EAGAN, Minn. — Kirk Cousins added a brand new ingredient to his offseason enrichment program.
As a substitute of doing the standard unpacking on the finish of the Minnesota Vikings‘ 7-9 end in 2020 by watching all 16 video games to guage his particular person efficiency, the 32-year-old quarterback did one thing he had by no means executed earlier than.
“This 12 months, I made a decision to return and actually watch my entire profession, watch a pair different offenses to see what they’ve been doing, or what they did the 12 months that they had a number of success,” Cousins stated. “I do assume that point tape by way of the winter and spring, and even now as I’m going dwelling by way of the summer season after subsequent week, I do assume that it is useful now to see what has labored prior to now, what I wish to make as a staple for myself as I transfer ahead, however then additionally, the place I’ve improved and the place I want to enhance.
“That analysis actually comes out of your coaches, day in and time out, however there’s additionally bought to be a capability to self-evaluate and say, ‘I like what I am doing there; hold doing that,’ or, ‘That is not ok — I wish to enhance that.'”
Cousins has appeared in 109 video games since being drafted by Washington within the fourth spherical in 2012 and has began 104, together with 47 video games since signing with the Vikings in 2018. The sheer quantity of sport movie is one thing he hadn’t had entry to till lately, which allowed him to up the ante together with his self-scouting.
“I wished to return and actually simply examine, create cutups and actually construct up some quantity that I can pull from as we go ahead,” he stated. “I remorse I hadn’t executed it earlier in my profession however I did get the movie arrange in my home to mainly have entry to all of that so that every one offseason, even when I am not within the facility, I would have entry to tape. I do assume it has been a really helpful useful resource to have and I am kicking myself I did not do it sooner in my profession. It was only a piece that hopefully will help me enhance this coming 12 months.”
Despite Minnesota’s 1-5 begin, the Vikings boasted a top-10 offense all through the second half of the 2020 season earlier than lacking the playoffs. Cousins’ bounce-back following a Week 7 bye resulted within the QB throwing for 4,265 yards, 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions whereas finishing 67.6% of his passes. Minnesota’s offense featured a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher (Dalvin Cook) and 1,000-yard receiver (Justin Jefferson) for simply the eighth time in franchise historical past and second season in a row.
Requested about what he has gleaned from his expanded film-watching classes, Cousins cited a line from ESPN’s 2011 documentary the “Brady 6,” which recapped Tom Brady‘s school profession at Michigan and the careers and lives of the six quarterbacks taken earlier than the long run Corridor of Famer was chosen with decide No. 199 in 2000.
“[Brady] was quoted as saying, ‘I watch myself on movie, and to at the present time, I nonetheless do not feel like I am that good,'” Cousins recalled. “And I actually felt that sentiment. When he stated it, I used to be in school, however I understood what he meant. And now going again and watching my profession, I’d echo that sentiment. I’ve watched myself in ’12 and ’13-14 and assume, ‘Man, I am such a greater quarterback now. I can not consider that the coaches did not simply minimize me once I did that and made that mistake. I can not consider they had been affected person with me.’ As a result of these days trying again, it will simply be unacceptable to myself, permitting myself to play that method or make that learn or make that throw or that call.”
Amongst Cousins’ greatest takeaways from watching all the catalog of his NFL enjoying profession got here from rewatching his years in Washington, the place he supplanted Robert Griffin III for the beginning job on the finish of the 2014 season by way of 2017.
With the ability to revisit the tendencies of his playmakers in Washington and the way it affected the way in which Cousins transitioned to enjoying with new receivers in Minnesota was an eye-opening second for the quarterback.
“What simply jumps out are the gamers you play with,” Cousins stated. “You notice that the way in which Pierre Garcon ran a route or DeSean Jackson ran a route, that impacts you in the way in which you play and the way in which you assume, and you then come to a brand new group and also you’re attempting to inform Adam Thielen to run a route that method, and he is saying, ‘No, I do not do it that method.’ So simply the method of then studying these gamers and saying, ‘OK’ and understanding that you simply at all times have to pay attention to what your teammates do properly and attempt to put them in these positions to achieve success.”