A Letter To Kirk...

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Salutations Kirk Daniel Cousins,

I hope you don't mind me using your full government name like that. I'm sure you like to keep things on the low while cruising the mean Loudoun County streets in your Kendrick Lamar, good kid/m.a.a.d. city minivan. I wanted to take this opportunity to write you a letter. Don't worry, this isn't a "Stan" situation and you won't have to stash this among the daily correspondence you receive which has a 106.7 The Fan letterhead and strangely always ends in "GP + KC 4EVER" inside of a heart symbol. No, this is more a therapeutic outpouring from a lifelong Skins fan who has no idea why he's scared of the team to commit to you long-term, but has a few reasons that may or may not make sense. 

First, I just wanted to ask a simple question: HOW THE F*CK DID YOU PULL OFF THAT WIN SUNDAY? No, seriously, how?! Seattle's front seven attacked you like a Golden Corral buffet after a blunt to the face. The offensive line was a who's who of "who?!" Jamison Crowder was fresh off his best game of the year and then of course just pops up injured. Jordan Reed...HAHAHAHAHAHA...nevermind. Reporting he's hurt is like reporting Trump has ties to Russia: everyone already knows, we don't need an investigation to tell us. The point is, you NEVER win that game. I mean seriously, like in your whole career, you've never won a game like that. I need answers, Sway! (You probably don't get that incredibly niche, hip-hop culture reference, but just go with it).

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When results occur that we can't fully explain, bloggers like myself get delirious. Now, that delirium could be caused by the choice to pursue an overcrowded, oversaturated world, ostensibly built as a meritocracy, but in actuality a further extension of the "good ol boys" network that permeates nearly every other profession, and specifically sports media, where bright, satirical minds are shut out by "the man," and thus they are forced to....wait, Kirk! Come back! I'm sorry I went off on that tangent, I'll get back to the point. 

Cuz...can I call you "Cuz?" I live in Southern California currently and the connotation is completely different in my locale, thus I'm hesitant to bestow such a loaded word onto a sympathetic character as complex as you are...let's just rock with Kirk, shall we?

Kirk, I gotta keep it a stack with you, bruh: I'm not your biggest fan. I'm also not your biggest hater. Am I put off by your "aww gee golly shucks" demeanor? Yeah, for sure. Did my eyes get their roll on like a Big Tymers single from 2000 when you proclaimed "Jesus" told you to sign your $24M franchise tag? No question. Was I ready to throw hands when you threw that inexcusable pick vs the Cowboys in week 2 last year, when Garcon wanted to duff you? Or that inexcusable pick vs the Giants in week 17 with the playoffs on the line? Or that inexcusable pick vs the Eagles in week 1 this season? Yes, yes and yes. Am I alarmed that you have nine fumbles through eight games this year, matching your career-high with half the year to go? Yup. 

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But, you know what? You've also given me December. Let me explain. From 2008 to 2014, I only got December one time. For me, getting "December" means that as the temps hit North Face, Timbs and hoodies level, right-wingers complain about people "killing" Christmas and I get drunk at my parents' house over the holiday while turning into the Herm Edwards of board games (HELLO?! YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME, AUNT CARYL), my team is playing meaningful football. That's right, for a seven-year period, the Skins had exactly one December to give a damn about. One. Uno. Singular. 2012 with the QB we shall not name, lest we go down a rabbit hole to join Alice in Wonderland. 

For the past two seasons, and after the Seattle win, probably three, the Skins will have given me "December." A month where the football results actually start to matter. Thank you. Seriously. Probably would be nice if the franchise QB could give me a January, as well, but I don't take it for granted. But, do I take you for granted?

I mean, your fantasy numbers are the off the chain. Damn near back-to-back 5,000 yard campaign. Injury-assisted asterisk, but still, a Pro Bowl appearance last season. A helluva lot more TDs than picks. When you had Garcon, DJax, Reed and Crowder healthy, you were putting up pinball numbers. I noticed. It was hard not to with the local media giving you interview enemas up your backside weekly. But, I digress.

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You know what, let me regress. The media. You see, #KirkHive (the not-at-all affectionate nickname given to people who support you at an alarming and combative level; augmented from the original irrational fanhood of BeyoncΓ© crazies, known as the #BeyHive) and the hysteria around it? I don't blame you for that. As far as I can tell, you're a pretty unassuming guy who just wants to go out and ball. And yeah, you're anti-NRA on the field, as gunslinging is not your game, but you give the squad a chance to win every week. That's a good thing. But, it can't just be that for the #KirkHive. You can't be a guy who's capable of performing well, capable of having flaws and imperfectly leading the team to above average. You can't be that. You have to be Brady or Brees or Rodgers. Not in reality, just in their narrative. "LOOK AT HIS STATS!" (He had a lot of talent the past two years). "HE HAS NO HELP NOW!" (Well are you saying Brady and the other top QBs always do? I bet they'd disagree). 

