This offseason, Shutdown Corner’s Frank Schwab and Eric Edholm will look into what is overrated and underrated in all aspects of the NFL. We fully expect your angry emails and comments that are sure to follow.
OVERRATED AND UNDERRATED: Backup QB
Eric Edholm: Kirk Cousins
Cousins is one of the more impressive young men you’ll meet. Smart, dedicated, hard-working — the kind of kid who would be successful in any endeavor, plus the type you’d want to marry your daughter.
But his NFL success must be viewed in relative terms. As in, anything he has done or will do in this league is remarkable because of his JAG physical skills. You know, JAG … just a guy.
That’s scout-speak for a player who simply doesn’t have the talent ever to be more than just passable. Certainly, many backup quarterbacks fall into this category, and Cousins will be as ready as ever for Washington when called upon — a great thing considering Robert Griffin III and his scarred knees are starting.
But outside of a 329-yard game against the Browns his rookie season, Cousins had been pretty bad. Even in a 381-yard game last season, after finally replacing Griffin in Week 15, Cousins threw two picks and lost a fumble in a one-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
There were some whispers of trade interest before the season, likely from the same teams who privately said Washington got a steal when they landed Cousins in the fourth round in 2013. Much of it is hot air. Cousins’ reputation league wide as a potential starter — after all, isn’t that what a backup is? — is much higher than it deserves to be.
Frank Schwab: Michael Vick
I know why Vick is the most talked-about backup in the NFL. He’s one of the more interesting players of the NFL this century (I’ll have more to say on that later this offseason). And he went to New York, where everything is made out to be more important than it really is, behind a shaky starter in Geno Smith. The situation was ripe for Vick to become a huge story. Vick has gotten more attention than most NFL starting quarterbacks this offseason.
The thing is, Vick’s legend surpasses his 2014 reality. It has for a couple years, really.
Vick had a fantastic 2010 season, perhaps the best of his career. He has played 30 games since then. Here are his numbers: 534-for-915 (58.4 percent), 6,880 yards, 35 touchdowns, 27 interceptions, 11 fumbles lost. That’s not tremendous for what amounts to almost two full seasons. He’s 34. He hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since 2006. Last year he had a golden opportunity to have a career-defining year, beginning the season as the starter in Chip Kelly’s offense, but got hurt and Nick Foles took his job. The Eagles went on to have the most yards per passing play and the most yards per rushing play with Vick as a backup.
Vick might be the Jets’ best option, but that’s more because Smith had such a mistake-filled rookie year. Vick is still an interesting figure, and will always draw attention, but the days of Vick’s production warranting the attention are over … probably.
EE: Matt Moore
Moore is unfairly beaten up for playing poorly for a horrific Panthers team in 2010 (12 turnovers in his five starts that season), but he otherwise has been surprisingly good for the rest of his career.
An undrafted rookie in 2007, Moore was among the final cuts of the Dallas Cowboys despite a strong preseason performance. Seeing that, the Panthers picked him up and added him to the roster. Smart move: He ended up starting, and playing relatively well, in three games down the stretch.