In the eight-minute video posted on Thursday by the producers of the excellent Quarterback series, Patrick Mahomes and Marcus Mariota agreed that Kirk Cousins is the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. (I say he’s properly rated.)
So who is Cousins’ most underrated quarterback?
“I kind of always scratch my head at the Jimmy Garoppolo situation in San Francisco, because I know how hard it is to win in this league,” Cousins said. “And it seems like every time he goes out there, they win. And then, they’re moving on from him or trying to draft somebody and trade up, and I’m thinking, ‘It’s pretty hard to win double-digit games in this league and that’s all they seem to do when they play.’ So obviously I don’t know all that goes on there, but if he does it again with the Raiders, at some point, this guy’s just a winner.”
“I hope he doesn’t do it again with the Raiders,” Mahomes quipped. “No offense.”
Cousins’ assessment is surprising, because the 49ers fell out of love with Garoppolo not because of his ability but his durability. Where Cousins never misses time, Garoppolo has a long list of injuries that eventually forced the 49ers to move on.
Garoppolo is also prone to moments of bizarrely bad decisions. It was enough to get coach Kyle Shanahan to go all-run-all-the-time in the second half of San Francisco’s January 2020 playoff win over the Vikings, and to stick with that plan the following week in the NFC Championship.
It’s also surprising to hear Cousins offer criticism of Shanahan’s handling of Garoppolo, given that Cousins and Garoppolo continue to be regarded as linked together by their mutual time in Washington. Shanahan intended to sign Cousins as a free agent in 2018, before Shanahan was talked into trading for Garoppolo.
By next year, Shanahan could finally make a play for Cousins. His views on the treatment Garoppolo experienced in San Francisco might make that a longer shot than believed.