After a 26-23 loss Sunday in Kansas City in which Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns but misfired on half his passes and the Vikings offense stalled on two key fourth quarter drives, Cousins offered a lengthy dissection on what led to his uncharacteristic inaccuracy in the game — giving more than just a glimpse, but a pretty long look, into his process, his hips and why he thought passes were sailing high.
Is that too much analysis and detail? Much like Cousins’ play in general, the judgment is in the eye of the beholder — with plenty of room for interpretation.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that he “happened to watch Kirk’s news conference after the game, and he gave up way too much information.”
In his first full media gathering since Sunday’s postgame, Cousins on Wednesday was asked about his consistent ability to self-diagnose and thoroughly analyze his own play.
“Yeah I’m pretty analytical, and some would say to a fault,” Cousins said. “But it’s a thinking man’s game, and the quarterback position is a pretty analytical position to begin with. It’s a strength of mine to go back, point to what went wrong and really try to simply and boil it down to what I can fix and fix it.”
Zimmer’s comments were not relayed to Cousins as part of the question Wednesday, but the QB made it pretty clear he had heard about it.
“It sounds like I may have given you guys a little too much on Sunday,” Cousins said. “I try to talk football with you as much as I can. Many times I feel like I have to hold it back and I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about because I really don’t want to give away any trade secrets. I guess I may circle the wagons even more. But you’re right, I try to really self-evaluate and be hard on myself, listen to what coaches are telling me and apply it. You hope that will fix any errors and not let them continue.”
Cousins smiled as he said a lot of those words, so if there’s any interpretation here it’s that the Vikings simply have a head coach and a QB with different communication styles. Cousins is a bit of an over-sharer, and Zimmer is the classic coach who would prefer to share as little as possible.
Remember, this isn’t the first time there has been a (mostly) innocent and humorous exchange about communication between the two delivered through the media this season. After the Vikings’ loss to the Bears in Week 4, Cousins apologized on his radio show/podcast to Adam Thielen for not getting him the ball more.
Zimmer said he wasn’t a “fan” of the apology and quipped that maybe Cousins should “get off the podcast.”
The sky was falling then at a rate so fast it threatened to flatten the Vikings’ season. They responded with four wins in a row, during which Cousins played so well that he earned conference player of the month honors.
The loss at Kansas City was a small blip compared to that, but it won’t stop Cousins from thinking about how to get better.
“What was interesting about the incompletions was that if you were to say ‘what’s your calling card,’ it would be accuracy and high completion percentage. Finding completions and getting the ball in people’s hands,” said Cousins, who indeed is No. 2 all-time in completion percentage (66.7%) behind Drew Brees. “So to have a game where you didn’t do that, it was uncharacteristic and then as a result very frustrating. But I also expect to get right out there and make amends and get back on track.”