The Vikings fired their offensive coordinator, but the quarterback’s not going anywhere (for $84 million reasons).
So Kirk Cousins said he had to take “ownership” of the team’s offensive struggles, which led to John DeFilippo’s sudden unemployment.
“Myself, I’d be the first one to say, if I had played at a higher level, we’re probably not talking about the things we’re talking about,” Cousins said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. “I take ownership, as well. Yet, big picture why? I don’t know. I do point to the fact that we played at Chicago, who’s a good defense. You saw what they did to the Rams. We played at Seattle and at New England, those aren’t places you walk into as of late and just walk out with a win without breaking a sweat. Those are tough places to play, good teams. I’m sure there’s a part of that, that you have to look at as well.
“You look at, ‘What do I need to do better? How can I be better?’ The nature of the quarterback position is that the ball is in your hands. So you’re going to be easily able to say that so many times. That was one of the things I did communicate to Coach Flip yesterday was, I believe with the ball in my hand, had I played at my fullest potential play in and play out, we’re probably not having this conversation right now. That’s something I take personally and is certainly tough for me, and keeps you up at night. But at the same time, all you can do now is go forward and, you know, ‘Hey, faced adversity before, been able to overcome it, been able to push through it.’ As coach Shanahan always told me, ‘Tough times don’t last, tough people do.’ I’m going to choose to be a tough person, keep going and believe if we do that, if I do that, good things are in store.”
The struggles were a recent phenomenon, as over the first eight weeks of the season Cousins was putting up good numbers. They were in the top 10 in total offense, passing yards, completion percentage, and passer rating. But they’re down to 17th in total yards and 20th in scoring, leading Mike Zimmer to make the change this week.
Whether things suddenly revert under the direction of Kevin Stefanski remains to be seen, but Cousins is absolutely right about his position guaranteeing him a big share of the blame if it doesn’t.