Kirk Cousins can't afford slow start with Atlanta Falcons brutal early schedule

Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout
Atlanta Falcons OTA Offseason Workout / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Coming off of a season-ending injury it would be understandable if Kirk Cousins were to get off to a slow start in Atlanta. Not only does the quarterback have to fully recover you have a new offensive system, new weapons, and an offensive line that isn't used to your cadence. Cousins has plenty of legitimate reasons to get off to a slow start.

However, that cannot be afforded with who is sitting behind Cousins and the start of the schedule. Michael Penix Jr. changes the sense of urgency for Cousins in getting on the field and taking off from week one.

Atlanta doesn't have any plans to put the rookie quarterback into the lineup with the contract they just handed Cousins. However, that doesn't mean sports media and portions of the Atlanta fanbase won't grow loud with a rocky start.

This brings us to the more obvious concern of how Atlanta starts the year. Atlanta will play the Steelers, Eagles, Chiefs, and Saints in the first four weeks of the season. All four are expected to have a solid pass rush and could create issues for Cousins.

Being on the same field as Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts creates a healthy level of expectations for the veteran quarterback as well. To keep the Falcons set up for the playoffs Kirk Cousins needs to play well and go at least 2-2 in this stretch. Both games against the Steelers and Saints are very winnable against inferior quarterbacks and weapons.

Managing to either steal a game from the Eagles or the Chiefs would cement Atlanta as a playoff team and quiet any call for Penix early in the season. The offseason has been bumpy for Cousins and the Falcons when it comes to adding Penix Jr. The quarterback must get off to a hot start considering not only the schedule but also who the team has sitting behind him.