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PFF names QB Kirk Cousins the Falcons’ biggest X-factor for 2024

There is a unique sense of optimism ahead of the 2024 season for the Falcons. After a thorough search, they hired head coach Raheem Morris and then made a splash in free agency by signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive deal.

Thus far, it’s been a nice change of pace from the bleak nature of the last few seasons. The Falcons have several new faces on both sides of the ball, but Cousins is the one player who can elevate this team to another level.

The crew over at Pro Football Focus identified Cousins as the team’s biggest X-factor heading into the 2024 season:

Having a quarterback who’s capable of winning games on his own is key to having sustained success in any given year. Falcons fans are coming off back-to-back seasons where the quarterback played a key role in the team’s demise. A combination of turnovers and poor decision-making doomed Atlanta over the last two years.

Marcus Mariota accounted for 15 turnover-worthy plays in contrast to just eight big-time throws in 2022. Desmond Ridder did much worse in 2023 with 26 turnover-worthy plays and just 13 big-time throws.

This isn’t to say that Cousins is immune to turnover-worthy plays, because he posted 15 to 23 turnover-worthy plays in the last four full seasons he played. However, top-level NFL quarterbacks should have a higher number of big-time throws in contrast to their bad moments.

Cousins posted 24, 24, 30, and 31 big-time throws from 2019 to 2022. This is where the Falcons should see their investment pay off in 2024.

Story originally appeared on Falcons Wire