynes is mediocre, I am glad he is gone
0 x

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 6626
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow
x 297

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by VikingLord » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:35 pm

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:46 am
So again, you’re blaming cousins for not resigning Waynes but in the end, we weren’t giving him $14 million if cousins was the QB or if Sean Mannion was. It didn’t matter. Trae Waynes just simply isn’t worth that amount of money
I am not blaming Cousins for anything. He's not responsible for the deal he was offered, and even if he were responsible for it, I'm trying to argue that there still is plenty of cap to go around to signing other key players. I agree Waynes wasn't worth resigning, at least not anywhere near what he got.

The only other point I'm trying to make is that Spielman has shown largess not just with Cousins, but with several other extensions as well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The cumulative effect of all those contracts (including, but again, not solely that of Cousins) does impact the ability to spend on other areas.
0 x

Pondering Her Percy
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7913
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:38 am
Location: Watertown, NY
x 642

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:13 pm

VikingLord wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:35 pm
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:46 am
So again, you’re blaming cousins for not resigning Waynes but in the end, we weren’t giving him $14 million if cousins was the QB or if Sean Mannion was. It didn’t matter. Trae Waynes just simply isn’t worth that amount of money
I am not blaming Cousins for anything. He's not responsible for the deal he was offered, and even if he were responsible for it, I'm trying to argue that there still is plenty of cap to go around to signing other key players. I agree Waynes wasn't worth resigning, at least not anywhere near what he got.

The only other point I'm trying to make is that Spielman has shown largess not just with Cousins, but with several other extensions as well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The cumulative effect of all those contracts (including, but again, not solely that of Cousins) does impact the ability to spend on other areas.
I know you werent. That was directed at Stump.
0 x
The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices you make will shape your life forever.
-Chazz Palminteri

StumpHunter
All Pro Elite Player
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:55 am
x 249

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by StumpHunter » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:04 pm

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:46 am
VikingLord wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:43 pm


The reason the Vikes didn't extend Waynes was because they couldn't afford to do that, or because Waynes wasn't worth extending?

Also, Cousins cap number is large, true, but IIRC Spielman splurged quite a bit on several defensive extensions as well as on Rudolph's extension. If the QB's cap hit is 15% that is a lot, but there is still 85% of cap to go around. That should be enough to keep key players provided the team has identified who those key players are and isn't trying to keep everyone.

Put another way, does it make sense to designate a safety as a franchise player and thus ensure he's paid among the top 5 players at his position on a team where the other starting safety is one of those top five players? That on a defense that wasn't exactly great against the pass the prior season, and that for a player who prior to that season was notable more for his lack of production than anything else?

Anyway, I think the problem is more complex than what you are making it out to be. Waynes sucked last year. He was average against the run and consistently bad against the pass, especially the deep pass. He seemed disinterested in fixing things, either. I rarely saw him exhibit any emotion, good or bad. Mac wasn't bad, but I'd argue if he was good he'd have seen more time outside spelling one of Rhodes or Waynes, especially given how poorly both performed. The fact that he was only a slot cover guy made him expendable more than him coming up for a new contract. I could be wrong on that, but I can't say I noticed Alexander much either when it came to making plays. Most of the notable plays made by the Vikings CBs last year were against them.
Yeah I liked Waynes, but he sure isn’t worth $14 million a year. And whether we offered him a contract or not, if we paid him more than that and say we didn’t have a highly paid QB, I’d be ticked. So again, you’re blaming cousins for not resigning Waynes but in the end, we weren’t giving him $14 million if cousins was the QB or if Sean Mannion was. It didn’t matter. Trae Waynes just simply isn’t worth that amount of money
You are right Waynes isn't worth 14 million. Paying a player like he is elite when he is just above average to good is stupid. Any player at any position it is stupid.
0 x

StumpHunter
All Pro Elite Player
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:55 am
x 249

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by StumpHunter » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:16 pm

Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 am
StumpHunter wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:20 pm

The 2019 defense was 8th in points, and 18th in yards but was 3rd in turnovers. Worse than 2017 and 2018, but better than 2015 (14th in points) when they won 11 games. About the same as 2016.

Still a top 8 D, which is better than 7 of the 12 playoff teams this past season, including 3 of the 4 teams in the conference championships and better than the eventual SB winner.

2018 was a disaster on offense and Cousins was only a part of that disaster. Whether he was a big part or small part doesn't really matter, he was still a disappointment at QB. The guy had pretty small shoes to fill and had the perfect opportunity to make Vikings fans say "Case who?" and instead just came up small in way too many big spots.
And the #1 culprit when it came to 2018 was Flip. Everyone had their own play in it, but Flip was what crumbled that offense. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Of course cousins will take the heat but when you’re so clueless that you can’t find a way to efficiently use dalvin cook (which isn’t hard to do), you have no business coordinating an offense. Period
I am not going to disagree that Flip was a bad OC for the Vikings. Just like Norv Turner was bad for the Vikings. Shurmur was much better, but it is not like he is Andy Reid or Bill Bellicheck.