The point is, it's not your fault that your narrative is navigated by drunk drivers. You're an innocent passenger. But, the problem for me, and other "haters" is we see your car driving by, swerving everywhere and we're unsure of its safety. 

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I hate 2pac. I think he's the most overrated rapper in the history of the genre. I wasn't a fan of him while he was living and I'm not a fan as he rests in peace. I know he was a cultural icon and a halfway decent actor (his "PATNA" eye-up, spit-flying line to Omar Epps in Juiceis a cinema classic), but I was just never impressed by a dude who rhymed "enemy" with "Hennessy" and people went nuts. It sounded more like a simplistic, thugged-out Dr. Suess to me. What I discovered over time, however, was that I was less a hater of Pac and more a hater of his fans. They were irrational and unable to grasp context or logical debate. It was simply "PAC WAS A LEGEND" and a shutdown of a dialogue. The narrative of Pac became my enemy, and my dislike of the artist actually took a backseat.

I think that's where I am with you, Kirk. My dislike of your game is far outweighed by my dislike of your narrative. The hyperbolization of your achievements, ceiling and progression. The unwillingness to just let your Skins career play out and the rush to put you on the Mt. Rushmore of all signal callers is bizarre, frustrating and quite frankly, annoying. But, like the late, great Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting, "it's not your fault...it's not your fault...it's not your fault."

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Now, this mea culpa is still replete with shade. I'm sorry homie, it's just been years of antipathy. It's Military Appreciation Month in the NFL and while many inside and out of the #KirkHive have given you the moniker of "Captain Kirk," I thought maybe we could try out some other ranks and nicknames that more be applicable. Let me know your favorite one, cool?

Private Prevent Defense Stat Accumulator? 

Corporal Checkdown?

Sergeant Short Of The Sticks?

Master Sergeant Meek Arm? (Not to be confused with Meek Mill, who judging by his recent probation violation and subsequent jail sentence, has no fear of taking chances)

Staff Sergeant Supporting Cast's Fault?

First Lieutenant Flats Throws?

Commander Where's Chris Thompson?

General Go Short, Vernon?

Admiral Almost Won The Game, But At Least My Numbers Look Good?

Ok, you're right. Maybe we'll just rock with "Captain." 

Kirk, you've been a good sport. I like you. I don't LOVE you, but it's not you, it's me. Here's what I do love: you're the quarterback of my favorite team in the world and more Sundays than not, you're part of my happiness. You may not be perfect, but who is? 

We could be stuck with a guy who screams about grabbing female anatomy...no, no man. Not the president. I'm talking about the QB in Tampa who licks his fingers, awkwardly shaped like a "W," like they were covered in Old Bay seasoning from pilfered crab legs. We could be stuck with a QB taken atop the 2012 draft, who is always hurt and really only had one great statistical season. No I'm not talking about your former teammate the Third, I'm talking about the QB in Indianapolis who speaks and looks like Encino Man. We could be stuck with a 30-something bum, whose obese salary clogs the arteries of our cap, while the team crumbles, but they have a ring from years ago so somehow that's supposed to make us feel good. No, I'm not talking about the 2015 Denver Broncos, I'm talking about the Weekend at Bernie's stiffs calling signals in New Jersey...errr New York and Baltimore. What I'm saying is, I know it could be worse.

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For my birthday over the summer, my girlfriend purchased me Nike Air Max 97s. Now, I'm no sneaker head, but there is just something about gaudy, silver reflective lining circling these particular sneakers that I have always had an affinity for. I bought them in 1997 for a whopping $200. Fast forward twenty years and they now cost $300. 300 effing dollars for the SAME shoes I got for $100 cheaper before! But, you know what? I still wanted them. They were mine, they made me happy and the cost was the result of inflation and demand. I know there are other sneakers out there that are better and have greater value. Some kicks purchased today might even one day be valued higher. There's no doubt in my mind that I probably don't have the best kicks and to some, the price wouldn't be worth it. I don't care. They're my kicks. They work for me. The price paid is what it is. My shoe collection is better with these shoes in it than without. 

So Kirk, I know you're not the best pair of Air Maxes in the world, the best colorway or most-exclusive, Supreme-cosigned release. But, sometimes you gotta pay a premium for some kicks and there's a good chance you will secure the bag. With December around the corner, maybe you could be an early present. Good luck the rest of the way. I'll be cheering and jeering while the #KirkHive is steering. Let's hope we all arrive where we want to be.

Sincerely, 

Chris Williams