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Tell Me, Tell Me

Kirk Cousins has been getting a lot of passes batted down lately. Is he giving something away?

The Minnesota Vikings moved to 4-2-1 after defeating the New York Jets, but there are a few things that are concerning. Kirk Cousins had several passes batted at the line of scrimmage, which begs the question does Kirk Cousins have a tell?

I took a look at a few games, and in those games Cousins had a few passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Cousins is one of the league leaders in passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. He might have a tell that defenders are noticing and adjusting to.

In a few of the gifs Kirk has a tendency to single or double pat the football before he throws. His throwing motion is not elongated by any means, but it is distinct for defenders to know when he is going to throw the football.

The other argument could be that Cousins has a tendency to throw the ball with a lower trajectory. Cousins has a stronger arm than previous Vikings quarterbacks, which does not force him to rely on touch when throwing the football. He knows he can throw it lower and harder and it will get to the target, which can make it harder for defensive backs to make a play on the football.

In the above gif Cousins is staring down his receiver which allows the defender to make a play on the football, even with an awkward angle. This is problematic for the offensive line because Riley Reiff does a good job keeping Cousins clean on the play. The Eagles defensive lineman should be out of the play, but Cousins consistent rhythmic pattern becomes a tell for the defender.

Whether its a consistent pattern to his game, or low trajectory with his passes, Cousins will need to find a way to reduce the amount of batted passes at the line of scrimmage. To help his offensive line Cousins will need to adjust his throwing motion or change the rhythm or timing of his throws. This is difficult for Cousins because he is a rhythm thrower and relies on being sound technically each play. When Cousins is off rhythmically he becomes jittery in the pocket and visibly frustrated. These are correctable issues, but they will need to be fixed sooner rather than later.