I also don't think it is as simple as him being too stupid to use Cook. He went to Jacksonville and got Fournette to have the best year he has ever had, and made a 6th round rookie draft pick look like a viable starter, so it wasn't like he was completely incompetent.

He was a bad fit for the Vikings, in that he tried to make Cousins into the focal point of the offense, when he is incapable of being that guy. Kubiak and Stefanski did a much better job of hiding his flaws, similar to what Shurmur did with Bradford and then Case.
1 x

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 6626
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow
x 297

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by VikingLord » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:08 pm

StumpHunter wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:16 pm
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 am


And the #1 culprit when it came to 2018 was Flip. Everyone had their own play in it, but Flip was what crumbled that offense. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Of course cousins will take the heat but when you’re so clueless that you can’t find a way to efficiently use dalvin cook (which isn’t hard to do), you have no business coordinating an offense. Period
I am not going to disagree that Flip was a bad OC for the Vikings. Just like Norv Turner was bad for the Vikings. Shurmur was much better, but it is not like he is Andy Reid or Bill Bellicheck.

I also don't think it is as simple as him being too stupid to use Cook. He went to Jacksonville and got Fournette to have the best year he has ever had, and made a 6th round rookie draft pick look like a viable starter, so it wasn't like he was completely incompetent.

He was a bad fit for the Vikings, in that he tried to make Cousins into the focal point of the offense, when he is incapable of being that guy. Kubiak and Stefanski did a much better job of hiding his flaws, similar to what Shurmur did with Bradford and then Case.
I'm a lot less inclined to blame the offensive design and playcalling in 2018 for the regression of the offense than I am for a combination of bad luck (injuries, especially to the OL) coupled with historically poor rate of turnovers for Cousins (many of which were not directly his fault).

I base this off what seems to be the self-evident fact that guys don't get to become pro offensive coordinators unless they possess some semblance of creativity and show some ability. Yes, there is the nagging example of Brad Childress out there, but I don't think Flip was all that bad. He could be accused of failing to "protect" Cousins I guess by trying to make him the focal point of the offense, but I don't think he attempted to make Cousins something Cousins couldn't be.

Blaming the coaching is like blaming the media - its very easy to do and often largely ignores the real problems at the heart of unmet expectations.

If Flip lacked anything as a coach it might have been the leadership/bonding qualities that inspire players/people to greater heights than they might otherwise reach. That was Childress' problem too - he was reasonably smart and experienced, but he sucked as a communicator and couldn't connect with his players. In many cases his actions actually drove wedges between his players and him. Grant, Madden, Ryan, Ditka - the great coaches understand the human side of performance. That is what turns the X's and O's into wins on Sundays.

Kubiak is a good leader in addition to being a great coach. That, more than anything, is what will propel the Vikings offense this coming season under his direction.
0 x

Pondering Her Percy
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7913
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:38 am
Location: Watertown, NY
x 642

Re: Cousins is actually better under the bright lights

Post by Pondering Her Percy » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:18 am

StumpHunter wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:16 pm
Pondering Her Percy wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 am


And the #1 culprit when it came to 2018 was Flip. Everyone had their own play in it, but Flip was what crumbled that offense. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Of course cousins will take the heat but when you’re so clueless that you can’t find a way to efficiently use dalvin cook (which isn’t hard to do), you have no business coordinating an offense. Period
I am not going to disagree that Flip was a bad OC for the Vikings. Just like Norv Turner was bad for the Vikings. Shurmur was much better, but it is not like he is Andy Reid or Bill Bellicheck.

I also don't think it is as simple as him being too stupid to use Cook. He went to Jacksonville and got Fournette to have the best year he has ever had, and made a 6th round rookie draft pick look like a viable starter, so it wasn't like he was completely incompetent.

He was a bad fit for the Vikings, in that he tried to make Cousins into the focal point of the offense, when he is incapable of being that guy. Kubiak and Stefanski did a much better job of hiding his flaws, similar to what Shurmur did with Bradford and then Case.
You dont think that him being fired by Zimmer because he refused to run the ball had anything to do with him running the ball more with Fournette this time around? I guarantee you it had a lot to do with it. No less, he had 0 QB to lean on in that offense. Comparing what he did in Jacksonville proves nothing. Jacksonville was horrendous. They were a below average passing team and a middling running team.

And hiding his flaws? It's simply an OC playing to his QBs strengths. What OC says, "yeah our QB sucks at doing this but we're going to do it anyways"?? I mean whatever you want to call it, that is what a good OC should do is play to the strengths of his QB. Flip did the opposite. You can twist it any way you want but Shurmur was not just better than Flip but drastically better. Flip was incompetent and he wont last long in Jacksonville either. And he will eventually go back to being a position coach.
0 x
The saddest thing in life is wasted talent and the choices you make will shape your life forever.
-Chazz Palminteri