NFC Notes: Cousins, Brees, Patterson, Graham

Prior to winning Washington’s starting quarterback job this year, Kirk Cousins had trouble taking care of the football as a backup from 2012-14, throwing 19 interceptions in parts of 14 games. Those issues have carried into this season, as Cousins has tossed four picks in the first three games for his 1-2 team. Despite that, he’s not in danger of losing his job to backups Colt McCoy or Robert Griffin III, head coach Jay Gruden said Friday.

“There’s too many good things going on with Kirk and his progression for us to pull the plug right now because he threw an interception or two,” said Gruden, according to The Associated Press. “But he’s got to be aware and he’s got to protect the football – as does Matt Jones, as does the rest of our football team – for us to have a chance.”

“We’re hoping that a more mature Kirk Cousins will bounce back from these performances,” Gruden added.

To his credit, Cousins has shown an ability to bounce back from a less-than-stellar showing this year. After a subpar Week 1 performance in a 17-10 loss to Miami, Cousins responded by going 23 of 27 for 203 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers in Washington’s 24-10 win over the Rams last Sunday. He’ll be tasked with trying to get off the mat in Week 4 against the Eagles after Thursday night’s two-pick output in a 32-21 loss to the Giants.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The winless Saints aren’t Super Bowl contenders this year and probably won’t be next season, and Drew Brees will be a 37-year-old set to count $27.4MM against their salary cap in 2016. That doesn’t mean they should let Brees go, writes ESPN’s Mike Triplett, who opines that parting with the nine-time Pro Bowler without an obvious successor would be foolish. Triplett believes Brees and the Saints will eventually agree to an extension to keep him in New Orleans beyond 2016, the last year of his current contract.
  • Given his status as a first-round pick in 2013, Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson‘s production during the first two years of his career was underwhelming (78 catches, 800-plus yards, five touchdowns). Now the Vikings seem to be phasing Patterson out of their game plan, as he has just one reception and, unlike the prior two seasons, hasn’t been a factor on returns. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old remains upbeat. “I really can’t control what goes on,” Patterson said, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “Whatever the coaches are going for, you’€™ve got to stick to their plan and just keep trying to get better.”
  • Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is similar to Patterson in that his production is down this year. And, like Patterson, he’s not worried. “This team runs the ball. Simple as that,” said Graham, according to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “We’re not slinging the ball 60 times a game. And if we are, then that means we’re in trouble. I’m just going to keep doing what’s asked of me.” Graham – who averaged 89 catches, 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns per season with the Saints from 2011-14 – is on pace for 56 grabs, 496 yards and eight TDs in his first year in Seattle.
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