Cover 3, Week 15: Cowboy Nation, Pick Your Poison

1. It was just a one-game sampling against a mediocre pass defense, but Kirk Cousins was very impressive on Sunday. The questions is, where should he be setting up shop when the 2014 season kicks off?

JAMES CARR: Kirk Cousins might have looked good, but Washington still lost to Atlanta, the first team eliminated from playoff contention in 2013. The Falcons got hurt early in the season and mentally checked a few games ago. Sure, they're still pros and still have jobs to do, but no quarterback could possibly look impressive enough against a squad like this year's Falcons to justify a starting job the following year, especially not enough to overcome what RG3 did in his entire rookie season. Frankly, I'm tired of talking about the 'Skins. We stopped talking about the Falcons weeks ago, and for good reason. With their latest L, Washington now has a worse record than the Dirty Birds. If the only interesting thing left to talk about with this team is 2014, it can wait until 2014.

RICHARD BOADU: Kirk Cousins is setting up shop for the Redskins once again. RGIII isn't durable and you need a good backup at all times. Keeping Cousins another season does risk his trade value dropping, but it's the best move to make in the long run. 

DJ DUNSON: James, you’re just mad ‘cause the best pro franchise in Atlanta is moving out of the city. Rich, you’re biased because you went to Oklahoma, so I won’t stand for this RGIII slander to continue. If anything, Kirk Cousins is Mike Shanahan’s Willie Beamon. He’s going wherever Mike Shanahan is next season. The 'Skins are all in on RGIII for Week 1 next season. They’ve got to get him some help via the draft though by shipping off Cousins before the rest of the NFL picks up on his flaws. It’s hard out here for the Redskins and Falcons, but at least we’re not fans of that team from Valley Ranch.


2. What’s the bigger issue for the Cowboys in their quest to win the NFC East? Tony Romo’s affinity for making risky throws in the fourth quarter, the incoherent offensive play calling or Monte Kiffin’s defense?

CARR: Look, Monte Kiffin is clearly past it, but Tony Romo has an established track record of atrocity in December that can't be overcome. Kiffin has a ring, so we know that he was legit at some point. Until Romo wins a big game after Thanksgiving, he gets all the blame.

BOADU: The bigger story should be Monte Kiffin's defense, but it will be Romo. Perception isn't always reality. The perception is that Romo is a choke artist, but the reality is that his 102.9 passer rating in the 4th quarter is the best of ALL-TIME. He also leads the league in 4th quarter or overtime game winning drives with 11. Still, everyone will say that he's a choke artist so he will most definitely be the bigger story today. 

DUNSON: I was discussing this with a few Cowboys fans and the only metaphor I could use to describe this loss for Cowboy Nation is with William Wallace’s Braveheart execution. Romo plays with a kamakazi’s disregard for prudence. Over and over, he continues to make rash decisons in the moment (1:35 mark is how Cowboy nation felt watching that replay of Tramon Williams' interception) while Cowboys nation looks on in horror as their team suffers a gruesome fate.

If Jason Garrett’s postgame press conference is to be believed, Romo checked out of the run (a common occurrence for him throughout his career) and chose to pass despite Demarco Murray gashing Green Bay’s defense for eight yards per carry.  The heartbreak kid is alive and well.


3. What’s your biggest takeaway from this Week 15’s slate?

CARR: That the only truly scary teams in the NFL are out West. Goodbye East Coast bias. It was a fun ride. But nobody is messing with the Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos. OK, so Denver lost this week, but even that was to the San Diego Chargers. The East is soft right now, a trend that's also true in the NBA. Carolina's about the only team that is who we think they are in the East. Everyone else is hit-or-miss. It makes for a slightly less inspiring regular season, but this year's playoffs are gonna be nuts. But whoever comes out of it doesn't really matter to me. I just hope they wind up facing the Russell Wilson show.

BOADU: Jamaal Charles' five touchdowns. AMAZING. 

DUNSON: I learned that all you people who threw shade on the supreme abilities of Jamaal Charles were simply ignorant as a result of his lack of national exposure. I thought if you give that man some shine, the acclaim would come.. Charles was the perfect back for an Andy Reid offense. His success is predicated on straight line sprinter speed and acceleration. Reid’s offense enables him to get out in open space with the emphasis on bubble, jailbreak and conventional screens.

Lesean McCoy took advantage of that system in Philly, but Charles has taken it to another level. We already know he’s a 1,500 yard back, but three weeks to go, he’s 345 yards short of becoming a 1,000 yard receiver. Don't say you weren't warned.

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